Introduction to Contemporary Art Theory


This module concentrates on the main themes and debates surrounding modern and contemporary art. It introduces key skills in visual analysis, the contested nature of meaning in art, the tensions between fine art and popular culture, and the changing status of the artist. The core theme is that it is not possible to understand why contemporary art takes the form it does without an appreciation of the themes and debates of earlier 20th C art.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the key themes and debates defining modern and contemporary art.

  2. Acquire critical skills in describing, interpreting and evaluating visual artefacts.

  3. Attain an understanding of the tensions between fine art and popular culture.

  4. Acquire an understanding of the changing status of the artist from the early Renaissance to the present.

  5. Acquire a basic understanding of the history of aesthetic ideas.

  6. Use core skills in critical analysis and thought through an understanding of the essay format.

  7. Develop further knowledge based research skills to enable independent enquiry in making and viewing art.

  8. Situate their own knowledge, practice and understanding within the wider cultural and historical framework.

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