This is a newly designed course that aims to be provocative, sometimes controversial and at all times exploratory and transformative. It is a single semester course and a direct and methodical way to acquire knowledge about contemporary art’s current themes, concepts, critical theories, buzzwords, techniques and processes that engage the imagination of artists, curators, writers and cultural theorists worldwide.

The course asks us how we can create new ways of thinking by engaging with contemporary artworks that spark unexpected ideas and encounters. From this broad knowledge, students are encouraged to dig deeper into particular aspects and themes.

Some of the artists we study

Wangechi Mutu, Olafur Eliasson, Lisa Reihana, Dane Mitchell, Simon Denny, Luke Willis Thompson, Francis Uprichard, Billy Apple, Hito Steyerl, Bernadette Corporation, Amalia Ulman, Frances Stark, Thomas Hirschhorn, L.N. Tallur, Cindy Sherman, Hans Haacke, Gerhard Richter, Yayoi Kusama, Marina Abramovic, Christian Boltanski, Mona Hatoum, Martin Creed, Tracey Emin, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Damien Hirst.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course students will have acquired the skills to discuss contemporary art meaningfully and to express critical and creative responses to works of art.

Students will learn how to structure arguments and compose thoughts in spoken and written form that add strength and clarity to communication and presentation.

Students will gain a deeper understanding of how art is an essential medium for the exploration of ideas, feelings, social and cultural identities and political perspectives.

Students will gain confidence in exercising independent and critical thought and will learn how to acquire the most important “C-skills” valued by employers, academics, designers, artists, psychologists and theorists: communication, creativity, curiosity, collaboration and, perhaps most important: caring about others and the physical and cultural ecologies that we share.

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