Arts of the Contemporary World (AHVM002)

30 credits

This module equips you with an informed understanding of contemporary art from a global perspective. The cultural assumptions identifying contemporary art practice principally with Western initiatives have been challenged and to some extent superseded and new economic realities may see this process accelerate.

In this module you will examine a wide range of critical thinking in relation to contemporary art, with a particular emphasis on counter-hegemonic cultural narratives and emergent (non-Western) centres of art production. You will look at curatorial responses to the global contemporary art phenomenon as reflected in many of the major venues where this art is brought to public attention (for example, Documenta, Manifesta, and the many international art biennials held around the world). You will analyse the problems associated with defining contemporary visual culture according to identity, community, national, international or transnational contexts. You will also discuss different critical theories and perspectives on mainstream culture in relation to the notion of ‘contemporaneity’, in the context of an emerging global network society.

Alongside a series of lectures and discussions around theories of contemporary art in a global context, students will represent these ideas through the works of particular artists or groups, and emergent art practices. During Term 1 you will also visit a significant international art festival, or equivalent, depending upon restrictions.

This module is suitable for non-specialist students.

This module is recommended for interdisciplinary pathways.