Course Details

Course Information Package

Course Unit CodeMFA506
Course Unit DetailsMA Fine Art: Contemporary Art Practices (Required Courses) -
Number of ECTS credits allocated4
Learning Outcomes of the course unitBy the end of the course, the students should be able to:
  1. Identify key theoretical and contextual concepts in contemporary art.
  2. Use analysis and synthesis to develop advanced critical thinking.
  3. Acquire skills in specialised scientific research and methodology.
  4. Generate critical arguments using comparative analysis.
  5. Explore ideas and opinions to constructively engage in a comprehensive critique of contemporary art practices.
  6. Investigate theoretical and philosophical concepts through seminal texts by contemporary artists.
  7. Develop a personal style of critical approach to art concepts and contexts implement it in a written thesis.
Mode of DeliveryFace-to-face
Recommended optional program componentsNONE
Course ContentsThe role of Contemporary art has broadened immensely. Contemporary artists and other cultural producers such as curators, constantly record, collect, file, classify and experiment. They perform fieldwork and act as archaeologists, ethnologists, anthropologists, ethnographers, social workers, political analysts and activists. According to Thierry de Duve (2009, p.46) contemporary art: “[...] allows political statements of all kinds, anti-social behaviour, eccentric sexual practices and outrageous opinions to find forms of expression that would not be tolerated elsewhere.” In addition, for Jean Baudrillard (2005, p.76) art today has acquired “an ambiguous status, halfway between a terrorist critique and a de facto cultural integration.
This course deals with the concepts and contexts of contemporary art, over the past six and a half decades. Specifically it scrutinises the questioning nature of contemporary art towards current social, political, economic and cultural structures. Today' s artists work in and respond to a global environment that is culturally diverse, technologically advancing, and multifaceted. Working in a wide range of mediums, contemporary artists often reflect and comment on modern-day society, challenge and question traditional ideas, notions and methodologies. The course also examines different notions that shape art today: postmodernism and deconstruction, feminism and gender, the global and the local, nation, identity and the postcolonial turn, psychoanalysis, trauma and the social turn, art and environmentalism, art and spectacle, art and participation. It also focuses on seminal critical writings by theorists, curators and contemporary artists on the concepts and contexts of contemporary art practices
Recommended and/or required reading:
    No specific textbook required
  • Terry Smith, What is Contemporary Art?, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2009
  • Zoya Kocur and Simon Leung, Theory in Cotemporary Art since 1985, Oxford: Blackwell, 2009
  • Robert Nelson, Richard Shiff (eds.), Critical Terms for Art History, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003
  • Terry Smith, Contemporary Art: World Currents, London: Lawrence King, 2011
  • Kristine Stiles, Peter Selz (eds.), Theories ands documents of Contemporary Art - A Source book of Artists’ Writings, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012
  • Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle, e-flux journal. What is Contemporary Art?, Berlin, New York: Sternberg Press, 2012
  • Diarmuid Costello, Jonathan Vickery, Art: Key Contemporary Thinkers, Berg, 2007
  • Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, London: Verso, 1991
Planned learning activities and teaching methods·  Lectures and illustrated presentations
·  Critical group discussions and debates
·  Work analysis
·  Historical and philosophical research
·  Critical essay and oral presentations
Assessment methods and criteria
Research & Methodology20%
Experimentation Analysis15%
Class participation15%
Oral presentation & analysis20%
Final written essay30%
Language of instructionEnglish
Work placement(s)NO

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