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ART 4CA3 20 Cent & Contemp Art Pract

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Ihor Holubizky


Office: Alvin A Lee building A301 (Museum of Art)

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27577

Office Hours: Wednesdays, 4-5pm. By appointment, Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Friday, 9am-4pm

Course Objectives:

The course will provide students with an introduction to 20th century and contemporary art practices;  the examination of the role of the artist from provocation to interrogative strategies in the context of social and political change, and the relationship of ‘art to life. ‘

The students will develop critical thinking paths and methodologies through the examination and readings of artist manifestos and writings, manifestos from a global perspective. In tandem will be a discussion and “readings” of selected and related works of art in the context of radical thought and writing, to offer perspectives on the necessity of art—rather than “inevitability” predicated on formal and aesthetic considerations alone—and the ways in which radicalized art can shape consciousness

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

From the compendium publication Living Building Thinking: art and expressionism. McMaster Museum of Art, 2016 (PDFs supplied prior to fall 2016 press print)

Belton, Robert, Expressionism’s Paralanguage.

Heller, Reinhold, Expressionism, Youth, Idealism and Disillusion.

Holubizky, Ihor, Living Building Thinking.

In addition, a selection from 25 single artist-object entries

Mischa Kuball,  Public Preposition, 2009-2015 (multi-authored, ed. Muller, Vanessa Joan). Reprint by the McMaster Museum of Art, 2016.  Available at the Museum on September 28.

Holubizky, Ihor, Predisposed to thinking through the eye of mutual convenience. McMaster Museum of Art, 2016.

Open Source:

Marinetti Futurist Manifesto, 1909

Russian Futurist Manifesto, “A Slap in the Face of Public Taste.” 1912 (two translations)

Manifesto Antropofago, 1928:

Refus Global, 1948:

Marcel Duchamp, The Creative Act, 1957:

alternative site:

Williams, Raymond, Culture is Ordinary, 1958:

Richard Bell, Bell’s Theorem, 2002:

Method of Assessment:

Students have the option of submitting assignments in class or by Avenue dropbox.

Written assignment 1: outline September 14. Due date September 21: 15%. Graded prior to November 4.

Written assignment 2: outline October 5. Due date October 19: 15%

Written assignment 3: outline October 19. Due date, November 9: 15%

Written assignment 4: outline, November 16. Due date, November 30. 20%

Take-home exam: November 30. Due date December 7: 10%

Participation: 15%

Attendance: September 28 and November 10 guest lectures: 10%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Any anticipated late submissions, must be discussed with the Instructor prior to the Deadline.  Late or missed work due to illness or personal circumstances can be made up. In these circumstances it is the responsibility of the student to contact the Instructor within a reasonable time-frame, one week or less.  Assignments not submitted will be assigned a 0 Grade. In these circumstances, is the responsibility of the student to initiate a formal appeal process with the Department

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

September 7:  Introduction to the course and methodologies.

September 14. Why Futurism [and not Impressionism, Cubism, Constructivism, Suprematism] in Europe, Eurasia and Japan, 1909-1930.

September 21. The New and Antipodean World radical regionalists; Sao Paulo, Montreal and Melbourne, 1928-1959.

Public talk, September 22. McMaster Museum of Art, 6pm.  Not compulsory, but strongly recommended.

September 28.  Performance/event, Public Preposition by Mischa Kuball, artist and professor at the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne: 12-2pm outside the Museum;  followed by Kuball guest lecture inside the Museum.

October 5.  In-gallery class, the Living Building Thinking exhibition at the Museum;  artists as social activists.

October 12. Reading week, no class.

October 19.  The Idea and Role of the Avant-Garde, then and now (Duchamp and Williams readings).

October 26. The Institutionalization of the Avant-Garde; the aestheticization of dissent. 

November 2. The aestheticization of dissent Part 2; how we may see and how we may think.  In-gallery class, the Living Building Thinking exhibition.

November 9.   45 minute class as introduction to lecture by Dr. Robert Belton, professor of Art History, University of British Columbia-Okanagan; November 10, 6-8pm, at the Museum.

November 16. Summary discussion and re-imagining radical practices in the 1970s and 1980s.

November 23. Bell’s Theorem and “How Aborigines Invented the Idea of Contemporary Art.”

November 30.  60% of the world’s population lives in Asia-Pacific.  Does art matter?

December 7. Summary and discussion.