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ARTHIST 3B03 Aspects Of Canadian Art

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Prof. Tobi Bruce

Email: brucet3@mcmaster.ca

Office:

Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: by Appointment



Course Objectives:

This course examines aspects of the history of art in Canada from the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, largely through the lens of exhibitions. A consideration of the development of the visual arts in Canada and the environment in which art was produced, exhibited and disseminated forms the core content. A consideration of the social, cultural and political circumstances in which artistic production occurred will be situated in local, national and international contexts. Emphasis will be placed on evolving notions of national identity, gender, race and ethnicity. Course content and discussions will revolve around recent exhibitions of Canadian art and how these undertakings have contributed to, and further shaped, writing about Canadian historical art.

Course Objectives

  1. Develop the skills necessary to describe and analyze works of art
  2. Develop critical thinking, research and writing skills and apply these to the discussion of Canadian visual culture and exhibitions of Canadian art
  3. Develop and understanding of the role of art museums and curatorial work in Canada


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Text

Anne Whitelaw, Brian Foss and Sandra Paikowsky, eds. The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Custom Course Adoption

Additional Requirements

Two classes will be held at the Art Gallery of Hamilton (123 King Street West, Hamilton L8P 2L4) in order for students to view works of art firsthand and discuss exhibitions currently on view. Students will be required to make at least one other mandatory visit during the term to the AGH to view an exhibition for the purposes of an exhibition review. Students will be given complementary admission for these visits. Also, the lecture on the week of November 20 will be moved to Thursday November 23 at McMaster Museum of Art to coincide with a public lecture being given in conjunction with an exhibition there.


Method of Assessment:

Method of Assessment

Assignment 1: Visual Analysis 10% Due September 25

Assignment 2: Lecture Report 15% Due October 23

Assignment 3: Midterm Test 20% November 6

Assignment 4: Exhibition Review 20% Due November 23

Participation: Discussions + Question Journal 10% Due December 4

Final Exam 25%

Students will receive 10% of their final grade by November 10, 2016

Assignment #1: Visual Analysis: 10%

Due September 25

The Visual Analysis is a 500 word (max) typed (12pt font), double spaced discussion of a work of art on view at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in its historical permanent collection galleries.

The Visual Analysis consists of 5 short sections:

  1. Identify the chosen work (artist, title, date, medium, credit line) clearly and provide a brief description of its appearance (as if describing it to a friend who has not seen it). This part of your assignment is the formal analysis, in which you lay out the defining features of compositional design, being the arrangement of colour, line, shape, scale, and texture, in the artist’s chosen media. Your description should not venture into any interpretation of meaning.
  2. Describe the content of the image. What familiar imagery do you see, if any? Does the work incite an emotion? Does the image remind you of something, or jog a memory?
  3. Describe the context in which you saw the work – what is the space like, is the work part of an exhibition and if so, what is the theme? How does the work address or challenge it? Why do you think this work is included in the installation?
  4. Consider the date of the work and provide one major historical event that roughly coincides with the production of the artwork. Be sure to cite your sources for this information in footnotes.
  5. Posit how some knowledge of the context in which the artist worked affects your interpretation of the image. Your interpretation of the image should be based on an appreciation of the combined force of “form” and “content,” together with a critical awareness of the circumstances in which you experienced the artwork (ie. where you saw the work, its relationship to other works in the installation). Conclude with one short sentence in which you state what you consider to be the contemporary relevance of the work. Why is it interesting now?

Assignment #2: Lecture Report (1-2 pages 300-500 words, double spaced, 12 pt font) 15%

Due October 23

Students will select either Georgiana Uhlyarik’s or Andrew Hunter’s lecture and write a report on their presentation. Some questions to consider: What were the main points covered, issues raised? How did they present the material and what insights did they bring to the discussion? How did they discuss their curatorial work in light of current art historical issues and debates? What key points did you ultimately take away from the presentation?

Midterm Test: November 6

Analysis of Artwork 20%

Students will be shown 5 works of art and asked to identify the works in full, including artist, title, date, medium, and location and to analyse the work stylistically and in its social and cultural contexts.

Students are expected to draw on the readings, lectures and discussions and to write in complete sentences. Each image is worth 10 points for a total of 50 points. The midterm will focus on material up to and including the lecture immediately before the test.

Assignment #3: Exhibition Review 20%

Due November 23

Students will write a 750 word maximum (12 pt font) exhibition review of either Shelley Niro: 1779 or Carving Home: The Chedoke Collection of Inuit Art (Art Gallery of Hamilton). The review will address the content and theme(s) of the exhibition, works selected, how the works are presented, what story is being told, and the exhibition’s relative success.

Things to consider in your review:

· Describe the images descriptively – what emotions do you feel looking at this work/ exhibition?

· What is significant about the placement of works in relation to one another?

· What is significant about the exhibition space/ design – the overall presentation of the work?

· What information is provided via labels, information panels, etc.?

· What is the story the curator / artist is trying to tell? How successful are they?

· What, in your opinion, would strengthen the exhibition and viewing experience?

Participation & Question Journal 10%

Due: December 4

Some classes will explore one to two questions in depth following the lecture. Students will work in groups to flesh out points and then each group will present their answers and thoughts to the class. Students are expected to have read all required readings and come to class with notes toward an informed discussion and to augment their notes during discussion groups. When not assigned in advance, students will be given the question in class and will work on making notes reflecting on the readings and lecture. Students are expected to keep a Question Journal, with preliminary and augmented notes for each question. This Journal is to be handed in at the end of term and will count toward the student’s participation mark.

Final Exam: 25% (to be scheduled)

Analysis and Comparison of Art Works / Critical Question

Students will be shown a series of comparison slides and asked to identify the works in full, including artist, title, date, medium, and location and to explore the reasons the works have been chosen as a pair, including stylistic, social and cultural contexts. The second part of the exam will present three of the questions from the Question Journal and ask the student to elaborate on one. Students are expected to draw on the readings, lectures and discussions and to write in complete sentences.


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

All assignments are due on the day listed above and at the beginning of class. Any assignments that are submitted at any time other than that (including later in the class) will be considered late and will be graded accordingly. Late submissions will be penalized 1/3 of the letter grade per calendar day late, including weekends (eg. a B+ paper, one day late becomes a B). Late penalties will not be waived unless your Faculty/Program Office advises the instructor that you have submitted to that office the appropriate documentation to support your inability to submit the work by the due date.


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 www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

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 mcmaster.ca/msaf/. 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 sas@mcmaster.ca. 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 11:

Introduction: The Institutions of Canadian Art and the Curatorial Process

Required Readings:

Anne Whitelaw, “Art Institutions in the Twentieth Century: Framing Canadian Visual Culture,” in The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2010, Chapter 1, pages 3-15

Laurier Lacroix, “Writing Art History in the Twentieth Century,” in The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2010, Chapter 20, pages 413-423

*September 18: Building Collections / Writing Narratives: The Art Gallery of Hamilton Collection

*Course to be held at Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King Street West, Hamilton L8P 4S8 (students will meet in the foyer at 7pm)

Readings:

Tobi Bruce, “Modern Ambition: A Canadian Collection Comes of Age,” in Lasting Impressions: Celebrated Works from the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Hamilton: Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2005, pages 17-39

Joyce Zemans, “Considering the Canon,” in Lasting Impressions: Celebrated Works from the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2005, pages 177-189

Discussion Question: What are some of the defining elements of collection building and how do they affect what we do and don’t see in public collections? How has this shaped our under our understanding and perception of Canadian historical art?

September 25: Late Nineteenth-Century Painting in Canada: The French Connection

Assignment #1 Due: Visual Analysis

Readings:

Brian Foss, “Into the New Century: Painting, c.1890-1914,” in The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2010, Chapter 2, pages 17-30

Exhibition case studies:

Into the Light: The Paintings of William Blair Bruce (1859-1906) Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2014

The French Connection: Canadian Painters at the Paris Salon 1880-1900 Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2012

October 2: Curating Canada into the Americas

Guest speaker: Georgiana Uhlyarik; Associate Curator of Canadian Art, Art Gallery of Ontario and co-curator of Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic

Readings:

Peter John Brownlee, Valéria Piccoli and Georgiana Uhlyarik, “Landscape Paintings across the Americas: An Inquiry,” in Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario and Yale University Press, 2014, pages 13-15

Ruth Phillips, “Indigenous Lands/Settler Landscapes: Art Histories Out of Joint,” in Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario and Yale University Press, 2014, pages 92-98

Jolene Rickard, “Arts of Dispossession,” in Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario and Yale University Press, 2014, pages 115-119

http://picturingtheamericas.org/ view in particular Shelly Niro and Hayden King videos under ‘media’ section

Exhibition case study: Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic, Art Gallery of Ontario, 2014

Discussion Question: What happens to our understanding of the Canadian landscape when positioned in a hemispheric context?

October 9: Reading week. No Class

October 16: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

Guest speaker: Andrew Hunter, Fredrick S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art, Art Gallery of Ontario, and co-curator of Tom Thomson and The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris

Readings:

Charles C. Hill, “Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven,” in The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2010, Chapter 3, pages 39-57

Peter White, “Out of the Woods,” in Beyond Wilderness. The Group of Seven: Canadian Identity, and Contemporary Art. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-University Press, 2007, pages 11-20

Andrew Hunter, “Loomings (Cape Dorset, Los Angeles, Toronto, Brantford),” in The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario and Hammer Museum, 2016, pages 49-58

Exhibition case studies:

Tom Thomson, National Gallery of Canada and Art Gallery of Ontario, 2002

The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris, Art Gallery of Ontario and Hammer Museum, 2015

Discussion Question: Do the Group of Seven still matter today? Should they?

October 23: Where are all the women artists? Women painters in the 1920s and 1930s

Assignment #2 due: Lecture Report

Readings:

Gerta Moray, “Emily Carr: Modernism, Cultural Identity, and Ethnocultural Art History,” in The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010, Chapter 4, pages 59-77

Kristina Huneault, “’As well as Men’: The Gendering of the Beaver Hall,” in 1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group. Montreal: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 2015, pages 263 - 292

Exhibition case study: 1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 2015

Discussion Questions: What are some of the prevailing socio-political and cultural circumstances that have historically circumscribed the production and reception of work by women artists? Why do you think there have been fewer texts and exhibitions devoted to the work of women artists?

October 30: Then and Now: Framing Exhibitions of Canadian Women Artists

Readings:

Dorothy Farr and Natalie Luckyj, “Introduction,” in From Women’s Eyes: Women Painters in Canada. Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 1975, pages 1-6.

Alicia Boutilier and Tobi Bruce, “The Artist Herself,” in The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists. Kingston and Hamilton: Agnes Etherington Art Centre and Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2015, pages 17-32.

Ruth B. Phillips, Aboriginal Modernities: First Nations Art, c.1880-1970,” in The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2010, Chapter 17, pages 349-369.

Exhibition case studies:

From Women’s Eyes: Women Painters in Canada. Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 1975

The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists, Agnes Etherington Art Centre and Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2015

November 6: Midterm Test

*November 13: Curating Indigenous Art I

(*Class will be held at Art Gallery of Hamilton)

Readings: Ossie Michelin, “The Hard Truth About Reconciliation,” Canadian Art, Summer 2017 http://canadianart.ca/features/the-hard-truth-about-reconciliation/

Ingo Hessel, “A Culture in Transition: Inuit Art in the Twentieth Century,” in The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2010, Chapter 10, pages 187-209

Sue Gustavison, The Chedoke Collection of Inuit Art, exhibition brochure, Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2017

*November 23: Curating and Collecting

(*Class moved from November 20 and to be held at McMaster Museum of Art)

Assignment #3 Exhibition Review due

The MMA exhibition A Cultivating Journey: The Herman Levy Legacy explores the legacy and collecting habits of one of Canada’s most significant art collectors. In this public lecture Tobi Bruce and Ihor Holubizky, the MMA’s Senior Curator, will discuss the complex role private collectors play in building and shaping public collections in Canada.

November 27: Curating Indigenous Art II

Guest Speaker: Rheanne Chartrand, Curator of Indigenous Art, McMaster Museum of Art

Readings: Unapologetic: Acts of Survivance, exhibition brochure, McMaster Museum of Art, 2017

https://museum.mcmaster.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/UnapologeticGuide_web.pdf

Coyote School, exhibition brochure, McMaster Museum of Art, 2017

Further readings TBD

Exhibitions: Coyote School and Unapologetic: Acts of Survivance, McMaster Museum of Art, 2017

Discussion Question: TBD

December 4: Exam Review

Question Journal Due

No required readings


Other Course Information:

Note on Correspondence: For personal correspondence between instructor and student, you are required to use the McMaster email as listed above. No response from the instructor within a reasonable amount of time indicates the message was not received. It is the student’s responsibility to follow-up with subsequent attempts.