Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

ART HIST 4DF3 HISTORY OF COLLECTING

Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Alison McQueen

Email: ajmcq@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 601

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24154

Website

Office Hours: Office Hours: Mondays 9:30-10 am, Tuesdays and Fridays 11:30 am-12pm, and by appointment



Course Objectives:

This seminar addresses topics and issues in the history of collecting.  The seminar will focus primarily on collecting art and material culture in Western Europe and North America from the eighteenth through twenty-first centuries. The seminar aims to examine approaches to the study of collecting and to formulate a productive means of conducting and presenting such a study.  Topics include the theories of phenomenology, psychology/psychoanalysis and poststructuralism, and issues relating to identity.  In the winter semester 2014 students in the seminar will have the opportunity to work on an exhibition of art works from the collections of Mohawk College and Foundation.  The exhibition will be mounted at McMaster Innovation Park from March-July 2014 and students will be involved in organizing the exhibition and producing a published catalogue.  The research, related didactic panels and exhibition catalogue, as well as related curatorial work will, form the major research project of the seminar.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Custom Courseware 


Method of Assessment:

1.             Participation   30%

Seminars achieve their potential when all are present and contribute.  Students must consistently come to class prepared to discuss the assigned readings as a group.  Any absence from seminar meetings must be discussed with the professor in advance.  Failure to attend class may result in a failing grade.  Students must contribute to discussions during each class meeting and will receive a midterm participation grade on February 11th.  Students are required to engage fully with the material, must complete all readings and attend all classes.  Participation is worth 30% of the final grade.

2.       Collaborative Research Project: Exhibition Mohawk College and Foundation Collections, McMaster Innovation Park   70%

Visual Analysis Presentations                                                                                                     15%

Drafts of Two Didactic Panels for In-Class Peer Review                                                             15%

Reflection Papers                                                                                                                         10%

Didactic Panels, Catalogue Entries and Research component of Research Binder                     30%

Any assignment submitted late will be deducted one half letter grade per day.

The major research project for this seminar is a collaborative exhibition of works from the collections of Mohawk College and Foundation.  Dr. McQueen is Curator for the exhibition and each student will act as a Curatorial Assistant.  Students will be assigned to specific art works and these will be the focus of their research.  Students will produce didactic labels and will also write entries for the published catalogue. 

Students will present their Preliminary Work on this research project on three occasions.  The first two will be Visual Analysis Presentations, the first set on January 21st and 28th, and the second set on February 4th and 11th.  Each student will present a five minute analysis of two of the works for which they are responsible (one work in each of the sets of presentations).  The first presentation will focus entirely on visual analysis and the second will address both visual analysis and historical research.  Each presentation will be worth 7.5% of the final grade, total 15% for Visual Analysis Presentations.

The second presentation of preliminary work will take place on February 25th and will be in-class peer-review of drafts of the text for two didactic panels.  Copies of these draft will also be submitted to the professor on February 25th and revised copies submitted to her on March 4th.  The Draft and Revised Draft will be worth 15% of the final grade.

The catalogue entries and didactic panel material are due on March 11th.  The written work for an exhibition is often a distillation of a significant amount of work into a succinct number of words.  Students should keep a binder in which they record and document all of their research, and drafts of written texts.  This binder, in addition to the quality of the research and written texts, will be the basis of how each student is evaluated for this part of their grade.  Research Binders will be due on April 8th.  Students will receive a copy of the catalogue that includes their published work.  The catalogue will have an ISBN number and students can include their contribution on their résumé, listed as a publication.

A portion of each seminar meeting will be dedicated to the logistics of organizing the exhibition.  As a group, the seminar will discuss issues around installation and hanging, the display of works and didactic materials, the format and layout of the catalogue, and public relations.  Students must actively contribute to these discussions and the related work as their input (amount and significance) also contributes to their grade for this portion of the course.  Students must assist with the installation of works at MIP on Sunday March 23rd from approximately 9 am-4 pm.  The exhibition will be mounted on the second floor of the atrium in McMaster’s Innovation Park through July 2014.  Students must also attend the exhibition opening, which is scheduled for Thursday April 3rd, 7-9 p.m. Students must arrive by 6:45 pm and work as Docents for the duration of the event.  Students will stand near the works on which they did their research and will discuss the works and their findings with interested members of the public.  Students will write two One-Page Reflection Papers immediately following the Exhibition Installation and the Exhibition Opening.  In these papers students will consider and analyze what they have learned from their experiences on these particular aspects of the project.  The Reflection Papers are worth 10% of final grade, and must be included in the Research Binder due at the beginning of class on April 8th.

Much work has been done in advance of the beginning of this semester both to secure the collaboration with Mowhawk College and Foundation, to curate the exhibition, and to organize sponsors for the catalogue design, the photographing of art works, and the transportation of the art.  Students are asked to be respectful of the additional time and commitment involved to realize the experiential learning aspects of this seminar, particularly as it involves the time of volunteers who have worked assiduously, and with dedication over a two-year period in order to make this possible.  In taking this course students must, therefore, commit to manifest their respect by submitting their materials on time, and arriving on time for all meetings, including the exhibition installation and opening.  Schedules of many professionals, including numerous companies, are involved with realizing the deadlines necessary for this Collaborative Research Project.


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.


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:

January 7             Introduction to the Seminar

January 14            Visit to McMaster Museum of Art – Discussion of Visual Analysis

                              How to do/not to do a study of collecting, Part I

Readings:

Mathew Teitelbaum, “The Story behind the Bernini Acquisition,” Members’ Journal vol.6 no.4 (Summer 1998): 4-5.

Alison McQueen, “A Couple’s Passion: The Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Art Collection,” in Heaven and Earth Unveiled: European Treasures from the Tanenbaum Collection.  Hamilton: Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2005, pages 191-200.

Alison McQueen, From Renaissance to Rodin: Celebrating the Tanenbaum Gift. Toronto: J. Tanenbaum, 2012, pages 34-35, 40-41, 42-45, 48-49, 54-57, 76-77, 82-83, 102-105.

January 21            Visual Analysis Presentations (First Set)

                              How to do/not to do a study of collecting, Part II

Readings:

Susan M. Pearce, “Collecting Culture,” in Collecting in Contemporary Practice. London: Sage Publications, 1998, pages 1-16.

Alison McQueen, “Private Art Collections in Pittsburgh: Displays of Culture, Wealth, and Connoisseurship,” in Collecting in the Gilded Age: Art Patronage in Pittsburgh, 1890-1910. Gabriel P. Weisberg, DeCourcy E. McIntosh, and Alison McQueen. Pittsburgh: Frick Art & Historical Center, 1997, pages 52-105, 349-65.

January 28            Visual Analysis Presentations (First Set)

                              How to do/not to do a study of collecting, Part III

Readings:

Susan M. Pearce,  “Collecting Processes,” and “Collecting in Time” in On Collecting, pages 3-35, 235-254

Alison McQueen, “Collecting an Imperial Persona: Collecting Practices and Intimate Spaces,” in Empress Eugénie and the Arts: Politics and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century. Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2011, pages 149-195, 214-224.

February 4            Visual Analysis Presentations (Second Set)

                             How to do/Not to do a study of collecting, Part IV

Readings:

James A. Ganz, “Sterling Clark as a Collector,” in Great French Paintings from the Clark: Barbizon through Impressionism. New York: Skira/Rizzoli, 2011,  pages 3-27.

Michael Conforti, “Preface,” and Steven Kern, “A Passion for Renoir,” in A Passion for Renoir: Sterling and Francine Clark Collect 1916-1951. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996, pages 6, 9-25, 100-102.

Alison McQueen, “Il était une fois…l’impressionisme: Chefs d’œuvre de la peinture française du Clark/Once Upon a Time…Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark,” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide vol.12 n.1 (Spring 2013):

http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/index.php/spring13/mcqueen-reviews-once-upon-a-time-impressionism

February 11            Visual Analysis Presentations (Second Set)

                               Phenomenology and Collecting

Readings:

Susan M. Pearce, “Who and What,” in Collecting in Contemporary Practice. London: Sage Publications, 1998, pages 22-48.

Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking my library: a talk about book collecting,” in Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968.

February 18             No Class – Reading Week

February 25            In-Class Peer-Review of Two Didactic Panel Drafts

                                Poststructuralism and Collecting

Reading:

Jean Baudrillard. “The System of Collecting,” in The Cultures of Collecting. Eds. John Elsner & Roger Cardinal. London: Reaktion Books, 1994, pages 7-24.

March 4            Submit Revised Didactic Panel Drafts

                         Fine Art, Material Culture, Value

Readings:

Susan M. Pearce, “The Politics of Value,” in On Collecting, pages 290-307.

Michael Thompson, “The Filth in the Way,” and “Art and the ends of economic activity,” in Rubbish Theory: The Creation and Destruction of Value. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, pages 1-12, 103-130.

March 11            All text for catalogue and didactic panels due

No Reading Assignment

March 18            Visible Objects and Commodities

Readings:

Arjun Appadurai, “Introduction: commodities and the politics of value,” in The social life of things: Commodities in cultural perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986, pages 3-29, 65-8.

Krzysztof Pomian, “The Collection: between the Visible and the Invisible,” in Collectors and Curiosities: Paris and Venice 1500-1800. Trans. Elizabeth Wiles-Portier. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990, pages 7-44.

March 25            Psychology and Collecting

Readings:

John Forrester, “‘Mille e tre’: Freud and Collecting,” in The Cultures of Collecting. Eds. John Elsner & Roger Cardinal. London: Reaktion Books, 1994, pages 224-251.

Rosemary Matthews, “Collectors and why the collect: Isabella Stewart Gardner and her museum of art,” Journal of the History of Collections vol.21 n.2 (2009): 183-189.

April 1                        No Seminar Meeting

April 3                        Docent Work at MIP Exhibition Opening 7-9 pm

April 8                        Exhibition Binders Due

                                   Seminar Discussion of Experiential Learning


Other Course Information:

Reserve List

Appadurai, Arjun. The social life of things: Commodities in cultural perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Argencourt, Louise d’ et al. Heaven and Earth Unveiled: European Treasures from the Tanenbaum Collection.  Hamilton: Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2005.

Elsner, John & Roger Cardinal eds.  The Cultures of Collecting. London: Reaktion Books, 1994,

Mauriès, Patrick. Cabinet of Curiosities. London: Thames & Hudson, 2002.

McQueen, Alison. From Renaissance to Rodin: Celebrating the Tanenbaum Gift. Toronto: J. Tanenbaum, 2012.

-----. Art in Hamilton: The City of Hamilton Collects. Hamilton: McMaster Innovation Park: 2013.

-----. Art in Hamilton: Portraiture from the Bensen Family Collection. Hamilton: McMaster Innovation Park, 2012.

-----. Art in Hamilton: The Collection of Valeska Ramsay. Hamilton: McMaster Innovation Park, 2011.

Pearce, Susan M. Interpreting Objects and Collections. London: Routledge, 1994.

-----. On Collecting: An Investigation into collecting in the European tradition. New York: Routledge, 1995.

-----. Collecting in Contemporary Practice. London: Sage Publications, 1998.

Pomian, Krzysztof. Collectors and Curiosities: Paris and Venice 1500-1800. Trans. Elizabeth Wiles-Portier. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990.

Stewart, Susan. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993.

Thompson, Michael. Rubbish Theory: The Creation and Destruction of Value. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Weisberg, Gabriel P., Decourcy E. McIntosh, and Alison McQueen. Collecting in the Gilded Age: Art Patronage in Pittsburgh, 1890-1910. Pittsburgh: Frick Art & Historical Center, 1997.