L&S Curricular Connections

Big Ideas Courses

Letters and Science 76

Beauty and the Beholder: Approaching Art at the Berkeley Art Museum

Arts and Literature; Philosophy and Values

This seminar-style course will take up questions of aesthetic theory, the politics of art, and the relationship between artistic form and meaningful content by way of readings and examinations of specific art works at the Berkeley Art Museum. We will explore the following questions: What approaches do scholars bring to an art work? What is a formal analysis vs. a critical interpretation of an art work? How do curators approach art? Are we supposed to ‘learn from’ an art work or ‘experience’ it or what? Is art a matter of conveying feeling, a message, or an encounter with beauty? Curators at the Berkeley Art Museum will serve as guest teachers; they possess both in-depth knowledge of the collection and also a sense of what it means to work with objects that belong to a history but are nonetheless collected as “art.” It is important to note that this course is not an introduction to art history; it is instead decidedly multidisciplinary–where the ‘multi-‘ does not foreclose disparity and discontinuity in the approaches to art works that we will take.

Karen Feldman
Karen Feldman (German)

Terms Offered

  • Fall 2017
  • Spring 2014