WL ARTS 120 - Selected Topics in Cultural Studies "Conversations in Contemporary Art"

WL ARTS 120 - Selected Topics in Cultural Studies

New Class for Winter 2022

WL ARTS 120 - Selected Topics in Cultural Studies


"Conversations in Contemporary Art"


Mondays: 4:30pm-7:20pm

Class ID:401420200


Kaufman Hall 208


“The purpose of Art” James Baldwin wrote, “is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers.”

We are living through a critical moment in history. From photography to sculpture, paintings to film, performance to photography, writing to socially engagement, artists today are grappling with some of the most pressing and pertinent issues of our time. They are opening up new areas of discussion and debate in contemporary society whilst expanding the notion of art and the role of those who create it. In this class we will take up Baldwin’s challenge and join the conversation!

This class will focus on how artists have used their work to address real-world issues. Throughout the class we will not only look at, read, watch, and communally engage with contemporary artworks but through a series of written and creative assignments we will intervene into the conversations they stimulate ourselves. What questions are we interested in asking? Where do our investments lie? In doing so this class is aimed at deepening students' understanding not only of the terrain of art and its relationship to contemporary society but of how and where their own voices and artistic processes are situated. Throughout the quarter we will engage with, and create works of art and writing that are challenging, complex and generative of new ideas.

Nathaniel Whitfield received a BFA in Art from the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford; was a William Alexander Fleet Fellow in Princeton University’s Department of Art & Archeology; and a studio participant in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program before completing his MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio at UCLA. His work engages in a site-reflexive examination of labor, race, gender and class. His various engagements overlap, conflate, and diverge as his artistic roles shift between performer, collaborator, organizer, teacher, writer, curator and director.

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