2019-2020 Undergraduate Academic Catalog

IAHIS 4630 Scandalous Art

This course focuses on art works that have triggered scandalous public reactions. Considering about a dozen such cases, the course examines the historical circumstances of the image in question, its role in exposing various power discourses, and its art-historical relevance. Examples include Diego Rivera's Rockefeller Center mural, Maya Lin's Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, Richard Serra's Tilted Arc, Andreas Serrano's Piss Christ, and Chris Ofili's Virgin Mary. Identifying the stylistic and conceptual properties of an image, the class meetings will closely examine the reason(s) for the adverse reception, the arguments offered by all parties, backgrounds and roles of the key participants, and the outcome of the debate. In addition to the literature on these cases, students will consult such sources as documentaries and television footage. The course will offer valuable insights into discursive formations of art in a capitalist society.