Introduction to Art Worlds I
Professor Nina Hien
Mon 6:20 – 8:20
In this first part of the “Art Worlds” sequence, we will explore how the meanings
and materialities of art have been shaped by global exchanges, colonial
encounters and cultural differences. Here, we will consider the influence of
modern experiences, ideologies, technologies and ways of looking on the
construction, circulation, evaluation, display, and reception of art, artifacts and
visual objects. We will examine visual practices and the ways in which they are
produced by the economic, political, and cultural forces in specific times and
particular places. Specifically, we will focus on their development in relation to
imperial projects and systems, and the cultural negotiations occurring within
We will read selected works from philosophy, art history, anthropology,
journalism, literary theory, and cultural studies that have been foundational in
establishing the key concepts that underlie the development of EuropeanAmerican visual theory. We will also read works that expand and explore these
themes in diverse cultural contexts.
Additionally, the class will ground its theoretical insights about art and its
practices through in-depth investigations into the social biographies of specific
objects (or sets of objects). In the process, we will learn and test out different
analytical and methodological forms that may be used to understand art and
image worlds.