This module begins with an introduction to the scholarly discipline of the history of art, with a focus on how it has evolved over time conditioned by wider social and intellectual considerations. As part of the first day, there is an exploration of intrinsic desire for creativity from the ancient to the contemporary and the role of the artist in history and society. The importance of a global and pluralistic perspective – both across cultures and over time - is considered as part of an emergent contemporary narrative. Days 2 and 3 provide an overview of different time periods including critical turning points (paradigm shifts), key artists and objects which are selected by expert speakers. The lectures are delivered by subject specialists who have knowledge of both the scholarly literature and current academic debates but also an understanding of the market, institutional structure as well as the curating and display of objects. The module thereby links to subsequent Art Business and Management modules as well as Collecting and Collections Management module as well as Exhibitions and Events module. Days 4 and 5 explore key genres in the arts with an introduction to their historical evolution but critically current perspectives on contemporary practice as seen by leading contemporary artists. The sessions mirror in part the artistic genres represented by the Royal Academy since its foundation (painting, printmaking, sculpture and architecture) – but extend these with contemporary discourses on the decorative arts, performance arts and mixed media, all critical to the interdisciplinary and plural practice of many contemporary artists. Each session will be led by a leading contemporary artist, best placed to situate the discussion in the world today, with knowledge of both the field’s historical trajectory and a view to its direction for the future. The week ends with a final exploration of context – in this case the role of the city, specifically London. It includes both a historic exploration of the growth of London over time but also a experiential review of where it is now with a tour of the local area and contextualising the conversations of the preceding week. Because the module intentionally coincides with Frieze Art Fair and satellite events in London, there will be an ongoing theme considering the role of fashion and taste, include a visit to the fair and subsequent reflections session.
Examples of the core readings: * Harris, Jonathan (2001), The New Art History: A Critical Introduction, London, Routledge, New York * Marlow, Tim, Grabsky, Phil and Rance, Phillip (2002), The Great Artists: From Giotto to Turner, Faber and Faber, UK * Saumarez Smith, C. (2012), The Company of Artists: The Origins of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Bloomsbury / Modern Art Press, UK