FA1WC-What is the Contemporary?

Module Provider: Art
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Miss Kirsten Cooke

Email: k.s.cooke@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module will have a twofold purpose: firstly, to provide a survey of the practices and critical methods that constitute the field of contemporary art, and secondly to conduct a critical investigation into ideas of contemporaneity. It will build upon the first part of the level-1 course, Modernisms and Mythologies, of which it is an extension. It will begin by analysing different formulations of the contemporary, its difference from the Modern and what is at stake for art in those terms. The module will then look at the ways in which trends in ideas and fashion in art can be canon building operations. Finally the module will examine examples of resistances to prevalent paradigms in art and critical literature.

This module examines the relationship between critical ideas and influential artworks in contemporary practice. It builds upon the concepts and the critical terminology from the previous module. The module provides students with a more in-depth analysis of the dependence of specific artworks on particular theories. The module encourages students to critically reflect upon the theoretical and political contexts in which contemporary art is produced and the diverse strategies and forms developed by artists in response to these.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
- demonstrate awareness of the diverse range of practices that constitute the field of contemporary art
- begin to display the ability to work with the taught theoretical ideas and apply them critically in an analysis of contemporary artworks
- demonstrate an awareness of current debates informing contemporary art practice
- examine and begin to appraise a broad range of research material including some primary text, exhibitions, art journals, periodicals and web based sources
- organize and present a coherent written argument which understands the conventions of referencing and bibliography

Additional outcomes:
The module encourages students to build up knowledge of contemporary art practice and develop an understanding of the relationships that exist between this work and the art studied on the previous module. The module enables students to develop a more in-depth awareness of art and begin to develop a critical relationship towards the idea of current trends in art, which should be of use in other areas of the course. The module also encourages students to develop independent research skills including the use of IT.

Outline content:
The module is delivered through a series of lectures and connected seminars examining the diverse practices of contemporary art including relevant historical precedents. The lectures will use a number of key texts and examine their use in relation to art practice. The module examines particular theoretical methodologies and considers the distinct ways in which these overlap with the production of art.

Global context:
The module introduces themes, methods and approaches prevalent within the international field of contemporary art and offers critiques of canon forming eurocentrism. Through the course of the module students are made aware of the global context of biennials, fairs and international curatorial programmes. In addition, the scheduled Study Visits introduce students to international exhibitions, museums and collections.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will be delivered through a programme of lectures. The series will cover a number of key text in detail and will examine the ways in which they inform the production and interpretation of contemporary art. Each lecture is followed by a seminar. The seminar allows students to raise questions and discuss particular issues from the lecture in greater depth. Students are required to do preparatory reading and may be required to visit exhibitions. Students submit two written assignments (recommended a short, close analysis of an artwork and an essay) and receive an essay tutorial to help prepare them for their essay.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 10
Tutorials 2
External visits 5
Guided independent study 173
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
Essay tutorials in advance of writing assignments accompany feedback tutorials that discuss your written feedback and help you plan future essays.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    The essay must be submitted in order to gain a pass and achieve a threshold performance

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Submission of additional essay by August 2017

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 6 December 2017

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