FA2AA-Aesthetic, Anti-Aesthetic

Module Provider: Art
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: FA1MM Modernisms & Mythologies
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Mrs Donna Yamani

Email: d.yamani@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
The focus of this module will be on the different conceptions of and attitudes towards the aesthetic dimension of art since the later 1960s. The content 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. The module tests these ideas through critical examination of contemporary art.

- To enable students to reflect on the relationship between critical ideas and influential artworks in contemporary practice.
- To provide students with an in-depth analysis of the dependence of specific artworks on particular theories, further to their study on Modernisms and Mythologies.
- To encourage 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.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
- demonstrate a developing awareness and understanding of the diverse range of practices and debates that constitute the field of contemporary art
- display the ability to work with theoretical ideas and apply them in an analysis of contemporary artworks
- structure an essay and develop a focused analysis that reflects an understanding of the ways in which a theory relates to an artwork or is used by an artist
- examine and appraise a broad range of research material including 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 expand and develop their knowledge of contemporary art practice. Building on the previous year the student will develop an understanding of the relationships that exist between this work and ideas and those studied on the previous year of the course. The module encourages the students to identify and occupy a position in relation to current art practice that will build a sophisticated critical approach to the following year of study. The module enables students to develop a more in-depth awareness of art, which should be of use in other areas of the course and in their practice. The module also encourages students to develop independent research skills including the use of IT.

Outline content:
Since the 1960s, art has largely been characterized by the rejection of the affective, or the sensible. Much Conceptual art, for example, was committed to the idea of an 'art without the aesthetic'. Here, traditional artistic media, painting, for example, were seen by many to be a thing of the past, and hereafter an opposition opened up between an outmoded 'traditional aesthetics' and privileged, 'critical' and conceptually-orientated art. However, the repressed dimension of the aesthetic inevitably returned. We will trace the vicissitudes of the aesthetic across this period, and the larger part of the module will be devoted to looking at the recent ways in which both art and art theory have attempted to think beyond the ossified opposition between the aesthetic and the anti-aesthetic.

Global context:
The module introduces themes, methods and approaches prevalent within the international field of contemporary art. 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 texts 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 written assignments and receive an essay tutorial.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 10
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study 178
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Students are required to submit one 2000 word essay at the end of the term and a critical online blog. The essays will be counted for examination subject to scrutiny by a second internal examiner. The essay must be submitted in order to gain a pass.

Formative assessment methods:
Essay tutorials in advance of writing assignments accompany feedback tutorials that discuss your written feedback and help you plan future essays. This module also employs blog tools to pose questions and respond critically to the exhibitions and events encountered as part of the study visits in addition to supporting writing skills.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    The summative essay must be submitted in order to gain a pass and achieve a threshold performance.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Submission of additional essay by August

    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: 17 September 2018


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