The Center for the Study of Modern Art offers courses in art history, museum studies, and modern and contemporary art theory and practice. Courses are offered every fall and spring and are in collaboration with regional universities.
SPRING 2013 COURSE
Metaphysical Quests and Abstract Art in the 20th Century
January 15-May 7
Tuesdays, 2:30 to 5 pm
Center for the Study of Modern Art seminar room
$400, $350 for members
To enroll, contact Meg Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-387-2151 x286
This course explores modernism via the metaphysical and spiritual inquiries posed by numerous artists in both Europe and the United States from the turn of the 20th century to the mid-1960s. Some scholars would call these spiritual claims a failure of nerve or an escape from reality, but such attitudes fail to understand how integral such pronouncements were for the artists' projects. We will ground the artists' interests in vitalism, theosophy, Zen, and other non-traditional spiritualities in their particular historical settings, putting them in dialogue with both the formal qualities of artworks and the political engagements of the artists for a more holistic view of modernism's project. Artists to be considered include Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, John Cage, and Agnes Martin.
About the Instructor
Dr. Valerie Hellstein is the 2012-13 Phillips Postdoctoral Fellow. She received her PhD in art history from Stony Brook University, New York, in 2010, and is a scholar of 20th-century American and European art, in particular the connections between modern art, spirituality, and politics. She is currently working on a book, tentatively titled Collective Anarchy: The Club, Abstract Expressionism, and the Cold War, and most recently taught at Boston College and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. In addition to furthering her research and teaching at the Phillips, Dr. Hellstein will deliver a public lecture on her research in April 2013, and participate in other scholarly activity at the Center and the George Washington University.
About the Partnership with the George Washington University
The Phillips Collection has a wide-ranging partnership with George Washington University, including co-organization of the Conversations with Artists series, internships, an art therapy program, art history courses at the Center, and an annual postdoctoral fellowship position.