Fall 2015

Art, Power, and Global Exhibitions, 1850 – Present

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-351


Brianne C. Cohen (Section 01)


This course focuses on the exhibition of artistic and cultural objects from the mid-nineteenth century through the twenty-first century. We will look at how viewing, collecting, categorizing, objectifying, and turning objects into commodities are tied to nineteenth-century European imperialism and nationalism, and how these processes reveal tensions between universalistic claims and local conditions. How do the legacies of imperialism and nationalism continue to shape art and stereotyping in the modern era? Have twenty-first century curators and art professionals who work in regions such as the Middle East, Latin America, and East Asia maintained or resisted such stereotyping in the modern era? Topics to be covered may include: World’s Fairs, ethnographic museums, national collections, dilemmas of representation after the Holocaust, MoMA (NYC) and the Guggenheim Museums, world biennials and mega-exhibitions, commercialized art fairs, and display on the Internet. Largely discussion-based, this class will combine theoretical texts with the visual analysis and writings of art historians, curators, and artists in order to introduce some of the key epistemological shifts underpinning artistic/cultural display and exhibition-making in a global context. We will also visit the Mead Museum and take one to three field trips to prominent international museums in the region.

Limited to 12 students.  Fall semester. Visiting Professor Cohen.

If Overenrolled: Priority to ARHA majors, then seniors, with the aim to engage a diversity of students from across disciplines and the Five Colleges.


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015