Spring 2023

Ruins, Rubble and Rupture

Listed in: Architectural Studies, as ARCH-236  |  Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-236


Karen R. Koehler (Section 01.)


(Offered as ARHA 236 and ARCH 236) This course will consider the complex role of the ruin in the history of art—including paintings, prints, photographs, films, sculpture, and architectural remains—making extensive use of the exhibition “Architectural Ghosts” at the Mead Art Museum. We will begin with artists such as Piranesi, Thomas Cole, and Casper David Friedrich, as well as Romantic architects who designed structures meant to suggest the passage of time and the powers of decay. We will consider early travel photographs of ancient ruins and modern and contemporary responses made in the aftermath of war, terrorism, and climate disasters, including new writing on the ruin. The class will examine historical phenomena such as the “rubble women” who gathered debris after the blanket bombings of Europe in the 1940s; “ruin-porn” in relationship to post-industrial urban revitalization; and efforts of preservation in the context of continued violence throughout the world. The course will include a focus on art, architecture and films made after World War II, the Holocaust, and Hiroshima when the imagery of ruins and the markings of rupture became artistic tools—as in the works of Alberto Burri, Anselm Kiefer, Roberto Rossellini, Yves Klein, or the Gutai group. Students will present on one object in the exhibition, respond to weekly readings in discussion, write short essays, and work on an extended research project (presentations and paper) on an object or site of their own choosing.

Spring semester. Professor Koehler.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference to ARHA and ARCH majors.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis on visual analysis, historical analysis, written work, readings, research and oral presentations.

ARCH 236 - LEC

Section 01.
Tu 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM FAYE 117
Th 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM FAYE 117


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023