Fall 2024

Modernity and the Avant-Gardes, 1890–1945

Listed in: Architectural Studies, as ARCH-159  |  Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-159


Karen R. Koehler (Section 01)


(Offered as ARHA 159 and ARCH 159) This course is an examination of the emergence, development, and dissolution of European modernist art, architecture and design. The course begins with the innovations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, created in consort with the growth of modern urbanism, colonialist politics, and psychological experimentation. Distinctions between the terms modernity, modernism, and the avant-garde will be explored as we unpack the complex equations between art, politics, and social change in the first half of the twentieth century. Covering selected groups (such as Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, l'Esprit Nouveau, Bauhaus, and Constructivism), this course will consider themes such as mechanical reproduction, nihilism, nationalism, consumerism, and primitivism as they are disclosed in the making and reception of modernist art and architecture.

Limited to 50 students. Fall 2024: Professor Koehler.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference to Art History and Architectural Studies 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 and historical contextualization, through lecture, discussion, written work, readings, and group work.

Course Materials


Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2021, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024