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Writing Cultural Criticism

ARTDES 389.001, Winter 2024


Credit Hours: 3
Instructor(s): Hirsch, Allie
Semester: Winter 2024

Prerequisites: All OF THE FOLLOWING: ARTDES 129: First Year Writing in Art and Design. OR PERMISSION OF INSTRUCTOR.

Description: This is a Stamps academic course and will not fulfill studio requirements. What can an art/​design review do? Donald Judd described art criticism as after the fact” — that criticism is always secondary to the art that inspires it. However, today’s best critics go beyond this model and imagine the reviewed object as a portal rather than a limit. These writers use their interpretations and evaluations to make surprising discoveries about the systems of power and meaning that shape the work that fascinates them. In this course, students will investigate cultural objects and phenomena, seeking surprising and meaningful discoveries about culture, power, and meaning-making. Students will write a series of critical essays exploring thoughtful connections between the art and design that fascinates them and their positionality as makers and thinkers in a turbulent social and political era. These larger projects will be scaffolded by weekly writing experiments designed to help students explore outside their comfort zones, and students will also have the opportunity to take part in a supportive critical community by providing feedback on each other’s work. Writing Cultural Criticism fulfills the Upper-Level Writing Requirement criteria as set by the Stamps School of Art and Design.

Frequency: This course is typically offered in the winter term of every academic year, though scheduling may vary according to future term circumstances.