Laguna College of Art + Design

Art History Minor

ART APPRECIATION AND ART HISTORY

LCAD's Art History Minor will enrich your creative foundations, expand your educational portfolio, and broaden your teaching opportunities in the fields of art appreciation and art history.  

LCAD’s Art History Minor is conducted under the guidance of mentor professors who tailor specific readings, journaling, and writing projects to broaden your understandings of the creative motivations of specific artists.

 

Students wishing to earn a Minor in Art History must take 12 units in addition to the 15 Art History units required for a BFA. Classes may be selected from among the Art History electives or from specialized Art History courses required of other majors.

Course Listing

Mesoamerican Empires of the Aztec and Maya

Course ID: AH114
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
An introductory course exploring the art and architecture of Mesoamerica from the rise of the Olmec in 1500 BCE to the Spanish conquest of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan in 1521, Mesoamerican Empires will focus on how changes in visual culture have reflected larger religious and political transformations in Mesoamerica. Issues of cultural memory and myth will be examined to understand indigenous conceptions of art, history, cosmology, and social hierarchy. Forging links with the present day, students will learn to identify and contextualize Mesoamerican iconography in contemporary media including the creative expression of lowrider culture, tattoos, fine art, and fashion. Students will be required to demonstrate their understanding of the material through visual (art) projects, a formal writing assignment, and their participation in class discussions. No prerequisites.

Intro to Asian Art and Culture

Course ID: AH115
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
If consciousness is shaped by our history, then where are we, collectively, if we’ve lost faith that a shared historical commonality among cultures ever existed? To the people who thrived in the strange and beautiful empires of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, religious and cultural differences found in one’s neighbors weren’t unusual, confusing or frightening—they were part of everyday life. In short: normal coexistence. In the class Egypt, Greece, Rome—we’ll explore the commonalities and shared experiences found among these three remarkable civilizations, as well as follow the cultural fault lines exploited by those in power which eventually forced these empires to dissolve. Together, we’ll explore three millennia of artefacts, objects, architecture, writings, as well as cultural and religious practice to see how these civilizations evolved, ran alongside one another, then overlapped and overcame one another to lay the foundations of modern western society. Through lecture, images, discussions, essays, and close readings, students will learn to identify, decode, understand and describe artworks and objects from the past, translating them from visual to verbal and textual language. In addition, in an effort to gain insight into the ancient state of mind, students will reconstruct a piece of history with a hands-on laboratory project and a small, original artwork of their own. No prerequisites.

Ancient Civ: Egypt-Greece-Rome

Course ID: AH116
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
If consciousness is shaped by our history, then where are we, collectively, if we’ve lost faith that a shared historical commonality among cultures ever existed? To the people who thrived in the strange and beautiful empires of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, religious and cultural differences found in one’s neighbors weren’t unusual, confusing or frightening—they were part of everyday life. In short: normal coexistence. In the class Egypt, Greece, Rome—we’ll explore the commonalities and shared experiences found among these three remarkable civilizations, as well as follow the cultural fault lines exploited by those in power which eventually forced these empires to dissolve. Together, we’ll explore three millennia of artefacts, objects, architecture, writings, as well as cultural and religious practice to see how these civilizations evolved, ran alongside one another, then overlapped and overcame one another to lay the foundations of modern western society. Through lecture, images, discussions, essays, and close readings, students will learn to identify, decode, understand and describe artworks and objects from the past, translating them from visual to verbal and textual language. In addition, in an effort to gain insight into the ancient state of mind, students will reconstruct a piece of history with a hands-on laboratory project and a small, original artwork of their own. No prerequisites.

Rome, City of Splendor

Course ID: AH190
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
Rome, the Eternal City, is a city unlike any other. It is entrenched in history and undeniably beautiful, where Roman ruins serve as a backdrop for classically restrained Renaissance structures and dramatic Baroque spectacle. This course takes students through the incredible transformation the city has undergone from ancient times through the rise of Christianity, culminating with the tumultuous era and style of the 17th-century Baroque. Through these great epochs of Roman history, the city attracted some of the most revered artists including Raphael, Michelangelo, Gentileschi, Caravaggio, and Bernini. Students will leave this class with an in-depth understanding of the innovation of Roman architecture and engineering, what led to the decline of ancient Rome, and how the city transformed from a glorious capital of pagan culture to the prominent seat of the Catholic faith, home to over 900 churches. Requirements for this class include a museum visit, independent research, and the creation of an artwork related to the course content and historic techniques analyzed in this course.

The Medieval World

Course ID: AH204
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
The Middle Ages were a time of knights and ladies... or maybe brutal Viking warlords... or a clash of civilizations between Christians and Muslims... and maybe there were dragons? A lot of what we “know” about the medieval world comes from fantasy, pop culture, and from old nationalist scholarship that mostly invented origin myths. So, how can we know what the Middle Ages were really like? In this class, we’ll go back and try to get a more accurate picture by looking at things medieval people made: manuscripts, sculptures, buildings, weapons, clothing, etc., all in tandem with reading primary sources by the people who were there. Starting with the collapse of the western Roman Empire, we will uncover a different picture of how two related cultures arose out of the wreckage of the ancient world: Christendom and Dar al-Islam. Along the way we’ll learn that the “barbarians” weren’t that barbaric, that some Vikings converted to Islam, that trade and cooperation across the Mediterranean were far more common than Crusades, and that the medieval world was more diverse, cosmopolitan, and queer than you may have been led to believe. No prerequisites.

Nature in Art: Japan, Korea, Tibet

Course ID: AH205
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
Nature in Art explores the rich and varied traditions of artistic expression unique to the regions of Japan, Korea, and Tibet, from prehistoric indigenous practices through the mid-19th century. Looking closely at Japan, the Korean renaissance, and the coded art of Tibetan Buddhist culture, we will uncover the distinct artistic heritage found in each, noting particularly the sharing and transmission of art practices and ideas as they cross geographical and cultural boundaries. Working chronologically, this course will identify intersections of spirituality and nature, then examine artistic expressions of such concepts through lacquer, ceramic, ink, paper, stone, bamboo and ivory, among other media. Both two- and three-dimensional art forms are considered, from calligraphy, wood-block prints and landscape painting to festivals, garden design, poetry, and tea ceremonies. The objects and sites studied in this course will reflect how concepts of beauty and aesthetics are achieved through the practice of “harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.” The course is conducted as a hybrid seminar-lecture style course, with instructor led lectures and video, student presentations, research, writing, culinary experiences, as well as hands-on exploration of the traditional processes of historic art production in these regions. This class requires a visit to the USC Pacific Asia Museum to see art in person from each of the regions studied in this class. No prerequisites.

Illuminating Women: Female Artists, Scientists, Poets, Philosphers of the Renaisance

Course ID: AH206
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: AH114 OR AH115
Requirement: E
Course Description:
People often wonder exactly when, throughout history, women first started to become active in society? Of course, the answer is: Always. Even though women’s efforts have been overshadowed by that of their male contemporaries in the chronicling of official histories, women have always participated in every facet of life, from rich to poor, north to south, east to west, and from the ancient period to the present. In this course, we will examine the lives and creative pursuits of the many women who contributed to the arts, sciences, and humanities throughout history, particularly focusing on artists & craftspersons, writers & poets, healers, pharmacists, natural philosophers, and rulers, with a few warriors included for good measure. Students will conduct close readings, originate research, formulate short essays, and in an effort to gain insight into the state of mind of historical women, reconstruct a piece of history with a hands-on laboratory project and a small, original artwork placing themselves in the environment of a chosen historical female. Prerequisite: AH210, or one course from the Ancient Civilizations category. This course can be taken concurrently with one class from the Medieval Worlds in Motion category. 3 units.

Age of Michelangelo, 1450-1550

Course ID: AH207
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: AH114 OR AH115
Requirement: E
Course Description:
“Force yourself to imitate Michelangelo in everything.” These were the words expressed by Michelangelo’s biographer to a remarkably self-aware generation of artists in 16th-century Florence, Rome, and Venice. However, whether rival artists wanted to, or even imagined they could succeed in imitating Michelangelo’s work is another question—one among many we’ll explore in The Age of Michelangelo, 1450-1650. In consultation with a range of visual, historical, and literary materials, we’ll delve into the spirit of the age, looking at drawing, painting, sculpture, furniture and garden design, food, weaponry, architecture, and urban planning, as well as people. We’ll tap into the players and personalities of the times—Leonardo, Giorgione, Raphael, Sofonisba Anguissola, Titian—as well as Isabella d’Este, the Della Rovere, and the Medici families who sought to shape their immediate world through power, imagination, and the artistry of their times. Students will conduct close readings, originate research, formulate essays, and in an effort to gain insight into the Renaissance state of mind reconstruct a piece of history with a hands-on laboratory project and a small, original artwork of their own. Prerequisite: AH210, or one course from Ancient Civilizations category (AH100 series). This course can be taken concurrently with Medieval Worlds in Motion category (AH200 series).

Van Gogh's Untold Journey

Course ID: AH300
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
Participants will consider the role of family, faith and artistic inspiration in the art of Van Gogh. They will consider the impact of literature on visual art production throughout his career. For instance, Van Gogh was profoundly influenced by literature and the illustration of stories. He was a life-long reader of Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo and others. Many of the central themes and ideas of his art were rooted in literary depictions and descriptions. Students will overview Van Gogh's formal and stylistic development and how it was a response to daily life issues and problems. He used his art to navigate through life in very practical ways. He was a deep thinker on the central problems in art and art theory and his practical wisdom was legendary as expressed in his existent 900 letters.

Rodin: The Man, The Time, The Art

Course ID: AH301
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
This one semester course is offered in conjunction with a one-time exhibition at LCAD of selected small-scale bronzes by one of the most celebrated sculptors in western history. Students will discuss the personal and cultural circumstances out of which Rodin's powerful aesthetic language emerged. They will relate this historical matter directly to the handmade sculptural object contained in LCAD'S exhibition gallery--- cementing idea and image into one.

Delacroix

Course ID: AH302
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
In this seminar-style course, participants will read and respond to the journal of Delacroix on a weekly basis with written responses that will be shared with the entire class. Films and slide lectures will amplify the readings/responses and provide a historical and personal context for reflection and application to the students major. There will be lectures on the color theory and graphic focus of this leader in expressive 19th century art. Additionally, some of his musical influences such as Mozart, Chopin, etc., will be played and related to Delacroix's aesthetic views. The semester study will culminate with a term paper that will overview the essential ideas & insights found in this Delacroix seminar.

History of Entertainment Design

Course ID: AH304
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This course examines the evolution of entertainment as a human and cultural activity. It looks at all forms of human amusement and its various manifestations throughout history. It explores the multidisciplinary role of artists and designer in making of entertainment productions from a historical and contemporary perspective. In additional to traditional entertainment venues that include theatrical stage, theme park and other physical local expressions, the course will examine the evolution of entertainment technologies from the early days of film and television to the present. It will provide some perspective into the future trajectories of both traditional and technological processes involving entertainment, and those creatively involved in its making.

Wordly + Otherworldly Creatures

Course ID: AH305
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: AH114 OR AH115
Requirement: E
Course Description:
For centuries, earthly creatures, charmed animals and otherworldly beings conjured by artisans, magicians, folklorists, natural philosophers, and physicians, have inspired both wonder and delight as well as revulsion, alarm, and terror in the hearts and minds of otherwise thinking persons. Considering beasts and beings of all sorts, both earthly and divine, this course seeks to investigate the origin stories of such creatures and inquire as to what motivations compel an individual or society to conjure such creatures. From the Classical World to Medieval Scandinavia, from the Americas to Slavic Europe, this course explores how art and monstrosity intersected in the cultural imagination to both delightful and devastating effect. In consultation with a range of visual and literary primary materials, including the Great Chain of Being, the Malleus Maleficarum (the Witches Hammer), and Della Porta’s How We May Produce New and Strange Monsters, students will conduct close readings, originate research, formulate essays and create original artwork of their own in an effort to gain insight into earlier states of mind as well as open avenues into wholly new creations. All readings for the course will be in English, although international and graduate students may be asked to give additional reports on texts written in other languages.

History of Illustration

Course ID: AH331
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: LA104
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This course is an examination of the major artists and trends in the history of illustration. The course emphasizes the development and role of illustration as an art form. Major fields covered include posters, comics, animation, computer graphics, editorial and advertising illustration, and book and magazine illustration. Required for Illustration majors.

History of Animation

Course ID: AH332
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: LA104
Requirement: R
Course Description:
The course examines the development of animation from its inception through present-day manifestations in television, films, and the Internet. Major animators and key works are analyzed and discussed. Required for Animation majors.

Asian Art History

Course ID: AH335
Course Credits: 3
Requirement: E
Course Description:
An introductory examination of the arts of China, Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, India, and the Himalayas. This course uses the Asian collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Norton Simon Museum, and other public and private exhibition spaces for a close examination of the form and content of Asian artworks. The course will include lectures, guided readings, documentary resources, and required fieldwork.

History of Representational Painting

Course ID: AH337
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: LA104
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This course seeks to trace the sources of the Western representational tradition from the nineteenth century to the present day. A key concern of the class will be to define the very nature of realism as an artistic perception. The demise of the so-called avant-garde has opened up an enormous diversity of artistic approaches, many of which are figurative. The course will examine some of these recent developments. This course is required for Fine Arts majors.

History of Game Art

Course ID: AH338
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: LA104
Requirement: R
Course Description:
This course chronicles the history and evolution of game design while reflecting on its immediacy through the Internet and game culture trends. Students examine the social and artistic influences in computer-mediated communications, and consider game theory principles while examining the motive, strategy, competition, and psychology of the game.

Los Tres Grandes: Mexican Muralist Movement

Course ID: AH404
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: AH114 OR AH115, AH204 OR AH205 OR AH206 OR AH207 OR AH305
Requirement: E
Course Description:
Los Tres Grandes explores the Mexican Muralist movement of the 1920s from its beginnings under the post-Mexican Revolution government to its present-day influence on Chicanx and Street artists. Utilizing a curricular framework centered on Los Tres Grandes (the big three), Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, our studies will then expand to include further influential figures such as Frida Kahlo and Rufino Tamayo among others. Students will be required to demonstrate their understanding of the material through visual (art) projects, a formal writing assignment, and participation in class discussions. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category (AH100 series) and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance Worlds in Motion category

Traditional Arts of Western Africa

Course ID: AH405
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: AH114 OR AH115, AH204 OR AH205 OR AH206 OR AH207 OR AH305
Requirement: E
Course Description:
This course examines a diverse array of art created by different ethnic groups in West Africa from pre-colonial through the 19th century and beyond. Through the lens of both spiritual and cultural traditions, we will consider a wide range of styles and materials, and ask how meaning is derived from objects and practices, keeping in mind particular challenges that emerge when studying art that is both permanent and impermanent. The significance of oral traditions will be studied, as well as the roles of ancestor spirits, mythical creatures, divination and initiation rites, and how music, dance, and masking function in establishing power, status, political, and social conventions. Objects created exclusively for performative and ritual uses, art in service to royalty, sculpture, utilitarian objects, architecture, performance, and the body as subject and site of adornment will form the core of our studies. Materials studied will include metal, wood, textiles, mud, ivory, beads, bone, dung, and blood/bodily fluids. While important, this class does not intend to cover present-day political crises, border disputes, or changing social constructs in West Africa. This course is conducted with instructor led lecture, film, guided reading and discussions, student presentations based on independent research, and other exploratory exercises. A visit to the UCLA Fowler Museum is required for this class. Students will experience textile creation and the development of personal symbolism in a hands-on project. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category (AH100 series) and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance Worlds in Motion category (AH200/AH300 series).

Modern Visualities: 19th-20th Century Photography in South and East Asia

Course ID: AH406
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: AH114 OR AH115, AH204 OR AH205 OR AH206 OR AH207 OR AH305
Requirement: E
Course Description:
This course will examine the relationship between visuality and technology as expressed by photographers of the 19th- and 20th-centuries. Materials and readings for the course will focus on the roles and development of photography primarily in India, Afghanistan, China, and Japan, and the alterations it engendered in the perception and depiction of the world. We will examine the use of photography in the service of journalism and news reporting, ethnographic studies and geographical awareness, science, propaganda, tourism, entertainment, and of course, art. Beginning with Western photographers’ images of a distant “Orient,” this course will conclude with the uses of photography in contemporary Asian art, looking particularly at themes of national and personal identities as well as commentary on traditions. Students are required to do class readings and engage actively in class discussion, complete two papers, submit one individual project related to the course apparatus, and make a final presentation. Projects deriving from other time periods or regions are welcome, for example, photography from Imperial Russia or the Ottoman Empire. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category (AH100 series) and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance Worlds in Motion category (AH200/AH300 series).

Exiles in L.A.: Art, Architecture, Film of Wartime Émigrés

Course ID: AH407
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: AH114 OR AH115, AH204 OR AH205 OR AH206 OR AH207 OR AH305
Requirement: E
Course Description:
Los Angeles, not known for being a bastion of either culture or liberalism during the early twentieth century, was—for a time—both a cradle of high-modernism and a refuge from the charnel house of European fascism. Icons such as poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht, Marxist philosopher Theodor Adorno, noir filmmakers Fritz Lang and Billy Wilder, composers Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinski, novelists Thomas Mann and Aldous Huxley, and architects Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler, many of whom had fled the Nazis, made their homes in Los Angeles. In this course, we will examine the lives and major works of the many refugees and exiles who transformed LA’s intellectual and aesthetic culture in the 1940s, as well as look closely at three critical aspects of their enduring legacy. First, the transnational exchange of aesthetic and intellectual history between Europe and the United States; Second, the effects of fascism on aesthetics and its implications; and Third, the degree to which the creative output of European émigrés provided survival strategies in the wake of such genocidal and illiberal ideologies. What, in other words, can we glean from Brecht’s poetry, from Adorno’s “reflections from damaged life,” from Fritz Lang’s deeply expressionistic noir films, from Huxley’s Brave New World? Through the consumption of text and images representing this history students will create a project utilizing this aesthetic and intellectual history of art (and artists) as a means of strategizing survival in today’s climate. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category (AH100 series) and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance Worlds in Motion category (AH200/AH300 series).

Living Through History: American Culture Wars

Course ID: AH408
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: AH114 OR AH115, AH204 OR AH205 OR AH206 OR AH207 OR AH305
Requirement: E
Course Description:
Since 1954 when the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the people of the United States have been engaged in a series of “culture wars” concerned primarily with identity—particularly race and gender—and a grappling with its morally ambiguous past. This deep and alienating sense of polarization and clashing of identities—some voluntary and others forced upon us—has only intensified over the years, coming to an explosive climax in the chaotic and tragic years of 2020-21. Everything from the anti-mask movement and “cancel culture” to the fate of Confederate Statues and defunding the police falls under the rubric of a longstanding, and increasingly tribal culture war in the United States. In this course we will look at the broad historical context of the 1960s from which these battles emerged and trace them through the present. In doing so, we will pay close attention to the ways in which the expansion of rights, freedoms, and liberties for historically marginalized groups has elicited conservative reactions seeking to roll back those gains through an often sectarian vision of American culture and history. This course will focus on flashpoints or sites of contestation—Roe v. Wade, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the rise of “Alt-Right” groups such as the Proud Boys, recent controversies about “Big Tech” censorship, the fate of civil rights, Black Lives Matter protests, and the violent denouement of the Trump Administration. Students will produce written responses to the readings and also formulate a final project determining the role of art and the artist in meeting this particular historical moment. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category (AH100 series) and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance Worlds in Motion category (AH200/AH300 series).

Exhibition Design

Course ID: AH409
Course Credits: 3
Pre-Requisite: AH114 OR AH115, AH204 OR AH205 OR AH206 OR AH207 OR AH305
Requirement: E
Course Description:
This course will introduce students to current theoretical and real-world applications of exhibition design operating today in museums, galleries, and contemporary art spaces, both real and virtual. Through weekly in-person exploration of cultural sites in and around Orange County and Los Angeles, students will observe and critique aesthetic and practical decisions made by professional curators and exhibition designers, with particular emphases on structural layout, cultural themes, the curation and arrangement of objects, and how artworks interact with one another in outdoor and indoor spaces. In doing so, students will sharpen their perceptive skills, strengthen their discourse specific to the fields of art production, curation, collecting, and museum studies, and pursue theoretical examples of design brought to life within the rich artistic landscape of Southern California. Students produce written journal entries, participate in discussions, produce directed reading responses to museum catalogues, articles, and other didactic material, as well as participate in oral presentations and collaborative hands-on projects. Prerequisite: One course from Ancient Civilizations category (AH100 series) and one course from either Medieval Worlds or Renaissance Worlds in Motion category (AH200/AH300 series).