Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Descriptions

GLS 560: Art in Social Science Perspective

Instructor: John Rice

Dr. Rice has provided a copy of the syllabus for his spring 2006 offering of this course. Click on the above link for more details about this course.

Art both organizes and is organized by social interaction. This course examines this dialectical relationship between art and society, focusing upon the complex networks of social relationships--among artists, critics, aestheticians, patrons, and institutions--which powerfully influence the ways in which art is performed, exhibited, evaluated, and supported.

Art, of whatever historical epoch or medium (and in this course, the term art will subsume various media, and so-called "high" and "popular" arts), is the product and the basis of extensive social networks; it both organizes and is organized by social interaction. The course will examine this dialectic between art and society, focusing upon the social relationships among and between artists, critics, aestheticians, patrons, and institutions. We will examine the systems by which art is produced, distributed, and aesthetically defined, as well as what some see as the ideological messages it contains and purposes it serves. Each of these factors contributes to the ways in which art is performed, exhibited, evaluated, and supported. The goal in recognizing these contributions is to provide a fuller and more nuanced understanding of works of art, rather than to reduce those works to no more than the social forces which shape its character.

Last Update: February 6, 2012