Accessibility statement

Art in the USA: 1945-1975 - HOA00058I

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. James Boaden
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19
    • See module specification for other years: 2020-21

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2018-19

Module aims

This module aims to give a broad grounding in the development of artistic practice in the USA during the mid Twentieth Century. Diverse ideas developed significantly in this period (such as displaying process, making work in the museum or gallery, addressing the role of the spectator in the experience of an art work, assigning manufacture of works to people who are not the artist, the artist as mass-media celebrity) have influenced contemporary artistic practices right across the globe: this module will introduce these ideas within a critical framework.

Students will develop skills in academic writing, where they will be demanded to address a clearly demarcated historical period - bringing to bear aspects of social history on the works they are looking at, and a national context - which they will be expected to address in its regional, racial, and sexual diversity.

Students will develop skills in class discussion, both presenting clearly and listening carefully.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should have acquired:

  • A broad working knowledge of major questions that are raised by the art works produced in the USA between 1945 and 1975.
  • A broad knowledge of the social context in which the works studied were produced.
  • A broad understanding of the debates within art criticism from the period and the development of artists' writing in this context.
  • The skill to choose an appropriate artwork in order to make a clear and concise argument in a brief essay.
  • The skill to write clearly and concisely about complex ideas.
  • To articulate their own position on the topics we have discussed in the seminar and locate those opinions within the critical literature that we have read in class.


Task Length % of module mark Group
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Seminar Oral Performance
N/A 10 A
University - closed examination
Art in the USA: 1945-1975
2 hours 90 A
Art in the USA: 1945-1975
N/A 90 B
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Seminar Oral Performance
N/A 10 B

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

In the tables given here, Group A tasks are assessed when the module is taught in the Autumn term, and Group B tasks are assessed when the module is taught in the Spring term.


Task Length % of module mark Group
University - closed examination
Art in the USA: 1945-1975
2 hours 90 A
Art in the USA: 1945-1975
N/A 90 B

Module feedback

Feedback on formative essay within one week.

Feedback on summative exams within six weeks.

Indicative reading

  • David Joselit, American Art since 1945, Thames and Hudson, 2003
  • Thomas Crow, The Rise of the Sixties, Oxford, 1996
  • Clement Greenberg, Art and Culture, Beacon, 1961
  • John Cage, Silence, Wesleyan, 1994
  • Gregory Battcock, Minimalism, California, 1995
  • Steven Maddoff, Pop Art: A Critical History, California, 1997
  • Germano Celant et al, When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013, Prada, 2013
  • Jens Hoffman, When Attitudes Became Form Form Become Attitudes, San Francisco, CCA Wattis, 2013
  • James Meyer, Minimalism, Yale, 2004
  • Kellie Jones, Eye Minded, Duke, 2011
  • Elisabeth Sussman, Eva Hesse, Tate, 2002
  • Renate Petzinger et al, Eva Hesse Catalogue Raisonne, Yale, 2006
  • Hal Foster et al, Richard Serra: Early Work, David Zwirner, 2014
  • Jeffrey Weiss et al, Robert Morris: Object Sculpture, Yale 2014
  • Kirk Varneddoe, Jasper Johns: A Retrospective, MoMA, 2006
  • Brandon Joseph ed, Robert Rauschenberg, MIT Press, 2003
  • Kevin Hatch, Looking for Bruce Conner, MIT Press, 2012
  • Jo Applin, Eccentric Objects, Yale, 2012

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

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