Introduction to the History of Art: Asian Art and Culture
This introductory course explores the art of India, China, Japan, and Korea from prehistory to the present. We consider major works and monuments from all four regions. Themes include the representation of nature and the body, the intersection of art with spirituality and politics, and everything from elite to consumer culture. All students welcome, including those who have no previous experience with either art history or the study of Asian art. This class makes frequent visits to Yale University Art Gallery.
Time in Chinese Art
This class explores the theme of “time” in Chinese art from the traditional to the contemporary period. Drawing upon scholarship on Chinese philosophical understanding of time and clockworks, this course explores how art made manifest notions of the future, past, and present, the passage of time, ksana, aeons, eternity and deadlines. This class also investigates manipulations of time—how the unique format, artistic ideas and medium and materials of Chinese art helped to pause, rewind, compress and shorten time. Observing such temporalities, we analyze narrative murals and handscrolls, “this life” v. afterlife in funeral art, paintings of immortality, the significance of bronze corrosion in antiquarianism, uses of the past in traditional Chinese painting and contemporary art, the future and agelessness in movies and digital art, the materiality and nostalgia of old photography and time-based artworks, as well as the history of People’s Republic of China as presented at the Tian’anmen Square.
Gender and Sexuality in Asian Art
This class uses art to investigate the stereotypes of, and expectations for, gender in China, Japan, and Korea, spanning from the modern to the contemporary. It explores relationships between masculinity, femininity, homosexuality, and androgyny, as well as the politics and economy of these identities in East Asia. Together, we analyze how artworks—painting, performance, manga, movies, fashion, illustration, and sculpture—have made manifest genders and helped to enact, modify, and conceal one’s sexuality. It also probes how representations of social spaces and leisure activities reinforce or complicate gender stereotypes and expectations. This class is divided into four parts. The first explores methodological frameworks and theories for parsing gender and sexuality in East Asia. The second focuses on masculinity, studying the representations, burdens and desires of heroes, leaders, and male celebrities. The third focuses on femininity, exploring the production and consumption of images of beautiful women, along with the economy and politics of being attractive and seductive in East Asia. While the second and third parts examine the conventional dichotomy of the two sexes, the fourth balances this account by focusing on the imageries of homosexuality and transgender.