Survey of the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture I


This two-semester, team-taught course, required of all entering MA students, and PhD students who have not taken a course deemed comparable, traces major historical developments in the decorative and applied arts, design, and material culture from antiquity to the present. Weekly lectures familiarize students with significant forms, materials, sites, styles, designers, and craftsmen, illustrating ways that meaning can be recovered from objects through the study of materials, technology, style, iconography, patronage, use, and circulation. Supplementary small-group discussion seminars provide opportunities for closer analysis of selected objects, readings, and themes. At the end of the two-semester sequence, students will have a working visual and historical vocabulary of significant designed/manufactured objects and spaces from a wide range of civilizations and periods, and a better awareness of the areas they might pursue at Bard Graduate Center and beyond. 3 credits.