Fine Arts | American Art & Globalization: New Approaches (Problems in Contemporary European and American Art
A647 | 10192 | Bowles

Problems in Contemporary European and American Art:

New global “contexts” are being sought for American art.  Is an ever-
more-detailed historical account sufficient or must we consider new
ways of understanding the historical accounts that scholars already
recognize?  What might a “polycultural” perspective on American
history look like?

This course combines theoretical approaches to globalization with a
historical study of the global circulation of art and artists.  How
can theories of the “black Atlantic,” permeable borderlands, trans-
American cultures, political solidarity with Asia, and the U.S.
relationship to the Caribbean complicate and enrich our
understanding of American art?

We will ask when globalization began and investigate alternatives to
the two predominant models of globalization, the clash of
civilizations versus the homogenizing McDonaldization of
corporatized culture. The first model assumes that communication and
exchange are impossible and the second, that culture travels in one
direction. Neither model provides a way to close the circle. Can the
global circulation of American culture establish dialog and
solidarity with cultures abroad?  Can cultural exchange occur
without exploitation?  We will also address the concerns of artists,
critics and curators regarding recent trends toward “neoexoticism”
at the proliferating number of international biennials and art fairs.