SPRING 2022 CORE-UA 720, Expressive Culture: Images—New York Avant-Garde
Prof. Silver (Art History) [Syllabus]
Avant-Garde New York, from the Armory Show to Andy Warhol. New York emerged as the center of avant-garde art making in the period just after the World War II, although the city had preparing for its modernist ascendancy since the early years of the 20th century. We focus on the artists—native New Yorkers and out-of-towners, Americans and foreign-born practitioners—who helped to shape and refine New York’s extraordinarily rich avant-garde “tradition.” We study significant painters, sculptors, photographers, architects, graphic artists and designers in the context in which their work came into being and flourished—museums, galleries, art schools, patrons, salons, neighborhoods, professional organizations, ad hoc associations, and artist “hangouts.” Topics include: the Stieglitz Circle and 291; The Armory Show (1913); Marcel Duchamp and New York Dada; the Paris/New York connection; the founding of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Guggenheim Museum; New York Street Photography; Avant-gardism in Washington Square: from the “Republic of Greenwich Village” to the birth of Abstract Expressionism and the Judson Dance Theater and Gallery; and the crossing-over of Pop Art, from Madison Avenue to 57th Street.
SPRING 2022 CORE-UA 725, Expressive Culture: Architecture
Prof. Maxwell (Institute of Fine Arts) [Syllabus]
Architecture and Meaning in the Middle Ages. The world watched helplessly on April 15, 2019, as the cathedral of Paris burned, feeling great sadness, even if we didn’t fully grasp the profound sorrow and loss shouldered by French citizens. How could we understand the full range of meanings this building has for them? It was the loss of a beautiful building, yes, but also the loss of a historical site of Christian worship and a monument of national pride and memory. Notre-Dame is, in many ways, a symbol of and for France. This tragic moment was a reminder of just how deeply buildings, even those of the distant past, continue to shape our understanding of ourselves today. To appreciate the meaning of pre-modern buildings we start with an introduction to the built environment of the Middle Ages, from the fall of Rome to the dawn of the Renaissance, becoming familiar with the architectural traditions of the great cathedrals, revered pilgrimage churches, and reclusive monasteries of western Europe, as well as castles, houses, and other civic structures. To understand the ways in which the built environment affected contemporary audiences and shaped medieval life, we also consider medieval culture, exploring the role of pilgrimage, courts and civil authority, religious reform and radicalism, crusading and social violence, and rising urbanism. Throughout, we reflect on how medieval architecture is still present with us today—whether through medieval revivals (New York’s St. Patrick or St. John the Divine), museum exhibitions (we visit the Met’s Cloisters Museum), or tragedies such as that of 2019.
SPRING 2022 CORE-UA 730, Expressive Culture: Sounds
Prof. Terry (Music) [Syllabus]
The rhythmic revolution that took place starting from Machito and his Afro-Cubans in the 1940’s changed the course of American music forever. It became an integral part of the American soundscape. In order to understand the evolution of Cuban music, we begin with Cuba’s social structures, complex immigration history, and cultural heritage. We cover the many genres of Cuban music that grew out of this mixture of history and social conditions, and an anatomy of the sounds that identify the various genres of Cuban music. Students become acquainted with these different musical styles and traditions, and develop an understanding of the role of beat, syncopation, and melodic counterpoint in Cuban music and attend performances of Cuban music in the NYC area when possible.
SPRING 2022 CORE-UA 730, Expressive Culture: Sounds
Prof. Daughtry (Music) [Syllabus]
Jazz in New York. Over the course of the past hundred years, jazz has been framed variously as an erotic display, a symbol of modernity, an essential expression of the African American soul, the sound of the Black avant-garde, “America’s classical music,” a form of musical cosmopolitanism, a decadent type of bourgeois entertainment, a virtuosic art form, a revolting noise, a radical performance of democracy and freedom, and elevator music. Jazz is, in other words, complicated—its densely textured sound world is entwined with a complex social history. Focusing largely on music made in New York City, the undisputed global capital of the genre, we listen to recordings, compare notes on the music, work with archival sources, meet musicians, attend concerts, screen films, and read a broad array of jazz scholarship and journalism. We dig deep into the history of jazz in the city, and also explore the strange and delightful new shapes jazz is taking in the 21st century.
SPRING 2022 CORE-UA 750, Expressive Culture: Film
Prof. Streible (Cinema Studies) [Syllabus]
A history of film from the medium’s beginnings in the 1890s through the early 1930s, a period often said to be synonymous with “silent movies.” But during those thirty-plus years, moviegoers experienced live musical accompaniment with most every screening. Our weekly screenings feature a combination of live music, newly recorded scores by NYU Screen Scoring students, and music from DVD releases. In roughly chronological order, we consider aspects of film history—aesthetic, technological, industrial, social, and cultural—with special concern for the music (along with other sounds) played with each film. We look at several national cinemas and the international circulation of films, and study: precursors of cinematic technology, the earliest forms of cinema, development of narrative film, battles to control screen content, emergence of classical film style, studio and star systems, movie exhibition, as well as nonfiction, experimental, and amateur categories of film. We also consider ways in which works of silent-era cinema have been continually reused and revisited, particularly as the 2020s have brought new access to rediscovered films and high-quality restorations of both classic movies and works that force us to reassess what we thought we knew about silent cinema.