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Discovering Manhattan: Drawing and Painting in the Spirit of the Modern Art Pioneers

Semester and Year SP 2019
Course Number ARTS-UG1425
Section 001
Instructor Barnaby Ruhe
Days R
Time 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4
Level U



This workshop explores images of New York City as envisioned by various schools of modern art, including Ashcan, Bauhaus, Futurist, Dadaist, Pop, and High Tech, and by the artists of the modern period, including Sloan, Mondrian, Hopper, Marin, Brancusi, O'Keefe, Duchamp, Grooms, and Koons. While foraging in galleries, students create their own art works riffing on the masters; sketching in Times Square with the garrulous attitude of Reginald Marsh; drawing a skyscraper in an ecstatic John Marin breath; creating a Dadaist collage by rifling through bins with Arman and Duchamp. The workshop concludes with a collaborative mural project and a final paper analyzing various strategies of expression whereby modern artists discovered the meaning of Manhattan. Through a process of appropriation, imitation, and parody, students are thus encouraged to re-enact the process of "discovering Manhattan," to engage in a dialogue with the city, and thereby to discover their own artistic voices. Readings include E.B. White's ineffable  Here is New York , Al Ginsberg's outrageous "Howl," Robert Henri's  Art Spirit , as well as excerpts from Natalie Edgar's  The Club  (who met at the Cedar Tavern on 13th and University) anchored by Federico Garcia Lorca's Surrealist "Duende" from his “Poeta en Nueva York” lecture.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Arts Workshops (ARTS-UG)