Rites of Passage into Contemporary Art Practice (ARTS-UG 1420)

Modern art has been a balancing act between control and letting go. This course focuses on the psychological interface between the two, the “liminal” zone. We will survey modern artists’ techniques for tapping sources of creativity, including Dada collagists’ free-associations; Surrealists’ automatic writing, doodles, and “cadavres exquises”; and Abstract Expressionists’ embrace of chaos. We will engage in simple exercises: doodling, speed drawing, painting an abstract mural as a group, keeping a liminal journal, collaging, and exploring ritualistic techniques. We will follow up with discussions, take a trip to the Met to dialogue with an African oracle sculpture,and conclude the course reexamining modern art in light of the inner journey threshold drama each of us has taken during the course. Readings include van Gennep’s Rites of Passage, Chipp’s Theories of Modern Art, R.D. Laing, Federico Garcia Lorca on duende, Victor Turner on liminal, Mircea Eliade on Shamanism Techniques of Ecstasy, James Elkins on alchemy and art, and Frida Kahlo’s journal.

Arts Workshops (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 14 Weeks

Sections (Fall 2024)

ARTS-UG 1420-000 (16715)
09/03/2024 – 12/12/2024 Thu
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (Late afternoon)
at Washington Square
Instructed by Ruhe, Barnaby