In May I started my survey class with Saint Corona. When my next course starts in two weeks, this is how I will begin:
Welcome to AHIS 1214,
I want to welcome you to this class by sharing with you why I think art history is important. The cover of the June 15, 2020 Time Magazine features a painting by the artist Titus Kaphar. He created the image specifically for the issue devoted to a special report on the American protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th. (see below).
He wrote a piece to accompany the painting that can be found here: https://time.com/5847487/george-floyd-time-cover-titus-kaphar/
Kaphar is one of my favorite artists. Watch this TEDtalk to see why.
We will begin by looking at images of the Madonna and Child, the art historical tradition that Kaphar references in his time magazine cover. We will also be covering European art in the seventeenth century. I want to be very clear the sumptuous paintings we will see were made possible by the wealth generated by colonialism. One of our learning objectives is to make connections between the images and objects viewed in class and our contemporary visual culture.
Kaphar’s TEDTalk is powerful. I hope it inspires you to look closely and think critically in this course. Because yes, I believe art can amend history. We need it right now more than ever.