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ARTV330 Special Topic: 20th-Century American Art

Consideration of the development of art in the USA during "the American Century", when America became a global superpower in economics, technology, politics and culture.

A survey of art in the USA during the "American Century", when America became a dominant force in economics, technology, politics and culture.

This paper examines American art from the World's Columbian Exposition (1893) to the collapse of the World Trade Center against the context of the turbulent social and economic changes of the period. Looking both "high" and "low", we will examine a broad array of cultural production - painting, sculpture, public art, printed ephemera, motion pictures, the illustrated press, poetry, literature, expositions and exhibitions.

We will explore the various ways in which American artists have responded to unique aspects of the American experience and have sought to produce a distinctly American art. Among the issues to be considered are: national definition through art; the changing relation of American art to European culture; immigration; multiculturalism; art institutions; state patronage of the arts; American consumer culture; freedom of expression; and cultural democracy.

This paper will be 100% internally assessed.

Paper title Special Topic: 20th-Century American Art
Paper code ARTV330
Subject Art History and Visual Culture
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $868.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,656.70

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One 200-level ARTH, ARTV, HIST or VISC paper; or 54 points 200-level points.
Schedule C
Arts and Music
(i) May not be credited together with ARTH218, ARTH319, ARTH 411, ARTV230 or ARTV 430 with the same content.
Teaching staff
Associate Professor Erika Wolf
Course materials will be made available electronically.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • To develop students' knowledge of American art and cultural history.
  • To cultivate understanding of the specific critical issues relevant to the study of national cultures.
  • To provide students with a historical context for understanding contemporary developments in global culture.
  • To develop communication, research, and visual analysis skills.

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Wednesday 10:00-10:50 29, 31, 33, 37, 39, 41
T2 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 29, 31, 33, 37, 39, 41