Visualizing Art History: AHi 3663 Contemporary Art, Spring 2018
Visualizing Art History presents the results of an experimental assignment completed by University of Oklahoma students enrolled in AHi 3663 Contemporary Art with Assistant Professor of Art History Robert Bailey during the spring of 2018. In addition to studying how art became contemporary in various regions across the globe and how that art engages with both large-scale historical processes and small-scale changes in everyday life, these students took on the added task of studying how certain art historians have investigated the use of visual as opposed to linguistic means to present the knowledge that they produce. They then collaborated on projects that inhabit visual formats to present aspects of what they learned about the history of contemporary art.
What you see in Visualizing Art History are not artworks but works of art history. Replete with topics, theses, arguments, counterarguments, evidence, and conclusions, these projects are equivalent to the research papers that accumulate on a professor’s desk at the end of a semester. The crucial difference is that you see rather than read these essays because they visualize art history in two distinct senses. Each creates knowledge-bearing opportunities for art historians beyond what their usual stress on written or spoken text affords. First, the students seized possibilities open to thinking when emphasis is placed on vision as a medium for conveying knowledge. Second, they present knowledge within a museum, thus enhancing the public visibility of what art historians think and make.