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Prof. David Getsy, Terra Visiting Professor 2020/21


The Terra Visiting Professor at the John-F.-Kennedy Institute David Getsy (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) offers the following courses on American Art in the winter term 2020/21: 

Objects, Agents, and Audiences: Sculpture and its Expansions in the United States from the 1950s to 1990s (BA Course)

Wednesdays 10 a.m. – noon, Kennedy Institute (Lansstr. 7-9, 14195 Berlin) room 319; course number 32101, first session on November 4, 2020.

The second half of the twentieth century saw a fundamental reorganization of the medium of sculpture, and this course will chart its major developments. From the 1950s onward, sculptors in the United States became preoccupied with their work’s relationship to everyday objects, industrial products, mass consumer goods, and the human body. Sculptural representation was left behind as abstraction, assemblage, objecthood, and dematerialization took hold, and we will examine sculptors’ restless attempts at greater degrees of relation to everyday things, institutional contexts, and human bodies. Artists were energized by how sculpture could expansively incorporate architecture, performance, and the lived body; but they also prophesized its disintegration and obsolescence. Pushed to its limits, sculpture came to occupy a central role in American art theory, and it became an analogy for debates about gender, power, history, and commodification. This course will examine the ways in which these contestations of the sculptural object registered important cultural and intellectual shifts in American art and culture across these decades. Please register at: culture@jfki.fu-berlin.de with your name, matriculation number, study program, home university (if applicable), zedat email address or email address of home university, and type of exchange program (if applicable). Deadline for registration is October 28, 2020. Self-enrollment on Campus Management is not possible for this course, thus, please register here.

Street Actions: Public Performance Art and the City of New York in the 1970s and 1980s (MA Course)

Wednesdays 2 – 4 p.m., Kennedy Institute (Lansstr. 7-9, 14195 Berlin) room 319; course number 32115, first session on November 4, 2020.

This seminar will examine how New York City's urban spaces enabled the proliferation of performance art in the 1970s and 1980s. The tumultuous shifts in the economic landscape of New York City facilitated new modes of non-commercial artistic practices that turned away from the commodified object and toward performance, event, and action. We will study the ways in which artists created disruptive public tactics, urban interventions, infiltrations of institutions, and public protests. Emphasis will be placed on performance art at public sites, often unauthorized and unsanctioned. A central question will be how artists actively sought unexpecting audiences and new locations for performance in order to contest mainstream narratives of race, sexuality, and/or gender. Case studies will include Adrian Piper, Scott Burton, Betsy Damon, Tehching Hsieh, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Stephen Varble, Pope.L, Papo Colo, Tseng Kwong Chi, Lorraine O’Grady, and ACT UP. From eroticism to activism, performance art interacted with the city’s urban geography, contested zones, and infrastructure. We will examine how performance artists in these decades made the street the stage and confronted new audiences. Please register at: culture@jfki.fu-berlin.de with your name, matriculation number, study program, home university (if applicable), zedat email address or email address of home university, and type of exchange program (if applicable). Deadline for registration is October 28, 2020. Self-enrollment on Campus Management is not possible for this course, thus, please register here.