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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail
Art and Understanding
Hosted by: Arnold Aronson

E-Seminar Description
Hosted by Arnold Aronson, professor of theater at Columbia University's School of the Arts in New York City, this seminar has gathered prestigious artitsts/theorists from Columbia: David Plante, Coco Fusco, Andrei Serban, Michael Kelly, Tom Kalin, Janet Wolff, Marc A. Meyer, Archie Rand, and James Schamus. Professor Aronson asks each of them to weigh in on the question "what is art?" Basing their answers specifically on their own personal work, these individuals engage questions of art and the artist. A course-long exercise that helps students measure their engagement with the material, and various media elements—from paintings to video work, from music to photographs—enhances the learning experience.

E-Seminar Length:3-5 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE

Interested in this
Go to the e-seminar now*.

Note: Columbia students, faculty, staff, and alumni will need to use their University Network ID (UNI) to access e-seminars.

E-Seminar Objectives | Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading |
Additional Information |Technical Requirements

E-Seminar Objectives
•    Present the thoughts, ideas, and works of influential contemporary artists/theorists.

•    Provide a more informed vocabulary about how to discuss art.

•    Introduce the Columbia University Analyzer through the seminar-related exercise.

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1. Introduction
2. Aesthetics
     What is Aesthetics?
     Is art separate from my everyday life and something only to be      appreciated in a museum?
     Is art a mirror of the world we live in?
3. The Artist
     What is an artist?
     What inspires an artist?
     What makes an artist great?
     Is the artist moral?
4. The Audience
     How does personal taste influence understanding art?
     Is it more important to understand a work of art than to decide
     how good it is?
     Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?
     Can a popular movie be art? How is it different from a painting in a      museum?
5. Art Today
     How do new cultures and new ideas change what is art?
     What has been the influence of technology on aesthetics?
     With all the new ideas, different mediums and different cultures, is
     there any way we can classify what art is?
6. Conclusion

Global Item
Seminar Long Activity

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Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
Arnold Aronson received a B.A. from Rutgers (1969), M.A. and Ph.D. from New York University (1975, 1977). He is author of American Avant-Garde Theatre: A History; Architect of Dreams: The Theatrical Vision of Joseph Urban, 2001; American Set Design, 1985; and The History and Theory of Environmental Scenography, 1981. Aronson served as the editor of Theatre Design and Technology (1978-88), produced the U.S. Exhibit at the 1995 Prague Quadrennial, and has served as President of the Jury in 1991 and 1999. His articles have appeared in The Cambridge History of American Theatre, Cambridge Guide to World Theatre, Cambridge Guide to American Theatre, Cambridge Companion to Chekhov, the Drama Review, American Theatre, Theatre Forum, Theatre Research International, the New York Times Book Review, etc. He served as Chair, Theatre Arts Division, Columbia, 1991-98, and prior to that he chaired the theatre departments at Hunter College and the University of Michigan. He has taught at University of Delaware, Cornell University, and the University of Virginia.

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Recommended Reading
(For a complete list, see the Resources section of the e-seminar)

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Additional Information
Who should take this course? Teachers, students and artists interested in art history, critical theory, and the history of the twentieth century; lifelong learners; citizens interested in cultural history and the reasons behind various artistic movements.

Reading assignments: There are no required reading assignments in this course, though our participants have recommended a number of books and other resources in the Conclusion of this course for those who wish to pursue the seminar topics further.

Taking the seminar: The content of this e-seminar is delivered entirely on the Internet. You may access this content and participate in discussions at any time during which the course is open. There are no set times in which you must be online.

This course includes the Columbia University Analyzer that offers users a means to measure their understanding in the course.

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Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later

MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later

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