2021-2022 Catalog

ARTH 391 Curatorial Seminar in Art History

A seminar focusing on a topic in the history of art taught by a practicing curator at a Los Angeles cultural institution. Course topic(s) change annually and will include off-campus hands-on work within the context of curatorial and exhibition practices. Course may be repeated for credit with a different topic.

The Art of Describing: 17th- century Dutch Paintings and Drawings at the Getty Museum (2 units)

Taught on site at the Getty Museum every other Friday, this class fosters a close study of 17th-century Dutch drawings and paintings. Examining the Getty’s collection of Dutch art through the lens of Svetlana Alpers’ groundbreaking book, The Art of Describing, this class explores the craft of representation and questions the narrative of the “Dutch Golden Age.”

East Asian Gardens: China, Japan, Korea—and California? (4 units)

What kinds of gardens have existed in East Asia, and what sorts of functions have they fulfilled? How have they engaged with broader visions of the cosmos, and how have they expressed such understandings? What happens to such gardens when they are translated into a cultural context very different from that in which they emerged? To answer these questions, this course, taught by a curator at the Huntington Library, will take a broad view of the history of East Asian garden-making, examining images, texts, films, and gardens from the 2nd century BCE to the present. We will investigate hunting parks constructed as microcosms of empires, holey rocks that inspired dream-journeys to immortal realms, Buddhist paradises accessible in this-worldly estates, and textual fantasies of gardens of the mind. Taking advantage of the Chinese and Japanese Gardens at the Huntington, this course will also explore how such concepts have been put into practice in the physical spaces of these gardens, where the course will be held each week. Moreover, we shall trace the very different histories of these two gardens in order to gain insights into California's shifting relationship to East Asia over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In taking this course, students will ultimately gain an understanding of the diversity of garden forms in East Asia; familiarity with key concepts used in garden-making; practice with the skills of visual and spatial analysis, as well as cultural and historical contextualization, necessary to discuss gardens meaningfully; and experience with curatorial strategies for making East Asian gardens accessible to diverse audiences. The final project will involve developing an interpretive program for one section of the Huntington’s gardens. This course meets on Friday, at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical GardensAdditional Core Requirement Met: Regional Focus and Pre-1800.

TRUE GRIT: American Prints from 1900 to 1950 (2 units)

This seminar engages the exhibition and the J. Paul Getty Museum: "True Grit: American Prints from 1900 to 1950" which opens on October 15, 2019.  This exhibition, drawn from local museums and a private collection in Los Angeles, provides a vibrant survey of early twentieth-century American printmaking. Compelling depictions by Peggy Bacon, George Bellows, Mabel Dwight, Edward Hopper, Martin Lewis, Kyra Markham, and John Sloan convey a broad view of American culture that include dance halls and boxing rings, skyscrapers and subways, parks and tenement apartments. Using innovative printmaking techniques, these American artists captured the gritty world around them and came to terms with modern life. This seminar will examine the nature of American printmaking in the early twentieth century. In addition to working with the Getty curator in planning the installation of the exhibition itself, topics will include evolving printmaking techniques and the evolution of a uniquely American subject matter.


2 or 4 units


Any 100- or 200-level Art History course

Core Requirements Met

  • Fine Arts