Topics in American Art: Philadelphia's Public Images

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ARTH 373 920
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Murals have long seduced the imagination of American artists and viewers. Rendered on a grand scale, murals address groups rather than individuals; cladding the walls and ceilings of courthouses, schools, lobbies, and private homes, they insert fine art into the flows and currents of daily life. This class uses the mural as a means to explore broader questions about nation, history, identity, and public space in American art from the nineteenth century through the present day. What are the politics of making art for display on a city building rather than inside a museum? How have artists used scale and architectural space to craft compelling narratives and monuments? Topics covered will include murals of the American Renaissance, the modern Mexican mural movement, architectural decoration, the New Deal art programs, and today’s community mural movement, among others. We will focus in particular on the rich history of mural making in Philadelphia, known around the world for its contemporary mural scene.

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