Art history

The Golden State: Art in California, 1945-1981

Module code: V4159
Level 6
30 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay, Coursework

This module explores the art and visual culture produced in California between 1945 and 1981. It considers how a regionally specific cultural identity was formed through dialogue with other centres of cultural production, namely New York, as well as shaped by economic, social, historical and geo-political factors unique to the region. These include the state’s border with Mexico, its location on the Pacific rim, and its climate and landscape. The module will also pay close attention to the role played by cultural and educational institutions in enabling, supporting and promoting cultural activity.

You will be introduced to a wide variety of media, including painting, sculpture, assemblage, collage, architecture, murals, film, performance and photography. We will explore how these cultural forms negotiated gender, sexual, racial and class politics and contributed to activist groups such as second wave and radical feminism, the anti-Vietnam movement, the ecological movement, the civil rights movement, the Black Panthers, gay and lesbian liberation, and the new left.