Through the study of images and objects, students engage in critical interrogations of the motivations, strategies, and social structures of cultural production over time and from across the world. Students in Professor Peggy Wang’s spring 2016 courses examined this concept recently using two different approaches.
In Power and Politics in Premodern China (ARTH 2710), students were introduced to calligraphic styles, primary documents on calligraphy, and its historical influence on Chinese painting. But, in order to fully understand why calligraphy is said to reveal a person’s inner virtue, students took part in its creation as an embodied experience. In a calligraphy and painting workshop for the course, students tried their hands at the most esteemed of traditional Chinese art forms and encountered first-hand the ways in which art connects inner character with outer form.
To think critically about the experiences generated through new media, students in the seminar Historicizing the Contemporary: Recent Topics in Contemporary Chinese Art (ARTH 3200) watched a 3-D film by contemporary artist Sun Xun titled Magician Party and Dead Crow (2013). In donning 3-D glasses, students explored what it means to construct a specific viewing experience and how this engages with the artist’s questioning of historical and artistic narratives in the film.