Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 4.5
Hours: 4 lecture, 1.5 laboratory per week (66 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student will be able to identify and assess the dominant styles (Cubism, Surrealism, etc.) in modern art based on their impact twentieth-century culture.
  • A successful student will be able to develop a rationale for Pop Art using a methodology focusing on social and economic changes in twentieth-century America.


A study of art and architecture from Post-Impressionism to the present day, emphasizing the importance of social, economic, and political influences on the art of this period. This course is designed to relate contemporary artistic expression to modern thought. Lectures will be directed towards illustrating and interpreting the subjects listed in the course content. We will study painting, sculpture, architecture, conceptual art, environmental art, and modern digital media from across the world. A field trip will be taken to a museum.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Discuss the nature of emotional, social, and aesthetic influences affecting artists and their work
  2. Recognize specific influences on the development of Cubism and separate historical evidence from philosophical speculation
  3. Identify specific styles and why the works included under them have been so classified
  4. Assess the need to question stylistic categorizations and also the aesthetic judgments of critics
  5. Express an understanding of the underlying principles motivating all artistic expression
  6. Demonstrate awareness of how contributions of artists from different cultures and backgrounds contributed to the richness and diversity of modern art
  7. Evaluate the social, economic, and political influences in modern art
  8. Identify and assess the dominant styles (Cubism, Surrealism, etc.) in modern art based on their impact on 20th-century culture
  9. Develop a rationale for Pop Art using a methodology focusing on social and economic changes in 20th-century America

Course Content

  1. Painting and sculpture in Europe
    1. Early 19th century - transition in modern art
      1. Neoclassicism
      2. Romanticism
      3. Realism/Barbizon
    2. Later 19th century
      1. Impressionism/Post-Impressionism
      2. Neo-Impressionism
      3. Symbolism, The Nabis
      4. Art Nouveau
    3. Early 20th century
      1. Expressionism
      2. Fauvism
      3. Die Brucke
      4. Der Blaue Reiter
      5. Cubism
      6. Futurism
      7. Suprematism
      8. De Stijl
      9. Dada
      10. Surrealism
  2. Painting and sculpture in America
    1. Early 20th century/Realism
      1. Ashcan School
      2. Regionalism
      3. Socialism and the W.P.A.
    2. Mid-20th century
      1. Abstract Expressionism
      2. Pop Art
      3. Later Abstraction, Hard Edge Painting, Op Art
      4. Environmental and kinetic sculpture
      5. Minimal art
    3. Contemporary directions
      1. Happenings
      2. Process art
      3. Conceptual imagery
      4. Photography
      5. Contemporary art from China, Africa, India, and South America
      6. Post-Modernism in the 1980s
      7. Neo-Conceptualism in the 1980s and 1990s
      8. The 21st century: Queer Theory, Feminism, and Post Post-Modernism
      9. Where are we now?
  3. Architecture and city planning
    1. Romantic architecture of the 19th century, including Neoclassicism
    2. Architecture and engineering of the mid-19th century
    3. Expressionism and Art Nouveau
    4. The Chicago School - early skyscraper construction
    5. Formalism and the Bauhaus/The International Style
    6. Brutalism, Deconstruction, and high tech architecture: the 1950s to the 1980s
    7. Post-Modernism from the 1970s to the 1990s
    8. Neo-Modernism into the 21st century

Lab Content

Lab activities are provided for students to practice visual literacy and critical thinking skills through the synthesis of content from lecture, posted videos, and reading assignments through written responses to weekly prompts related to specific works of art and architecture. Students practice visual literacy skills through observation, description, analysis, and interpretation within the artwork's specific historical and cultural context using the language of visual analysis (formal elements and principles of design), technique, and genre. When appropriate students practice the application of theoretical frameworks (biography, Marxism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Modernism, Postmodernism, Post-colonialism, Structuralism, etc.) regarding each topic area.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. Textbooks, notebook; an adequate lecture hall that can be darkened to show projected images and films.
2. Access to the Artstor online image archive. Classroom must be internet connected and provided with digital projector, DVD player, and VHS player.
3. When taught via Foothill Global Access, on-going access to a computer with email software and capabilities, email address, and internet browsing software.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Two midterms, including slide identification, short answer, and essay questions
Final examination, including slide identification, short answer, and essay questions
A research paper (7-8 pages) presented in the MLA format using primary and secondary sources only
Three research activity assignments based on instructional library research modules
Weekly online discussion sessions
Weekly quizzes

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Cooperative learning exercises
Oral presentations
Electronic discussions/chat
Independent study
Field trips

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Arnason, Harvard, and Elizabeth C. Mansfield. History of Modern Art, 7th ed.. 2013.

Although this text is older than the "five years or newer" standard, it remains a seminal text for the study of modern and contemporary art.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Approximately one chapter of text (40-60 pages) per week
  2. Primary/secondary source reading from handouts and instructor-provided internet links
  3. 7-8 page paper prepared using the MLA format and researched using primary and secondary sources only
  4. Weekly online discussions involving written statements and responses
  5. Written essay responses (500+ words) on all three exams
  6. Written short answer responses (50-100 words) on all three exams


Art History