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Unit information: Modern Art in the USA 1900-1939 (Lecture Response Unit) in 2021/22

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Unit name Modern Art in the USA 1900-1939 (Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HART20005
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Ms. Tricha Passes
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History of Art (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will explore the emergence of Modern Art in the U.S.A. from 1900 to 1939 set against the shifting aesthetic, social and political concerns of the period. The Realism of the Ash Can School, Alfred Stieglitz’s Gallery ‘291’, the reception of the 1913 Armory Show, New York Dada, the Society of Independent Artists, Katherine Dreier’s Societe Anonyme, the Precisionists, Jazz Age Harlem, the impact of Surrealism, the Regionalists, the inauguration of MoMA and the Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration as well as the artists’ colony in New Mexico are all subjects that will be addressed. The development of film and photography plus the significant contribution brought to the U.S.A by European artists will also form part of the study alongside an examination of the Transatlantic influx of American artists to Paris such as Man Ray, Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis and Lee Miller.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

(1) articulate a good knowledge and understanding of Modern Art in the U.S.A in the period leading up to the Second World War;

(2) demonstrate an understanding of how of American identity impacted on its visual arts at the start of the Twentieth Century;

(3) analyse and evaluate visual sources in a variety of media

(4) select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate arguments regarding the shifting aesthetic, social and political concerns of the period.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

One essay of 2000 words (50%) [ILOs 1-4]

One timed assessment (50%) [ILOs 1-4]


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How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.