Laura Ruby

ART 400v (WI)
The History of Contemporary Sculpture
Binoculars, 1991 -- Claes Oldenburg

I. The Nature of Sculpture -- Form, Function, Content, Context

II. Rodin and the Representational Tradition
III. Brancusi and Abstraction
IV. Constructivism and Modernism as a Series of Erasures
V. Duchamp and Postmodern Pluralism
VI. Postmodern Pluralism
VII. Environmental Commentary
VIII. Sculptural Environments/Tableau
IX. Time-Based Commentary and the Artist's Body in the World
X. Virtually Wired Gestures, Actions, Events
XI. Artists
Readings and Writings

COURSE DESCRIPTION -- development of contemporary 20th century sculpture from stylistic, contextual and theoretical standpoints with references to the influences of various historical Western and Asian traditions.
COURSE OBJECTIVES --to foster an appreciation and understanding of contemporary Western sculpture, in relationship to technological innovation and the historical and cultural factors affecting its development.
PREREQUISITES --172 or consent of instructor
lectures and readings will complement each other
*Sculpture in the Age of Doubt -- Thomas McEvilley (required text)
*Art on the Edge and Over -- Linda Weintraub (selected handouts or optional text)
*Beyond Modern Sculpture -- Jack Burnham (selected handouts)
*Sculpture Since 1945 -- Andrew Causey (selected handouts)
*Contemporary Public Sculpture -- Harriet Senie (selected handouts)
*other handouts
-What is represented?
-What kinds of relationships are shown?
-What elements seem particularly significant?
-What associations come to mind?
-How is the artwork composed?
-How do all of the above components function in relation to one another?
- Look at the beginning and end of the reading to see if the author summarizes the main point(s).
- Make a list of terms/ideas that are not clear.
- Include one question to ask of the class. This question should arise from the readings or from the readings in conjunction with previous discussions. Email those questions to
Journal writings will be both visual and verbal. What argument is made and how is it supported (what visual, historical, and theoretical information does the author examine)? Include your own assessment of these arguments. Your statement should include an artwork example (xeroxed or scanned) that supports your position for the GREAT DEBATE. Each paper should include new thoughts generated from the readings at hand. You may refer back to earlier readings or discussions and how they bear on your current thoughts. Do not merely recapitulate the readings. Each paper should be typed double-spaced and stamped on the discussion day. (Following the 2nd journal writing, these papers may be written in partnership with another classmate.)
The topics of each discussion will be approached through a selection of readings. Students are expected to come fully prepared for active and informed participation in the discussions. Be prepared to share
your writing in small group discussions, and in the larger class format.
2 EXAMS -- 15% and 15% of the grade (part in-class, part take-home)
The first exam will be based on the topics raised in the first half of the course.
The second exam will be based on the topics raised in the second half of the course.
The GREAT DEBATE issues and other topics in sculpture will be applied to a contemporary work or body of an artist's work.
ARCHIVE -- 5% of the grade
This archive will be a collection of 20 contemporary sculpture images (presented on unlined 8 1/2 x 11 paper in a manila envelope or secured in a folder -- this archive might also presented in video format).


This includes: attendance, punctuality, class interaction in great debates, emailing and office visit. This course requires full attendance. Visual concepts are often only understood after sharing, comparing, questioning, revising and synthesizing, as well as LISTENING. A tardy or absent student diminishes the overall quality of the class. Three tardies will equal one unexcused absence. Three unexcused absences will lower the final grade.
Please turn off all cell phones, beepers and pagers before entering the classroom.

I. Nature of Sculpture--A. form, B. function, C. content, D. context BACK TO TOP


WEEK 1 -- Form
1A *Sculpture Since 1945 -- Causey
1B *Sculpture...Doubt -- McEvilley, ch. 2. to p. 42
1C *Value in an Age of Chaos -- McEvilley
GREAT DEBATE -- modern vs. postmodern artworks

A. Form
1. Types of sculptural form--realistic--abstract--nonobjective
a. visual elements and principles of design--emphasis on time
2. Sculpture as artifact or object--existing in the world
a. portable
b. pedestal/fixed
1) within museum or gallery pedestal/
2) notion of distance/physical
3) isolation=psychological distance/apartness
4) Rodin comments
5) Brancusi ornate geometric pedestals
c. place-specific site-based pedestal-less
d. temporary and or moveable
1) installation
2) performance time-based
3. Sculpture as functional
a. as shamanistic/religious
b. as commemorative/memorial/monumental/portrait
c. as commodity
d. as non-commodity--environmental art/installations/performances, etc., fixed to site or temporary in nature
4. Sculpture as process--sculpture as a primary activity
a. methodology
1) perceptual
2) experiential
3) conceptual (& modelmaking and drawings)
4) style
b. media/matter/physical nature/technique applied to matter
1) modeling
2) carving
3) casting
4) assembling--constructing--linking, bringing together of parts
5) selection/manipulation/exploitation/technical innovation
6) attention to site
5. Sculpture as an evolution of form -- the Modern tradition
a. classical abstraction --Brancusi
b. constructivism -- Gabo, Pevsner, Tatlin, Lipchitz
c. expressionism (corresponds to abstract expressionist painting) -- Cesar, Stankiewicz, Chamberlain, Voulkos
d. minimalism -- sculpture as a series of erasures -- Judd, LeWitt, Flavin
e. conceptualism -- sculpture as idea -- Kosuth, Kawara, Buren
B. Function

WEEK 2 -- Function, Content, Context

C. Content
D. Context
The Thinker, 1879-89 -- Auguste Rodin
3-Piece Reclining Figure #1, 1961-2 -- Henry Moore

II. Rodin and the representational tradition BACK TO TOP

WEEK 2/3 -- Rodin and the Representational Tradition
2A *The New Sculpture" -- Causey
2B *Modernism and Minimalism -- Causey
2C Rodin -- Burnham
2D Arp, Moore, Hepworth --Burnham

A. Romanticism and the Nineteenth Century
B. heroics--the public monument and social realism
C. the figurative tradition--non-western influences (Asia, Africa, the Pacific)
D. the figurative tradition --Lachaise, Gonzalez, (Boccioni), Lipchitz, Trova, Picasso, Longo
E. attention to space and penetration of it --Moore, Hepworth, Giacometti
F. superrealism (corresponds to photorealism) --Hanson, deAndrea, Gallo, Segal, deStabler
Newborn, 1915 -- Constantin Brancusi

III. Brancusi and abstraction BACK TO TOP

WEEK 3 -- Brancusi and the Classical Abstraction Tradition
3A Brancusi (1) -- Burnham
3B Brancusi (2) -- Burnham

A. classical abstraction and modernism--Arp, Dubuffet, Noguchi, D. Smith, Caro, T. Smith, Liberman, diSuvero, Sugarman, Snellson
B. Voulkos
Cubi XVII, 1963 -- David Smith

IV. Constructivism and modernism as a series of erasures BACK TO TOP

WEEK 3/4 -- Constructivism and Modernism as a Series of Erasures
4A The Constructivists -- Burnham
4B *Formalism:The Weary Vocabulary -- Burnham
4C Kineticism: The Unrequited Art
4D Minimalism -- Burnham
4E On Kawara -- Weintraub
GREAT DEBATE -- the form, function, content and context of sculpture (Campus Art)

A. geometric/architectonic definition in space--Gabo, Pevsner, Tatlin, Moholy-Nagy, D. Smith, Caro, T. Smith, Liberman, diSuvero
B. accretion, accumulation, assemblage--Nevelson
Lobster Trap and Fish Tail, 1939 -- Alexander Calder
C. kineticism and movement of 3-d work in time--(Duchamp), Calder, Rickey, Bertoia, Tinguely, Haacke
D. minimalism--Judd, LeWitt, Bell, Andre, Serra, Irwin, Flavin (& light phenomena)
E. conceptualism--Kosuth, (Kawara), Buren, deMaria
Fountain, 1917 -- Marcel Duchamp

V. Duchamp and postmodern pluralism BACK TO TOP

WEEK 4/5 -- Duchamp and Postmodern Pluralism
5A *Duchamp-Sculpture...Doubt -- ch. 3
5B *The Transformed Object -- Ratcliff
GREAT DEBATE -- "of something" vs. an object



WEEK 5 -- Duchamp and Klein, Johns and Rauschenberg
5C *Louise Bourgeois -- ch. 15
5D Gabo...Klein -- Burnham
5E *Meret Oppenheim -- ch. 18
5F *Sculpture and the Everyday -- Causey
GREAT DEBATE -- aesthetic canon vs. pluralist values

A. questioner--dada--Man Ray, Schwitters (Merzbau), Cornell
1. Niki de St. Phalle, Cesar (Baldoccini), Bourgeois (ch. 15), Buck, Borofsky, Arneson
B. art coefficient
C. Readymades
Object (Le Dejeuner en Fourrure), 1936 -- Meret Oppenheim
D. Yves Klein, Meret Oppenheim (ch.18), Manzoni
Monogram, 1955 -- Robert Rauchenberg
E. Johns, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Marisol, Koons, Vaisman
Spiral Jetty, 1970 -- Robert Smithson
Running Fence, 1972-6 -- Christo

VI. Postmodern pluralism BACK TO TOP

WEEK 6 -- Postmodern Pluralism
6A *Sculpture...Doubt -- ch. 2
6B *Memorials and Monuments Reconsidered -- Senie
6C *Interplay in Expanded Fields -- Ruby
6D Dennis Oppenheim -- ch. 5
(GREAT DEBATE -- universal vs. site-specific)
PRESENTATIONS -- selection of artworks


1st EXAM

Boite-enValise, 1941 -- Duchamp
Boite-enValise, 1941 -- Duchamp (detail)

VII. Environmental commentary BACK TO TOP

WEEK 7 -- Environmental Commentary
7A *Public Spaces -- Causey



WEEK 8/9 -- Contemporary Public Art

A. public art -- Smithson, Heiser, deMaria, Christo, Morris, Andre, Serra, Irwin, Dennis Oppenheim (ch. 5), Sonfist
B. contemporary public art -- Sian Armajani, Miss, Aycock, Holt, Chin (ch. 16), Irwin, Serra, Tacha, Simonds, Long, Matta-Clark, George Trakas, SITE, Charles Moore, Frank Gehry, Maya Lin, Douglas Hollis, Ned Smyth, Jackie Ferrara, Andrea Blum
"Subway" (from Ruckus Manhattan), 1976-- Red Grooms

VIII. Sculptural environments/tableau BACK TO TOP

WEEK 10/11 -- Sculptural Environments/Tableau
8A Beuys and Germany -- Causey
8B Joseph Beuys -- Weintraub
8C David Hammons -- Weintraub
8D Christian Boltanski -- Weintraub
8E Lucas Samaras -- ch. 7
GREAT DEBATE -- permanent vs. temporary



WEEK 12/13 -- Contemporary Installation Sculpture

A. temporary works -- Oldenburg, Kienholz, Grooms, Hesse, Beuys
B. time-based commentary--Terrell, Irwin, Nancy Graves, Butterfield, Antoni, Paik, Viola
Fox Games, 1989 -- Sandy Skoglund
Mining the Museum, 1992 -- Fred Wilson
China Night, 1985 -- Terry Allen
C. contemporary installation sculpture--Samaras (ch. 7), Nauman, Abromovic (ch. 10), Mario Merz, Shapiro, Ericson & Ziegler, Boltanski, Hammons, Chicago, Pfaff, Skoglund, Fred Martin, Terry Allen

IX. Time-based commentary and the artist's body in the world BACK TO TOP

WEEK 13 -- Time-based Commentary and the Artist's Body in the World
9A Fluxis & happenings
9B Vito Acconci -- Weintraub
9C Carolee Schneemann--Weintraub
9D Marina Abramovic -- ch. 10
9E Gilbert & George -- Weintraub
9F James Luna -- Weintraub



WEEK 14 -- Contemporary Performances and Body Processes

A. tableau vivant/happenings--Kaprow, Oldenburg, Fluxus
I Like America and America Likes Me, 1974 -- Joseph Beuys
Hand/Heart for Ana Mendieta, 1986 -- Carolee Schneeman
B. contemporary performances/body processes--Beuys, Schneeman, L. Anderson, Gilbert & George, Acconci, Burden, Finley, Abromovic (ch. 10), Betsy Damon

X. Virtually wired gestures, actions, events BACK TO TOP

WEEK 15 -- Virtually Wired Gestures, Actions, Events
10A Postcolonial Media Theory -- Fernandez



WEEK 16 -- 2nd EXAM



Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 1997 -- Frank Gehry


Abromovic, Marina
Acconci, Vito
Anderson, Laurie
Andre, Carl
Antoni, Janine
Armajani, Sian
Arneson, Robert
Arp, Jean
Aycock, Alice
Baldoccini, Cesar
Bell, Larry
BenTre, Howard
Berlant, Tony
Bertoia, Harry
Beuys, Joseph
Blum, Andrea
Boccioni, Umberto
Bochner, Mel
Boltanski, Christian
Borofsky, Jonathan
Bourgeois, Louise
Brancusi, Constantin
Broodthaers, Marcel
Buck, John
Burden, Chris
Buren, Daniel
Butterfield, Deborah
Calder, Alexander
Caro, Anthony
Chamberlain, John
Chicago, Judy
Chin, Mel
Conner, Bruce
Cornell, Joseph
Cragg, Tony
Croak, James
Damon, Betsy
de St. Phalle, Niki
DeAndrea, John
DeStabler, Stephen
DiSuvero, Mark
Drew, Leonard
Dubuffet, Jean
Duchamp, Marcel
Ericson, Kate/Ziegler, Mel
Ferrara, Jackie
Finley, Karen
Flavin, Dan
Gabo, Naum
Gallo, Frank
Gehry, Frank
Giacometti, Alberto
Gilbert & George
Goldsworthy, Andy
Gonzalez, Julio
Gormley, Antony
Graves, Nancy
Grooms, Red
Guerilla Girls
Haacke, Hans
Hammons, David
Hanson, Duane
Harrison, Helen & Newton
Heiser, Michael
Hepworth, Barbara
Hesse, Eva
Hollis, Douglas
Holt, Nancy
Irwin, Robert
Johns, Jasper
Judd, Donald
Kapoor, Anish
Kaprow, Alan
Kawara, On
Kienholz, Ed
Klein, Yves
Koons, Jeff
Kosuth, Joseph
Kounellis, Jannis
Lachaise, Gaston
Laib, Wolfgang
LeWitt, Sol
Liberman, Alexander
Lin, Maya
Lipchitz, Jacques
Long, Richard
Longo, Robert
Man Ray
Manzoni, Piero
Matta-Clark, Gordon
Merg, Gerhard
Merz, Mario
Miss, Mary
Moholy-Nagy, Laszlo
Moore, Charles
Moore, Henry
Morris, Robert
Nauman, Bruce
Nevelson, Louise
Noguchi, Isamu
Oldenburg, Claes
Oppenheim, Dennis
Oppenheim, Meret
Orr, Eric
Paik, Nam June
Pevsner, Antoine
Pfaff, Judy
Picasso, Pablo
Poirier, Ann & Patrick
Rauschenberg, Robert
Rickey, George
Rodin, Auguste
Samaras, Lucas
Schneeman, Carolee
Schwitters, Kurt
Segal, George
Serra, Richard
Shapiro, Joel
Simonds, Charles
Smith, David
Smith, Tony
Smithson, Robert
Smyth, Ned
Snellson, Kenneth
Soldner, Paul
Sonfist, Alan
Stackhouse, Robert
Stankiewicz, Richard
Sterbak, Jana
Sugarman, George
Tacha, Athena
Tatlin, Vladimir
Terrell, James
Tinguely, Jean
Tracy, Michael
Trakas, George
Trova, Ernest Vaisman, Meyer
Viola, Bill
Volkos, Peter
Warhol, Andy Wilson, Fred

Laura Ruby
Department of Art, Room 348
2535 The Mall
University of Hawai'i
Honolulu, Hawai'i 96822
(808) - 956-5250