HUM 598: Drawing and the Line in Poetry and the Visual Arts
Eve Aschheim (Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts in the Lewis Center for the Arts) and Susan Stewart (Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities, Professor of English).
In this course, held in the Princeton University Museum and extensively using its collections, we will pursue some of the relations between perceiving, describing, and knowing in the humanities and art practice. Studying the creation and meaning of the line in visual art, poetry, and a handful of philosophical texts, we will be interested in reversible processes of representation and abstraction as we also consider the mimetic and inventive powers of ekphrasis and art writing.
Our central topics will include the origins of drawing in gestures, signs, and mark-making; the transformation of drawing into other forms, including painting, sculpture, and performance; the development of outlines and boundaries in imaginary and lived spaces; manifestations of walking and rhythm in visual and verbal art; the role of shading and shadows; the inter-play between the perspective grid, anamorphism, abstraction, and formlessness; and the connections between sketches, sketch books, fragments, erased, ruined and unfinished works.
Some of the primary artists to whom we will turn are Met de Bles, Boudin, Guercino, Ingres, Corot, O’Keefe, Wang Hong, Tiepolo, Millet, David, Gericault, Cole, Morandi, Cage, Smithson, Kentridge, Goya, Stieglitz, Clark, Bontecou, Rothenberg, and Woodman. Poets and writers we will read include Blake, Wordsworth, Whitman, Ammons, Stevenson, Hopkins, Green, Conrad, H. D., Moore, Stevens, Williams, Aira, and Hamilton Finlay.
Our secondary works will be texts by Kant, Pliny, Hogarth, Bateson, Lacan, Stoichita, Alberti, Hollander, Longenbach, Tanizaki, Damisch, Wölfflin, Moretti, Gilpin, de Certeau, Alpers, Krauss, the Quay Brothers, and others.
In addition, the composer Paul Lansky, the poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, and the artist Richard Tuttle will be visiting our class and discussing their work with us in light of our concerns.
Students will have weekly drawing and/or poetry assignments and are encouraged to develop their own responses to our discussions and readings by experimenting with poetic and visual forms; in addition, approximately 30 pages of written work should be completed--this can take the form of weekly response papers, several shorter papers, or a long final paper or research proposal. Grades will be based on the portfolio of written and creative work and class participation.
On April 14, 2015 artists Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge read her poetry and Richard Tuttle discussed his practice with the class. The visit included a trip to the PU Art Museum to view Chinese and Mayan art.