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 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.
The primary artists and writers we will turn to include Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Francisco Goya, John Constable, Walt Whitman, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Joseph Conrad, H. D., Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Willem de Kooning, Peter Greenaway, Gego, Elizabeth Murray, William Kentridge, Eva Hesse, Agnes Martin, Srikanth Reddy, Ann Hamilton, Gabriel Orozco, Paul Noble, Nasreen Mohamedi, Roman Signer, Julie Mehretu, and Cai Guo-Qiang.
Our secondary works will be texts by Pliny, Gregory Bateson, Moses Barasch, Avis Berman, Jack Flam, Yves Bonnefoy, John Hollander, Michel Serres, Julia Kristeva, James Longenbach, Junichiro Tanizaki, Victor Stoichita, Leon Battista Alberti, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Hubert Damisch, Heinrich Wölfflin, William Gilpin, Michel de Certeau, Rosalind Krauss, the Quay Brothers, and others.
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. We plan to visit the Drawing Center and the Museum of Modern Art as part of the course and will also take advantage of Princeton's own collections.