Shocking! A History of Art Scandals

Ref: C2421377

From Paolo Veronese to Damien Hirst, and from Courbet’s L’origine du monde to Serrano’s Piss Christ, countless artists have transgressed artistic, religious, and social norms, leading to a series of controversies that have disrupted the art world. Transgression can be seen as a way to stand up to and defy an authoritative and restrictive power, such as the Inquisition in Veronese’s case, or the Academy in Manet’s. From the Renaissance to contemporary art, we will study significant cases and reflect upon the mechanics of an art scandal. Was the transgression at the heart of a scandal intentional? If so, what was the intended purpose? How do people react when they are offended? What are we offended by? Is art above the law? Do subversive works of art play a meaningful role in defining the course of the history of art? Or are they just meant to make noise and have, in the end, little significance? … These are some of the questions that we will address during this day-school.

Course aim

Have you ever been shocked by a work of art? Have you witnessed people loudly protesting against a work of art? In this lecture we will study some infamous art scandals in order to understand why and how they happen.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Recount the story of some key art scandals
  • Discuss why artists may want to transgress rules and norms, and risk shocking people
  • Identify some of today's "sensitive" topics

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

Shocking! A History of Art Scandals

Enrolment Conditions

This course is funded by the Greater London Combined Authority but is also open to residents of other areas.

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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