American Art and Artists

Ref: C3744257

A review of art in the USA from the time of the earliest European settlement to the first half of the twentieth century, this course will explore the role of art in recording and framing changes in the ways of life and the development of ideas of nationhood. It will also consider the importance of the work of American artists who worked in Europe. We will discuss art from colonial times, the emergence of the new nation in the late eighteenth century, the importance of landscape to American national identity, the ideas of the frontier and westward progress in the nineteenth century, and the celebration of and anxieties about the emergence of modernity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. (Note: this course does not include Native American art.)

Course aim

To consider a range of works of art from the region, linking them to their social, political and historical contexts, and investigating their role in recording and shaping contemporary debates.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • think critically about and discuss artworks from America within a broader historical context.
  • describe some of the ways in which American artists engaged with ideas of nationhood and an evolving society.
  • look at examples of art by American artists and comment on them.

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 preparatory reading is required, but some suggestions for general reading include: David Bjelajac, American Art: A Cultural History (2005) Robert Hughes, American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America (1997)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

American Art and Artists

Enrolment Conditions

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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