Classical Mythology/Contemporary Art

The new Semester has (already!) started here at Ohio State and I am teaching a class called Classical Mythology/Contemporary Art. Now, unlike many of the essays in the illuminating recent volume of essays on this topic – Isabelle Loring Wallace and Jennie Hirsh (eds) Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (Ashgate, 2011) – my course is less focused on ‘versions’ of Classical Myths in Contemporary Art (e.g. Narcissus or Proteus as reworked by Roy Lichtenstein or Cy Twombly), but instead on a more basic, fundamental correspondence between Classical Myth and Contemporary Art.


For example, how such issues as war, trauma and homecoming, heroism, humans and the divine, issues of place and landscape, and conceptions of identity, history and desire are explored in Classical literature and Contemporary Art. In the broadest sense possible, the class aims to get the students to appreciate not only the timelessness of Classical Myth and timeliness of Contemporary Art, but also the specificity of Classical Myths in Greek and Roman culture and the far-reaching ambitions of works of Contemporary Art.

In terms of this blog, what I am aiming to do is to report back on the class discussion of a series of Art works, chosen based on the recent collection Defining Comntemporary Art: 25 Years in 200 Pivotal Art Works (Phaidon 2012).

Here is a rough schedule for the class, so you can see what themes we are covering and when: 

Sept. 12th                    Same as it ever was: Appropriation Art                                                                   
Sept. 17th                    War, Trauma & Homecoming                                                
Sept. 19th                    Heroes & Villains                                                                               
Oct. 8th                       Objects vs. Ideas: Conceptual Art                                                       
Oct. 10th                     Origins & Creations                                                                  
Oct. 15th                     Human & Divine        
Oct. 29th                     The Body & Performance Art                                                
Oct. 31th                     Strange Spaces &Loaded Landscapes                                    
Nov. 5th                      Conflicted Identities   
Nov. 26th                    Mixed Media & Installation Art                                                          
Nov. 28th                    History & Fiction                                                                    
Dec. 3th                      Sex, Desire & Pleasure           

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