In this course, you will explore our world through the lens of artistic creation and aesthetic encounter in its many forms: from the arts of painting and sculpture to literature, music, and theater, to experiences of the natural world. Through a series of encounters with specific objects, interpretive and critical readings, interactions with practicing artists, and your own hands-on creative exercises, you will become familiar with some of the many ways that art and aesthetics shape human experience and culture. By the end of the semester you will have learned:
some of the principles of description and analysis of aesthetic experience and objects;
how historical, geographical, and cultural differences have shaped ideas and experiences of arts;
what creativity looks like “from the inside”: that is, from the perspective of practicing artists an in your own creative enterprises;
how art has been understood to affect and even transform us as individuals and cultures.
With the UVA Grounds and the Charlottesville community as our laboratory, our work in this course will embrace visits to studios and from practicing artists, and will extend to museums, film, and musical and theatrical performance. In every case we will bring to bear our readings and discussion of arts criticism, philosophy, and commentary--including your own. We will think together about the power of art as well as notions of art’s ‘aura’; about the range of cultural frameworks for art and aesthetic encounter (institutions, experience, critique); about the “time” of art and its changing nature over historical periods; and about aesthetic wonder and artistic creativity as dispositions you can harness and take forward into other realms of your lives.