This unit explores links between contemporary art and culture, and the concept of realism. As a result of realism's connections with philosophies of 'the real', and with the term 'reality', the concept of realism goes back centuries. However, the most immediate antecdents for contemporary art and culture are modernism and the avantgarde. Therefore in addition to art and culture since 1960, this unit of study addresses historical art dated from 1850 and recognises the nineteenth century art movement called Realism as a cornerstone of contemporary art. In postmodernity, though, the role of mass media and new media in the social construction of the real becomes increasingly important. What, for example, is the relationship of the contemporary blog to documentary realism? Therefore Contemporary Realism is a unit that addresses high art and popular culture, and every artistic medium from painting to fictional film, documentary film, video, and animation. It acknowledges what Carol Martin calls, in the overview of her book Theatre of the Real (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 'the unparalleled construction of reality' across all fields of representation, from the sciences to the humanities, and in every practice of the visual and performing arts. It also acknowledges the view expressed by Julian Stallabrass in the overview of his edited book, Documentary (Whitechapel and MIT Press, 2013), that the current revival of the documentary in recent art is in part the result of 'increasing attention to issues of injustice, violence and trauma' in the twenty-first century.
short visual analysis (20%) and group presentation (10%) and major essay (70%)
CATE1001 and CATE1002Prohibitions