Image Scavengers: Collage, Montage, and Appropriation in 20th Century Art

This course introduces students to a broad cross section of 20th century art and culture through the study of the related creative techniques of collage, assemblage, montage, construction, and appropriation. The collage technique (the incorporation of found or appropriated “non-original” or “non-art” material) is arguably the most significant and original technical innovation of 20th century art.

During the past century, these techniques have been central to questioning traditional pictorial and sculpture models, conceptions of the nature of the art object, the connection of art to reality, the relation of high art to popular culture, and the commodity status of art. In short, these techniques have been central to the theorization of modern and contemporary art. We will examine the deployment of these techniques in the context of Cubism, Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, Constructivism, Pop Art, Minimalism, and more recent art. Through the close study of works of art employing these techniques and relevant primary texts, this course will provide students with a visually informed critical understanding of some of the central issues of 20th century art.

Prerequisites: Art History core course

Erika Wolf:

Erika Wolf came to SAS from the University of Otago (New Zealand), where she taught from 2003 to 2018. A native New Yorker, she completed a bachelor's degree at Princeton University and then trained in curatorial studies at the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. Erika then completed a doctorate in the History of Art and a master's degree in Russian & Eastern European Studies at the University of Michigan. Recognized internationally as an expert on Soviet photography and Russian visual culture, she has contributed to exhibition projects at the Reina Sofia Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. Erika has received fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the International Research Exchange Board, the Center for Advanced Studies of the Visual Arts, the Kennan Institute, and the Harriman Institute. She is an Honorary Research Associate of the Munich Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Germany).