First-Year Seminar: Whose Art Is It Anyway?: St. Louis Art Museums and Their Audiences

ART HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY 1071

Art museums in the United States today face a daunting set of challenges: budget shortfalls, a lack of diversity with regard to both staff and collections, and maintaining visibility in an inundated, ever-changing virtual world. These struggles are undoubtedly unique to an era defined by COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, but at their core are long-standing debates about audience, accessibility, and function. What is a museum's mission? To preserve art or serve the community? Which community/ies does the museum serve? What is the museum's relationship to power and nationhood? What are the politics and ethics of collecting objects of art, culture, and nature? How is a museum's mission reflected in its architecture? This first-year seminar offers an opportunity to consider such issues within the context of art museums across St. Louis. Through weekly discussions and in-person visits, students will become acquainted with foundational texts in museum theory and history, then apply those ideas to local art institutions. Although art museums are our particular focus, the ideas and issues are relevant to a variety of collecting institutions, from history to the biological sciences. This class is therefore useful to any student interested in art history and museums, as well as those seeking a better understanding of the St. Louis region.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; AS HUM

Section 01

First-Year Seminar: Whose Art Is It Anyway?: St. Louis Art Museums and Their Audiences
INSTRUCTOR: Read
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