Art History: Contemporary Art

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ART 122

       Course Name: Art History: Contemporary Art

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course is a comparative study of contemporary art as an expression of human experience.
Content includes major artists, styles and movements from 1945 to the present. Focus is on development of perceptive stylistic analysis and ability to understand a work of art in relation to cultural context.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Identify and classify artworks from the end of the Modern Era to the present.
  2. Identify and attribute works of art from this period according to date/timeline, region, artist, subject, medium, function, elements, organization and style.
  3. Analyze art work in relation to its religious, social and cultural context and significance.
  4. Discuss and integrate lecture and textbook content through class discussion and participation.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Each instructor will provide a detailed outline with dates, subtopics, readings, and assignment deadlines.

  1. Formal and Conceptual Elements
  2. Abstract Expressionism an overview and postwar European
  3. Nouveau Réalisme and Fluxus
  4. Taking Chances with Popular culture and 1960's Abstraction
  5. Modernism in Architecture and Mid-Century
  6. Conceptual and Activist Art
  7. Post-Minimalism, Earth Art, and New Imagists
  8. Postmodernism
  9. Painting through History
  10. New Perspectives on Art and Audience
  11. Contemporary Art and Globalization

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Illustrated lectures presenting the iconological and formal importance of a work of art.
  2. Supplementary videos
  3. Supplementary handouts
  4. D2L
  5. In-class discussion

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Class attendance and participation
  2. Readings and homework assignments
  3. Possible museum field trip or course assignment
  4. Quizzes and exams
  5. Research paper

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Instructors will use a standard Art History text, such as:

  • Arnason, H.H. and Elizabeth C. Mansfield. Modern Art Volume I. (Pearson, current edition).
  • Davies, P.E. Janson’s History of Art: The Modern World Portable Edition: Book 4, Pearson, current edition)
  • Gardner's Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective, Volume II. (Cengage, current edition)

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Grade Components Weight
Quizzes and Exams = 50%
Critical Writing Assignments
(Minimum of 15 written pages)
= 25%
Attendance/Participation =25%
Grading Scale
100 - 90 = A
89 - 80 = B
79 - 70 = C
69 - 60 = D
59 & lower = F

XI.   Other Course Information

Please note:
Some of the activities, lectures and assignments in this class may include imagery that is controversial, uncomfortable, shocking, has nudity, and personally unpopular to one's beliefs. If a student objects to this practice, he/she is encouraged to discuss with the instructor early in the semester alternative ways of completing course requirements.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.