Post-Conceptual Art and Visual Arts Criticism - HA825

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 4)
View Timetable
7 30 (15) DR G Pooke




This module is available as a wild module



The construct of the post-conceptual in relation to visual arts practice has two principal inflexions. Firstly, it delineates a generation of contributors typically born in the 1960s and 1970s for whom the legacies of Modernism and conceptual art are cultural givens. Secondly, it situates a range of practice (including media art and digital platforms) in relation to expanded and evolving contexts of criticism, cultural consumption and curation.
The proposed curriculum will follow recent visual arts-based critical responses to the development of particular genres and associated shifts in cultural production. For example, this will include the attention given to emerging practices of self and group curation and the rationale for the doubling or multiplying of artistic agency variously demonstrated by collectives such as SUPERFLEX, Claire Fontaine and by a range of contemporary working partnerships.
The module will explore how several recent critics have mobilised and applied ideas of the 'political' to account for distinctive thematics within recent practice. Considering some of the recent distinctions noted by the art critic Claire Bishop, the module will evaluate different forms of sculpture and installation practice (immersive, site responsive, site independent and site specific) and how these mediate changing contexts and conditions of production and spectatorship.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 33
Private Study Hours: 267
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Extended Essay (2,500 words) – 50%
Critical Review of a Contemporary Art Exhibition (2,500 words) – 50%

Indicative reading

Bishop, C. (2012), Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, London: Verso
Bourriaud, N. (2002), Relational Aesthetics, Paris: Les Presses du Réel
Costello, D. and Margaret Iverson (eds.), (2010). Photography After Conceptual Art, Oxford: Blackwell
Fischer, M. (2009), Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? Winchester: Zero Books
Klanten, R. (eds), (2011). Art & Agenda: Political Art & Activism, Berlin: Gestalten
Paul, C. (2008). New Media in the White Cube & Beyond, Berkeley: University of California Press
Pooke, G. (2011), Contemporary British Art: An Introduction, London: Routledge
Smith, T. (2011), Contemporary Art: World Currents, London: Lawrence King

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

- Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of central trajectories and themes within a range of art criticism and practice, from the early 1990s onwards;
- Explore and evaluate the inter-relationship of examples of recent art practice to Modernist art criticism and the conceptual legacy of the Duchampian readymade;
- Demonstrate engagement and understanding of evolving art critical paradigms and agency in mediating contemporary art and curatorial practice across genres;
- Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a significant range of post-conceptual art and the changing institutional contexts of its production, dissemination and spectatorship;
- Demonstrate an understanding of how the emerging processes of biennialisation and globalisation and the changed contexts of spectatorship and consumption have informed and delineated new modes of arts criticism and response.

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