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Contemporary Art




Admissions requirements

Students need to have succesfully completyed What is culture?

Note: This course used to be titled Art & diversity: Contemporary Art; if you have already completed that course, you cannot enroll in Contemporary Art.


Ever since the beginning of our species, humans have been making art. Although the functions and forms of these works have varied widely over the centuries, they all provide representations of, and ideas about, the world and human nature. As such, art can help us look at complicated issues of human interaction and diversity in new and critical ways.

The aim of this course is twofold. The first aim will be to provide an introduction into the art of the contemporary period. We will look at and discuss a wide range of artists and artworks, ordered thematically. For those of you who would like to know more about art history (of the Postmodern and contemporary periods in particular), a brief introduction into its theories, methods and objects of study, this can serve as a good start.

However, the course is emphatically not just meant to merely be an art historical overview. The second aim, therefore, is to discuss a range of theoretical themes, focused on the understanding of human identity. Although these themes will all be discussed from the perspective of art, our discussions will hopefully prove useful beyond the realm of art history and address our understanding of culture in a wider sense.

We will build on the topics discussed in the course What is culture? and will extend the theoretical framework provided there. Overlap with What is culture? will be avoided and the content of that course is therefore assumed to be prior knowledge. Each session will be focused on a different topic; we will read a selection of texts that pertain to these topics and will discuss these by analyzing artworks which critically question the topic. The topics include (although this list might change): the body, Posthumanism, memory, the spiritual, photography and the canon.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of the course students will have acquired:

  • Knowledge of a range of influential contemporary artists and artworks discussed in the course

  • Knowledge of the cultural themes concerning diversity, as discussed in the course, and the skills to discuss these at an academic level

  • The skills to analyze a contemporary artwork (at a basic level)

  • The skills to set out an analysis of an artwork in an academic essay


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course will be taught through lectures and seminars, combining introductions on topics and reading material by the lecturer with group discussions and student presentations on case studies and individual research. Furthermore, we will try to schedule a museum visit.


  • Participation in class discussions: 15%

  • Group presentation: 15%

  • Mid-term assignment: 15%

  • Weekly web-posts: 15%

  • Final essay (2000 words): 40%

Note: In order to pass the course students should pass their final essay with at least a C-


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Assigned readings will be made available through Blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Laura Bertens