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12 Sessions
Audit (Free)
Certificate (Incl. w/ Premium)
Credit Eligible ($900 USD)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Visual Arts, History and Culture
Skill Level
Video Transcripts
English, Afrikaans
Modern Art, Postmodern Art, Painting, Sculpture, Photography
Course Description

This dynamic course focuses on the history of modern and postmodern art from the 19th and 20th centuries, with an emphasis on major works found in the collection of the renowned Art Institute of Chicago.  Painting, sculpture, photography, and other media, placed within a larger socio-political context, will reveal how aesthetic expression proves a compelling barometer of the modern human experience. 

From the advent of European democracy and the parallel birth of the avant-garde artist, whose singular vision boldly shattered prevailing styles and norms, to the radical rise of abstract painting and the even more provocative introduction of everyday objects into works of art, this course will unfold modernism’s defiant embrace of the new. This course will engage the major issues of twentieth-century aesthetic practice, from Freud’s description of the unconscious and the play of dreams as fertile source material for the artist, to the explosive rise of pop art and the dizzying information age that has profoundly shaped contemporary practice. To closely study modern and postmodern art is to learn how to look at the world, to take notice of form, color, and image, and to respond to the richness of visual and material culture that is all around us. 

This course will not only provide a canonical repertoire of great works of historic art, as well as the context for understanding them, but through the unfolding of such a narrative, these lectures will allow new ways of observing one’s own contemporary world and reimagining its value.


This course is in Scheduled mode, and starts May 26, 2016. Learn more about Scheduled courses here.

Session 1: The Rallying Cry of the Avant-Garde
Romanticism and Realism
Session 2: The Power of Form and Emotion of Color
Impressionism and Post Impressionism
Session 3: The 20th Century Explodes
Fauvism and Cubism
Session 4: Painted Blueprints Of Utopia
Kandinsky, Mondrian, And Malevich
Session 5: Pranksters, Tricksters, Revolutionaries
Dada Breaks the Mold
Session 6: Surrealist Dreams
Courting the Unconcious
Session 7: The Last Gasp Of Modernism
The heroics of the New York School
Session 8: The Romantic Sublime/ American Style
The New York school and Abstract Expressionism
Session 9: Pop And Its Legacy
Pop art
Session 10: Minimalism And The Phenomenology Of Being
Session 11: Critiquing The Institutions Of Art
Earthworks, Body, and Conceptual Art
Session 12: The Cacophony Of Postmodernism In The Information Age
Postmodernism and beyond
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Enroll for College Credit

Credit Eligible

Kadenze has partnered with School of the Art Institute of Chicago to offer this course for 3 college credits.*

How much does it cost?

This course costs $900 USD to take for college credit.

*Upon completion, this rigorous college-level course will provide credits that are recognized and transferable from the partnering institution. Credit as workload and transferability is defined by the granting institution. Participation in these courses does not represent an acceptance decision or admission from the institution that offers them.

Learning Outcomes

Below you will find an overview of the Learning Outcomes you will achieve as you complete this course.

Grading Policy
Course Great Breakdown Chart
Total: 100.00%

The grading for this course will be determined through a set of quizzes, response assignments, and a final project.

Quizzes: Will contain slide IDs, term matching, multiple choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank style questions.

Assignments: Will consist of short essay style reflections posted in the forum area

Final Project: Will be a gallery curation exercise link submission. More information on this coming soon.

This course requires approximately 150hrs of work split between research, lectures, and coursework.

Plagiarism: We learn by doing our own work, and by collaborating with other students. Discussing course content and assignments with your peers is an important and helpful way to deepen your learning. However, encouraging others to copy your homework and submit it as their own is a form of cheating. So please don't post your completed assignments or correct answers to quizzes, tests, or other assessments to the discussion forums or in repositories outside of Kadenze.

Instructors & Guests
What You Need to Take This Course

There are no required materials for this course.

Additional Information

Please note: Taking part in a Kadenze course For-Credit or as a Premium Member, does not affirm that a student has been enrolled or accepted for enrollment by School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Taking part in this course For-Credit offers credit that is recognized by School of the Art Institute of Chicago, should the Kadenze student be accepted for enrollment in the future.

Students who are currently enrolled at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are not eligible to receive credit for this course.

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Please understand that posts which violate this Code of Conduct harm our community and may be deleted or made invisible to other students by course moderators. Students who repeatedly break these rules may be removed from the course and/or may lose access to Kadenze.

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