On Friday I finished my first week in Kathy Giuffre’s Art and Society block and I can already tell that this block will be one to remember. On the first day, I wasn’t sure what this class had in store. As we moved through the week, we developed a definition for art, discussed art’s role in satisfying the subconscious, highlighted forms of propaganda, and designated what aspects are critical to the relationship between society and art. Everyday Kathy introduces a new perspective to our class that we then used to unpack the relationship between art and society. One of my favorite elements of this course is that for each key concept or issue we discuss, Kathy ties a physical experience to it. For example, we read an article last week, “He’s a Cripple an’ Needs my Love,” which discussed the latent impacts of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, an American opera that showed around Europe during the 1930’s. Our class listened to Billy Holiday, on vinyl, in the dark, while eating chocolate because 1. It was an experience that Kathy believes everyone needs to have and 2. It provided us with a clearer picture of what the audience we had read about that day may have experienced. We also visited the Fine Arts Center and have been consistently tying the works that we saw in the museum back into our class discussions.
I enjoyed being introduced to a series of new lenses last week through which I can now use to see the art world in different ways. I’m excited to see how our class uses these new perspectives to further dissect the relationship between art and society.