AH20200 The Modern to the Contemporary

Academic Year 2022/2023

From Modern to Contemporary considers the modernist movement from 1914 to the emergence of post-modern and contemporary art practice in the 1960s and 1970s. Through consideration of key concepts, critical texts and artworks, the principle characteristics and goals of modernism and contemporary art are explored. These include the importance of innovation and experimentation, the emphasis on media and technique and a new stress on the personality of the artist in modernism and the importance of participation, institutional critique and the scrutiny of identity in post-modernism. Through lectures and discussion students will analyse key types of modern and contemporary practice such as conceptual art, performance and installation art. On completion of the course students will be able to analyse the major developments in art from modernism to the contemporary.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

-- recognise and account for the key concepts and major manifestations of modern and contemporary art.
- identify and critically analyse canonical modern and post-modern artworks.
- be familiar with major critical texts pertaining to the development of modern art as a concept within visual art.
- relate modern and contemporary art to its wider social and philosophical contexts.

Indicative Module Content:

The Avant-Garde; Conceptual Art; Surrealism; Constructivism, Bauhaus.
American modernism: MoMA and the White Cube; Women artists; Other Modernisms; Installation Art

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)


Field Trip/External Visits




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The course is taught primarily via lectures but small tasks and discussions will enable active participation in these sessions. Students will have the opportunity to look at works of art in the original on a gallery visit and to discuss ideas. Students will be strongly encouraged to visit the library in person, read books, visits galleries and museums, make use of recommended texts, and contribute in class, when feasible. Support material and recommended readings from lectures will be available on Brightspace and students are encouraged to keep a journal detailing the content of the lectures and related tasks and research.

It is incumbent on any undergraduate student who fails this module to contact the lecturer concerned to announce their attention to resit, and to obtain details of resit assignments. Any resit/ repeat registration/ fee issues should be dealt with by the Arts programme office. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

Art History majors should not take any Stage 2 or 3 Art History modules until they have completed their Stage 1 Art History requirements.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
AH10070 - Dublin: Its Museums

Additional Information:
Students intending to Major in Art History are required to have competed the CORE Stage 1 module, and at least one other Stage 1 Art History module before progression.

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: The short text assignment will be based on material discussed in lectures and classes.
This may take the form of a short text essay or video submission based on a practical application of material.
Week 6 n/a Graded No


Essay: End of semester essay - 2,000 words Week 12 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students are given individual feedback on their end of term essay and on the short text essay, via Brightspace but also face to face, by appointment.

Please contact the module co-ordinator Róisín Kennedy, roisin.kennedy@ucd.ie for a copy of the reading list.
Name Role
Professor Kathleen James-Chakraborty Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 11:00 - 11:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Tues 12:00 - 12:50