AH20200 The Modern to the Contemporary

Academic Year 2023/2024

From Modern to Contemporary considers the modernist movement from c.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 small group seminars students will analyse key themes in modern to contemporary art notably abstract art, collage and photomontage, chance and automatism, the strategies used by women artists, and the gallery space. 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, especially as they pertain to the main themes of the course.
- 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.
- critically reflect on the key themes of the course - abstract art, collage and photomontage, chance and automatism, the strategies used by women artists, and the gallery space.

Indicative Module Content:

The Avant-Garde; Abstraction; Collage and Photmontage; Chance and Automatism; the position and work of Women artists; Installation art and White Cube space.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Field Trip/External Visits


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The course is taught via lectures and via small group seminars. Students will have the opportunity to look at works of art in the original on a gallery visit and to discuss the main themes of the module in this context. 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. 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 In Module Component Repeat Offered
Attendance: Participation in small group seminars and attendance at lectures. Evidence of reading and engagement with course material. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: The short text assignment or video submission is based on a practical application of material learnt in the module. Week 6 n/a Graded No


Essay: End of semester essay or equivalent assignment - 2,000 words.
This will enable the student to demonstrate their achievement of at least two of the Learning Outcomes.
Week 12 n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

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
Dr Aleksandra Gajowy Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Kathleen James-Chakraborty Lecturer / Co-Lecturer