Art 208: 

Current Directions in Art

with Felice Amato


About this Course

The narrative of this course begins in the 1980’s and continues through the present with a focus on the shift from prior modernist models of art making to postmodernism’s critical deconstruction to our current post-historical phase. The historical narrative that is of concern to this course is that which is contingent on the way in which artists perceive the possibility of an expanded conversation about the nature of art, about the possibility that art can fundamentally alter the way in which we perceive ourselves in relation to the culture around us and that art can in turn, fundamentally change the culture.

Contemporary art has always been global, though in the 21st century, globalism has created an entirely new paradigm and extended the discourse of art in new and challenging ways. This course will consider an expanded view of contemporary art that includes the ideas of theory as practice, practice led research, community based art practice, non-material forms of creative practice and all other situational art making that might be time-based or otherwise eschew the object altogether and reject traditionally understood ideas about the nature of art, materials and authorship, replacing such ideas with often radical notions of what art can be and who might identify oneself as an artist.

Coursework Description

This class covers a semester’s work in 8 weeks. The class is grounded in approximately 20 hours of lecture by Professor Douglas Rosenberg that help contextualize major trends and developments in art of the period discussed. This is not a class in which memorization of dates and names is emphasized. Rather students will be asked to make connections between artists’ work and events, technology, politics, and more. Students will read the text Art and Today by Eleanor Heartney as well as other shorter articles and excerpts. There will be additional web content to complement the lectures and texts. There will be two exams (midterm and final) which will be open book format over several days. Students will complete 4 assignments (2 of which are creative works). They will also engage in weekly asynchronous forums to discuss ideas with classmates as well as several real-time interactions which will be arranged to accommodate students’ schedules. There is some flexibility with scheduling but students who will not have access to the course for more than a few days should check with the instructor to see if that can be accommodated.

*Please note that, due to the nature of modern and contemporary art, there could be images and language some students might find offensive. If you believe this will create a challenge to your full participation, you should discuss this with the instructor prior to committing to the course.

Art 208: Current Directions in Art Times


Art 208: Current Directions in Art course
May 30 –
July 23
Art 208: Current Directions in Art Credits
Art 208: Current Directions in Art Contact Information


Meet Your Professor

Felice Amato

Felice Amato


Felice Amato is a visual artist, educator, and performer. She creates object performances and puppet works that draw from personal experiences, mythology, and popular culture as well as from the objects themselves. She is active nationally within the contemporary puppetry community. Currently, Felice is completing a PhD in art at UW-Madison, which centers on women’s relationship to puppets, dolls, and other figurative objects, specifically in the early twentieth century. This includes women’s work making, developing and designing, marketing and consuming, collecting, and performing with dolls.  She will be starting as an assistant professor in the Art Department at Boston University in Fall 2017.

Felice Amato recently was featured in the project gallery for the Public Humanities Graduate Exchange Program. She partnered up with local social justice organization, YWCA, to create her project, entitled, “Tales of Struggle, Healing, and Home: Women and Material Narratives.”

Amato [worked] with women in the YWCA’s housing program who are at a place of disempowerment, transition, struggle, marginalization and/or healing in their lives. Her role [was] to provide them multiple opportunities to explore the fabrication of puppets or other figures and to offer them the chance to devise narratives. Amato [shared] art historical and contemporary examples of women’s puppets and dolls. The materials themselves and their tactility–as well as the creativity and ingenuity involved in making objects–spur community-building through conversation, encouragement and artistic risk-taking. These objects could serve as characters in healing stories or parts of broader narratives but they may also be simply a chance to play. (source)

Look for ART 208 in your

course guide or student center.