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BART 12A07 - Scandals in the History fo Art

Type d'enseignement : Workshop

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

From Madame Bovary to Michel Houellebecq's Soumission, from The Origin of the world by Gustave Courbet to the famous art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi, art and scandal have always been closely connected. Avant-garde art movements in particular have used scandal as a way to establish their emerging legitimacy in the art world. But how do we define art? What is considered a scandal? Is there such thing as a moral responsibility of the artist? How has art constantly challenged the concepts of beauty, moral standards, religion, politics, ethics and society over the course of its history? Going over a wide-ranging selection of artistic productions, with a focus on literature, visual art, movies and theater, this course will analyze some of the most notorious scandals in the history of art including the most recent art controversies. This overview will give us the opportunity to reflect on a broad array of topics: moral standards versus provocation, censorship versus freedom of speech, the sacred versus blasphemy, forgery versus authenticity, and plagiarism versus intellectual property.


CHAMBON, Juliette J. (Cultural Engineering Consultant)

Pedagogical format

At the end of the course, the student is expected to: 1) Develop a thorough comprehension of the problematics of the relationship between art and scandal. 2) Be familiarized with a wide array of artistic content, from contemporary art to video and literature. 3) Exercise critical thinking regarding topics such as aesthetics, moral judgment, intellectual property, etc. Each session will include: - a lecture by the teacher supported by a PowerPoint presentation - oral presentations by students followed by a Q&A session (except for the first class session) - several group discussions on case studies. As much as possible we will try to incorporate audiovisual content to the course (images, videos, etc.), but also readings of academic or press articles.

Course validation

To validate the course, the student is expected to pass the following assignments (at least three grades): 1) A 10-minute oral presentation on one of the themes studied throughout the semester (20% of the final grade) 2) A 60-minute mid-semester exam with several short answer questions and one long analytical question (30% of the final grade) 3) A final essay OR a final creative project on one the themes studied during the course. This final assignment must be handed in the last session of the semester. (40% of the final grade). For each deliverable, a topic should be identified by the student and approved by the teacher before the end of February. - The final essay should be 2500 words long and reflect consistent thinking about the problematics studied in class. The topic of the essay should focus on a case study related to the theme of the course but not studied per se in class. - The creative project can be a piece of creative writing, a video, a visual art project, or an alternative format. It should reflect consistent reflection on the questions evoked in class. It will be accompanied by a minimum 500 word statement explaining the artistic approach. 4) Active oral participation in class discussions (10% of the final grade) Throughout the semester, students will be asked to reflect upon a variety of topics and to actively engage in a series of debates, whether formally or informally.

Required reading

On scandal: moral disturbances in society, politics, and art – Adut, Ari– Cambridge University Press – 2008

Additional required reading

  • Quel scandale ! – Dollé, Marie – Presses Universitaires de Vincennes – 2006
  • Le musée des scandales : l'art qui fâche – Baucheron Éléa, Routex Diane – Gründ – 2013
  • Les grands scandales de l'histoire de l'art : cinq siècles de ruptures, de censures et de chefs-d'œuvre – Audinet Gerard, Déjean Gallien, Goldberg Itzhak, et al.– Beaux-Arts Editions – 2008
  • Le scandale dans l'art – Pierre Cabanne – Editions de La Différence – 2007