Concepts & Debates in Contemporary Art (VA 520)

2021 Spring
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Vis. Arts&Vis.l Comm Des.(VA)
Meltem Işık,
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Doctoral, Master
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There is perhaps nothing more characteristic of art thought of as modern than that it has given rise to debates - about its value, meaning, purpose or even existence as art as such. This course will review those debates, and explore the relations between these debates and their consequences, if any, in a changing field of art. It will also review the definitions of the modern and its others implied by these debates.


In addition to providing ways in understanding, analyzing, and/or discussing the works and theories of art this course will allow students to work individually and collaboratively on a case study/project proposal. Main topics of study will be: Understanding Contemporary Art; Analyses of critical and avant-garde artistic practice; Questions of display; Histories and politics of Installation; Issues of Public Space and Participation; The Museum as Public Space; Urbanity: social, economic, political, spatial conditions and Everyday Life.


Understanding of global contemporary art, especially in relation to questions of display, spatial expansions of artistic practice and audience participation.
Differentiate the critical implications of contemporary art; and the tools, methods, gestures artists employ to achieve a combination of the poetic and the political.
Analyze works of contemporary artists from around the world, with a focus on post-1960's art and current practices.
Understanding of installation and post-medium based practices, and their relevancy to art history.
Approach critically to concepts and debates in contemporary art, assess the relevancy of geographic and historical contexts in which artists work.
Question the roles of the museum, the market, and the city in relation to generating the 'public's of contemporary art.


  Percentage (%)
Assignment 20
Participation 20
Individual Project 30
Presentation 30



Boris Groys "Politics of Installation"
Irit Rogoff "We: Mutualities and Collectivities"
Claire Bishop "Participation"