HKUB11052U Contemporary Art and Introduction to Art Historical Praxis

Volume 2018/2019

History of Art


The course provides insight into contemporary art, its tendencies and its diverse cultural and artistic expressions, as well as the role it plays in societies today. Starting with the emergence of conceptual art, and charting ruptures between modernism and postmodernism, along with shifts towards dematerialised, performance-based and politically-engaged artistic practices, the course presents an overview of the last 60 years of art. Contemporary art’s inclination to defy easy categorisation, its various materialisations and institutional frameworks, as well as its relation to contemporary visual culture, will be used as the basis for critical studies of the core issues of art and art historical praxis. Through written and oral exercises, as well as discussions, students examine works of art and their cultural circumstances, with the goal of recognising, understanding, and discussing various art forms in their broader contexts. The course alternates between lectures, discussions, excursions to museums or other art institutions, and student exercises. The course includes continuous assessment, such as individual and group-based exercises, oral presentations and written work. Therefore, in addition to general preparation, such as reading, students’ must allocate time for coursework within specified deadlines.


The module provides the student with:


Knowledge and understanding of

• central tendencies in Danish and international contemporary art and its institutions from 1960 to today as well as elementary art history practice.

Skill set, the ability to

• identify, describe and analyse key tendencies in works of contemporary art, its institutions and visual culture.

The ability to

• work academically with interpretation of contemporary art issues in brief written and oral form.



Gil Perry & Paul Wood (ed.): Themes in Contemporary Art, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.


Additional literature:(suggested reading prior to the start of the course)
Terry Smith: Contemporary Art: World Currents, London: Laurence King, 2011.

Julian Stallabras: Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: OUP, 2006.


  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 84
  • Guidance
  • 1
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 293
  • Total
  • 420
Type of assessment