Richard Heipp
College of the Arts
Art and Art History

Reinterpreting Global Masterpieces, Recontextualizing Masterworks from the Harn Museum of Art was inspired by the traditional educational methodology employed in the “atelier” (from old French meaning, a workshop or studio). The atelier was an important component of the traditional academic art training in the 19th century French Art Academie or Salon. The atelier represented the educational framework for the Salon where academe students studied and copied existing artworks (or casts of classical sculptures) with the goal of technical mastery of classical techniques prior to embarking on their own creative interpretations.  This course will expand on this atelier practice asking students to consider “non- western” classical expressions and production processes to create new artworks inspired by these existing global masterworks .

This course will attempt to examine how art objects are affected by the cultural environment existing at the time of its creation, examining how the art is influenced by cultural and artistic tradition, style, as well as politics, beliefs and established visual systems. We will also examine how the institution of the display effects the reading and interpretation of the artifact

This course will immerse the student in this methodology combined with the direct and close examination and study of global artistic masterworks on display at the Harn Museum of Art.  Students will study and work directly from artworks, extracting motifs and inspiration from these objects in order to create new artistic reinterpretations based on existing artworks. The course presents a unique opportunity to actively partner with the rich resources available at our campus museum.

In the course students will work from objects included in the Harn collection and study these works (historically, stylistically and thematically) through direct close observation by slowing down their observational skill through drawing the objects as well as academic research. Students will seek to investigate the intensions, the possible meaning and functions of the work, as well as the technical processes used in the creation of the artwork.  Students will then create new reinterpretations of the artwork using assigned media (for painting and drawing majors) or their choice of media (drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, photography, digital imaging, sculpture or ceramics).

The course will broadly attempt to examine why and how different cultures developed the styles and approaches that are unique to that culture (i.e. African, Asian, European etc.).  Students will explore how different cultures might share common themes such as religion, power, politics, sexuality, mortality or immortality, nature, technology, and the visual systems that are unique to that culture. Students will readdress and reinterpret the cultural objects through their own creative lens and media creating “new” art inspired by these cultural masterpieces.