The Afterlife of Things: Art, Objects and Collecting in the Museums of Philadelphia
ARTH 100-301 | The Afterlife of Things: Art, Objects, and Collecting in the Museums of Philadelphia
Instructor: Robert Ousterhout
Starting with the Penn Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the seminar will visit major collections of Philadelphia, both to examine the works of art and artifacts (on display and in storage) and to meet with directors, curators, keepers, and collectors. Most meetings will take place in the museums, not in the classroom. While the seminar will provide an overview of the history of art, our discussions on site will focus on changing aesthetics and collecting practices, aspects of display and contextualization, the institution of the museum, thing theory, and the blurred boundaries between ethnography, archaeology, and art history. Students will be expected to participate actively in the discussions and to prepare two written essays (one submitted at midterm, one presented orally at the end of term).