ART HISTORY MINOR

Art History at Northern Michigan University will engage you in a process of seeing and discovery that is, ultimately, an invitation to the cultures of the world.

Apply to NMUART Apply to NMUART Apply to NMUART

The Art History Major at NMU

Art History at Northern Michigan University will engage you in a process of seeing and discovery that is, ultimately, an invitation to the cultures of the world. From the Zen gardens of Muromachi era Japan to the stone temple fortresses of the Mayan lords; from royal portraits of the Egyptian pharaohs to the brilliant psychological insight evident in Rembrandt’s self-portraits, the world’s legacy of artistic expression will fire your curiosity and imagination.

You will find that the uses of art historical understanding are not limited to the art of the past. Education in art history will cultivate frameworks for viewing the art and design of the present. An exciting aspect of learning how to analyze visual art is that these cognitive frameworks can carry over to the other arts too: an understanding of literature, music, drama, and folklore will be furthered through your understanding of their connection to visual art.

In surprising ways, knowing the art of the past will help you encounter the largest themes of human experience, whether psychological, religious, economic or political in nature. You will learn about the fascinating relationship of art to the intellectual history of disciplines such as science and philosophy, as well as the role that art has played in the lives of everyday people. At Northern, we encourage making connections between art and life.

Cultivating connections, Northern’s faculty are interested in a broad understanding of art and design activities. You will engage expressions as varied as architecture, industrial products, graphic designs, prints, photographs, crafts, decorative arts, performance art and media arts in our courses. Paintings and sculptures, the traditional subjects of art history, are fascinating to understand, but we view that fascination as an invitation to the world’s varied visual expressions and not as a reason to limit ourselves to those media.

Your study of art history will be an exciting opportunity to form connections: across cultures, between eras and among a variety disciplines. And, most importantly, between art and life. It is this excitement generated by discovering connections that is at the heart of learning. We invite you to share this process of discovery with us!

click to collapse window

Education in Art History will Cultivate Frameworks for Viewing the Art and Design of the Present

Click to Learn More

Art History Faculty

click to open/close
studio image

Steven Leuthold

Professor
B.A., University Montana
M.A. Washington State University
Ph.D., University Pennsylvania

Steven Leuthold is Professor of Art and Design History. His research and teaching interests include global issues in art history, the history of modern design and comparative aesthetics. Dr. Leuthold is the author of Indigenous Aesthetics: Native Art, Media and Identity and several articles about Native American art and media. In the book and articles, Leuthold considers that indigenous art and media incorporate ways of seeing that are related to a distinctly native worldview, even when modern media are employed.

More recently, Prof. Leuthold authored Cross-cultural Issues in Art: Frames for Understanding. Individual chapters of the book address broad intercultural issues in art, including Art and Culture, Primitivism and Otherness, Colonialism, Nationalism, Art and Religion, Symbolism and Interpretation, Style and Ethnicity, A Sense of Place, Art and Social Order, Gender, and the Self. Leuthold presents these themes as constructs that frame our understanding of global artistic production.

Prof. Leuthold’s current research interests center upon global issues in the history of modern design. He is seeks to increase the inclusivity of design history and to identify patterns of cross-cultural interaction related to modern design’s social effects. He is also a practicing artist and musician.

Prof. Leuthold teaches several art history courses at NMU:
AD 200 Native American Art and Architecture
AD 240 History of World Art: Renaissance to Modern
AD 300 Japan and the West: Crosscurrents in Art and Architecture
AD 330 History of Renaissance Art
AD 335 History of Baroque Art
AD 355 Twentieth Century Art and Architecture
AD 365 History of Modern Design
AD 390 Methods and Theories of Art History
AD 490 Advanced Research in Art History

EMAIL

sleuthol@nmu.edu
studio image
Steven Leuthold
studio image

Mitsutoshi Oba

Assistant Professor
B.A. Chuo University
B.A. S Connecticut State University
M.Phil. City University of New York
Ph.D. City University of New York


EMAIL

moba@nmu.edu
studio image

Tracy Wascom

Assistant Professor
B.F.A. University of Louisiana, Lafayette
M.F.A. Syracuse University


EMAIL

twascom@nmu.edu
click to collapse window

Art History Courses

click to open/close

AD 110 Ideas in Art and Design History

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall

This course draws from the disciplines of art history, philosophy, psychology and the social sciences in order to consider questions of interest to art historians and artists alike: What are the functions of art? Which principles shape visual expression? How is visual art related to larger cultural forces including religious, political, economic and so on? What is the relationship between art, artists and audiences? The course objective is to investigate these questions in a way that is relevant to each student's own creative development.


AD 200 Native American Art and Architecture

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall
Applies toward the world cultures university requirement (wc) general education requirement.
Prerequisite: EN 111 recommended.

A study of Native art and architecture from the pre-contact period to the present. A contextual approach is used to analyze material produced by the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee and other indigenous peoples of North America.


AD 230 History of World Art : Ancient to Medieval

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall

An introduction to world art from prehistory to 1400. The course introduces issues of artistic structure, meaning, context, technique and style in relation to specific artistic traditions. Its content includes visual arts of Africa, the Americas, Asia and the West from prehistory through the Gothic period.


AD 240 History of World Art : Renaissance to Modern

4 credit hours
Offered: Winter

An introduction to world art from 1400 to the present. The course introduces issues of structure, meaning, context, technique and style in art in relation to specific artistic traditions. Content includes the visual arts of Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Pacific and the West from the Renaissance through Postmodernism.


AD 260 Why America Looks This Way

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall, Winter
* Applies toward the human expression (hume) general education requirement.

Survey of the ideas and events determining the development of American architecture.


AD 265 Art and Architecture of Japan

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall Semester Odd Numbered Years
* Applies toward the world cultures university requirement (wc) general education requirement.

Survey of the visual arts and architecture of Japan from prehistory to the present. Includes consideration of the core values that are expressed through Japanese art.


AD 280 History of Photography

4 credit hours
Offered: Winter

A study of the photographic medium as a means of political, technological, philosophical and creative endeavors from the invention of the daguerreotype to digital imaging. The history will be presented within the context of the development genres demonstrating the reciprocal effect of the medium with society.


AD 285 History of Graphic Expression

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall

Chronological exploration of the history of graphic design and illustration from the era of the illuminated manuscript to the present. Emphasis is given to graphic expression in modern society from the mid-19th century on. Digital design and illustration are included.


AD 300 Asian Influence in Modern Art

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall
* Applies toward the world cultures university requirement (wc) general education requirement.
Prerequisite: EN 211 with a grade of "C" or better or HON 102 and HON 112 and junior standing.

Investigates technical, formal and philosophical dimensions of the influence of Asian art and thought in Western art from the 1860s to the present. Focus is on modern art, architecture and design.


AD 330 History of Renaissance Art

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall Semester Even Numbered Years

Study of European art from 1400 to 1600 including examples of painting, sculpture, prints, architecture and the applied arts with an emphasis on painting. The art will be analyzed in relation to social contexts and the artists’ intentions and methods.


AD 345 Modernity in Art: The Nineteenth Century

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall Semester Odd Numbered Years
Prerequisite: EN 211 with a "C" or better and junior standing.

Survey of European and American art of the nineteenth century with introductory discussion of the late-eighteenth-century art. Artworks in a variety of media, styles, and nationalities are discussed, whereas the focus is on French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.


AD 355 Twentieth Century Art and Architecture

4 credit hours
Offered: Winter
EN 211 with a grade of "C" or better or HON 102 and HON 112 and sophomore standing.

Survey of visual art and architecture in the Western world from the second half of the 19th century through the present decade. The conceptual basis of the arts and their place in society is examined within a historical framework.


AD 365 History of Modern Craft and Design

4 credit hours
Offered: Winter
Prerequisite: Junior standing.

History of modern craft and design considers the course of progressive design in the applied arts (graphic design, illustration, product and furniture design) from the nineteenth century to the present. Major movements in design history including the arts and crafts movement, art nouveau, modernism and postmodernism are investigated within a chronological framework. Social issues affecting design—from the relationship between design and consumerism, design and modern management practices, and design and national identity, to design ethics—will be considered within their historical contexts.


click to collapse window

Art History FAQ

click to open/close
What are the career skills that I will develop?

The career skills that art history majors develop include those of visual and historical analysis, communications, human relations, research and education. In the area of analysis students learn identification, comparative analysis, critical thinking and interpretive skills. In communications, students learn to convey ideas in written and spoken form, to present and defend complex theories and to accurately describe sophisticated works of art. In the area of human relations students learn to interpret the values and beliefs expressed in the world’s many cultures, to explain aspects of the present by referring to relevant examples from the past, to participate in groups and to develop sensitivity to a variety of cultural viewpoints. In the areas of education and research students learn to work with primary sources, to gather and organize information, to analyze information in relationship to important contemporary theories, to examine evidence for claims and to evaluate the research of others.

What are the career opportunities for Art History majors?

Based upon these skills, the career opportunities open to art history majors reflect a significant sector of the economy that is not currently addressed in the School’s offerings. This includes the areas of museum management, curatorship, archiving, art education, art criticism, arts programming, reporting and publicity, exhibition design, consulting, collection management, librarianship, arts appraisal, events planning, volunteer coordination, archeology, historic preservation and commercial gallery employment. An art history major at the undergraduate level is an excellent basis for further academic study in the visual arts, and many students in the major may elect to apply to graduate school. Because art history involves critical thinking and advanced writing skills, it is another path to those careers enjoyed by graduates from related disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Art history education is enhanced by study abroad, and the skills gained through this experience afford students additional career options.

The potential employers of art history graduates include museums, government agencies, design firms, colleges and universities, restoration firms, appraisal firms, magazines and newspapers, historical societies, corporations, antique dealers, auction houses, art galleries, community and arts organizations and federal or state historical parks.Opportunities in these fields are expected to grow as fast as the national average of job growth in other fields.

What Northern’s strengths in art history?

Northern’s art history curriculum presents particular strengths. It includes several courses in non-Western art, such as Japanese and Native American, that are not a common part of the curriculum elsewhere. In addition, the required core survey is global in scope. The curriculum also includes one of the few courses in integrated design history (graphic, product, furniture) in the State. These specialized courses will be appealing if you want a major with a focus on non-Western, modern and applied arts (functional arts, often developed in business contexts).

What is the difference between a Bachelor of Art and a Bachelor of Science in Art History?

The Bachelor of Arts at Northern requires foreign language study. In addition, because it is a general requirement of the discipline of art history, it is highly recommended that students take at least one foreign language (preferably French or German) through the intermediate 202 level. In order to graduate with a BA, the student must complete this foreign language requirement. The BS does not require foreign language study.

Does the school require a writing sample before you can be accepted into the art history major?

If you are accepted into the University, you will be able to pursue an art history degree within the School. However, we recommend developing a strong writing portfolio while in the program in preparation for graduate studies or art-history-related careers.

What special equipment is required for Art History majors?

There is no specific equipment required for the Art History major. As a major in the School of Art and Design, you will have access to a Macintosh laptop computer for educational purposes and personal use.

More Questions?
Please write Dr. Steven Leuthold sleuthol@nmu.edu
click to collapse window
Donate to NMUART Donate to NMUART Donate to NMUART
Top
Facebook Instagram Facebook Instagram