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Franziska Koch


Curating Culture? Curating Art? The Venice Biennale in anthropological and art-historical perspectives
(co-taught with Carthrin Bublatzky, M.A.)

The seminar teaches an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing contemporary curatorial and artistic practices in our globalized contomporary art world. Taking the Venice Biennale for Contemporary Art 2015 as a relevant case study, we discuss the roles and concepts of specific curators in relation with the artists/works that will participate in Venice from art-historical and anthropologicl perspectives. A main aim is to develop interdisciplinary methodological approaches that allow us to critically (re)consider  long-standing as well as recent curatorial strategies that frame the works of artists from different geographical regions and cultural backgrounds in the traditionally "nationalist" exhibition taxonomy of the biennale. The seminar is research-based and includes an excursion to the Venice Biennale (mandatory) allowing the students to conduct their own research projects on either the overall theme of the exhibition, on a single national pavilion, or a specific curator and his framing of particular artists. These projects will be developed throughout the seminar and concluded by means of a written term paper.
The seminar will introduce students to relevant ethnographic and art-historical methods and provide room for existent skills and knowledge to be deepened by means of individual and team work based seminar phases. Participants will learn to reflect critically on the Venice Biennale and the kind of art notion that it projects with a special focus on the art historical context and the cultural dimension of this prominent exhibition format.
The seminar provides students with a special opportunity to sharpen their writing skills on art and exhibitions. Depending on the nature of the collected data in Venice the final term paper may take the shape of a visual essay that students will conceptualise and accomplish based on a wiki that allows to integrate visual with textual material.

Tuesdays, 11am to 1pm, KJC 002 + excursion to the Venice Biennial, end of May

PD Dr.-Ing. Mag. Michael Falser

Teaching as Visiting Professor for Asian Art at the Art History Department of Vienna University


Where is Asia? Methods and Case Studies of a global art and architectural history


From London and Paris to Osaka 1970 and Shanghai 2010. Achitecturalized Asia in World and Colonial Exhibitions, 1851 until today


From Stupa to Monastery. Architecture and Sculpture of Gandhara. Discourse and Reality of a "Graeco-Buddhist Style"


Orientalist Architecture in Vienna

Dr. Corinna Forberg


Chinoiserie. Art or Fashion?

Chinoiserie is a phenomenon that was spread throughout Europe, primarily at the courts of kings and princes, in England and the Netherlands even in the entire society. It is an interesting Western construction, which seemingly was denied a place within as well as outside the European definitions of art. Influenced by import merchandise from Asia, it acted out aesthetic categories beyond classical and classicist art theories in the design of contemporary commodities. The "China" in chinoiserie is as diffuse as its placement with the arts, since its models could be traced also beyond the geographical borders of China, in Japan, India and Southeast Asia. In our seminar, we will scrutinize in particular the reasons for these vague definitions and categorizations.

Fridays, fortnightly, 9am to 1pm, KJC 002

Dr. Anna Grasskamp


Transcultural Modernism(e): Jugendstil and Art Nouveau in Europe and East Asia
(co-taught with Sabine Schenk, M.A.)

The style of Art Nouveau, or Jugendstil in German, has undoubtedly drawn inspiration from Asian Art, and vice versa maede an impression on an international scale. This seminar will focus on the transcultural notions of Art Nouveau and Jugendstil and examine them in a global context with a special focus on East Asia. Particular attention will be drawn to the so-called applied arts, examples include architecture, furniture and fashion as well as graphic desing in diverse media (e.g. books, journals and advertisement posters).
The participants will examine the flows of language of form from an transcultural perspective and intellectually as well as physically engage with selected objects on an excursion to respective museum collection.

Tuesdays, 4 to 6pm, KJC 112

Dr. Eva-Maria Troelenberg


Back to the Peninsula: Images of Arabia in European Art and Historiography after 1850

"(...) So simple were the primitive habits of the nomad Arabs, that had the religion been confined to its native land, it is problable that no mosque worthy of the name would ever have been built." James Fergusson, the Scottish architectural historian, wrote this in 1865 in his History of 'Architecture in all Countries', adding: "Everywhere the conviction is forced upon us that originally the Moslems had no style of their own, but adopted those which they found practised in the country to which they came".
Similar categorical assessments can be found in the writings of other pioneers of a historicism-informed concept of universal art history as developed in the second half of the nineteenth century by the likes of Franz Kugler and Karl Schnaase. This set the tone for the notion of an Arabia which lacked both history and art and that, geographically, long remained a "blank spot" of sorts on the map of art history, while the adjective "Arabic" could be linked in various and sometimes racist ways to predominantly Muslim art practices and landscapes.
More recently however, there is a rising interest in the re-assessment of the past through archeology and historiography - a notion reflected during the last years in exhibitions such as Roads of Arabia or Hajj: The Journey through Art. Such developments can be considered a shift of paradigm in thinking the image of Arabia both within and beyond the Muslim world.
Against this background, my seminar will focus on representations of Arabia in art and art historiography, comparing and interrelating Islamic and Western images of the peninsula and its nature and culture since ca. 1850. It thus seeks to critically examine the long overlooked modern preconditions of this current shift of paradigm.
We will look into the specific representational potentials of different media such as (miniature) painting, maps, photography etc. in a cross-cultural perspective, looking at Arabia both from within the different regions of the Islamic world and beyond. Based on this, we will consider how such images have - or have not - been translated into the modern narratives of art history through survey books, museum collections or exhibitions up to present. The seminar thus will revisit the image of Arabia by critically examining the intentions, functions and geo-rhetoric meanings that locally and globally could and can be associated with particular visual representations and narratives of "Arabia" and "Arab art".

Friday, May 8, 2015, 3 to 7pm, KJC 002
Friday, June 19, 2015, 3 to 7pm, KJC 002
Saturday, June 20, 2015, 9am to 6pm, KJC 002
Friday, July 17, 2015, 3 to 7pm, KJC 002
Saturday, July 18, 2015, 9am to 6pm, KJC 002