Contemporary Art History, Aesthetic Practices

The study of aesthetic practice and contemporary art history focuses on the role of the visual art in education across a wide spectrum of cultural, temporal and geographic contexts. It approaches "art" as an object defined as much by  materials and media as by ideas and their political consequences. "Education" by contrast, is approached from the perspective of what the black feminist writer Bell Hooks called "lived pedagogy" which critically refllects on structures of power (Hooks 1994).

The study area is principally responsible for the module "Art and Visual Studies".("Kunst- und Bildungswissenschaft"). This module conveys a foundational knowledge of the history of art as it has intersected with education. We consider this phenomenon as beginning in the eighteenth century, with the invention of liberal arts education and its attendant concept of the modern subject, and extending into the twentieth century's collapse of art into life. In this respect, artistic practices are an indispensable aspect of the study of art.

Courses prepare students to grapple with foundational questions of this development, including: What role does art play in a democratic society? Why is "creativity" a pervasive social value in Western cultures? How has art responded to social inequalities, including those reproduced in the public-school system? Does art have a responsibility to future generations?

Teaching is supplemented by considerations of how these questions relate to teaching planning; regular visits to exhibitions and artist studios; as well as participation in the university's Kunstraum, a project space that offers students the opportunity to work with artists and curators.



  • Prof. Dr. Jordan Troeller


  • Claudia Grond