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ARTHIST 393R: Thinking Through Materials

Co-taught by an art historian and a practicing artist, this seminar, will alternate between hands-on experimentation with materials (both traditional and unconventional) and theoretical-historical consideration of significant art historical use

Class Assignment

two short essays (1,000-1,250 words) that draw upon aspects of the history of the given material so as to illuminate its use in a work of art. Your research may include technical studies, cultural histories, and works of literature, depending upon where the artwork leads you. Consult research in academic studies and peer-reviewed journals and expect to engage and cite at least five sources, primary and secondary. 

Primary Sources

A primary source is a document, recording or other source of information created at the time being studied, by an authoritative source, usually one with direct personal knowledge of the events being described.

Primary sources include diaries, letters, family records, statistics, speeches, interviews, autobiographies, film, government documents, or original scientific research.

You can find many primary source materials via Library Search. Primary sources can also be found in Rose Library.

For more detailed information, see the Primary Sources Research Guide.

Research example - Felt (Robert Morris, Joseph Beuys)

Felt (Robert Morris, Joseph Beuys)


1. Find background information 

If you use ejournals A-Z (journal title only) or Article+,(the entire citation) you will be directed to find the print of Art in America in the catalog OR ILL (I suggest the latter, even though we have the print volume at the LSC) screen shot from LSC document request

2. Find Books - Emory's Library Search and Worldcat 

Joseph Beuys and Felt, Don't forget using subject headings: Felt in art Exhibitions and Felt--In art--Catalogs, etc.  su:X in art


3. Find articles 

If you have too many results, don't forget to use facets, like peer-reviewed.  Also look for author names and core journal titles to help prioritize.  If the article is only one page, maybe skip that one? 


4. Find Images, Use Jstor or ARTstor

Robert Morris, American, 1931-. Untitled. 1969. Felt, 72 x 144 in. (182.9 x 365.8 cm). Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena; Gift of the Men’s Committee.