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VSA1000 Introduction to Art Theory

Semester 1, 2015 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Arts and Communication

Contents on this page


Examiner: Kyle Jenkins
Moderator: Stephen Spurrier


This course views the changing role of art within the 20th Century involving Modernism and Post-Modernism (1900-1990s). The course will explore the various art movements and related artists who were central in this period of time. Students will be asked to research, reflect, interpret, describe and explain the events, histories and artistic developments that occurred in this period of art as it is central to understanding various historical and contemporary artistic practices.


This course will offer a 20th century historical perspective of the visual arts and establish the basic philosophical, artistic and theoretical concepts which have developed, shaped and produced a variety of artistic outcomes which are seminal within Modernism and Post-Modernism. Students will also be encouraged to appreciate the historical underpinnings which have shaped and directed the practice of art in the 20th century by explaining and comparing the various art movements and artists that were central to this period of art.


On completion of this course students will :

  1. examine the development of artistic practices, ideas and concepts through art movements drawn from various periods of the 20th century
  2. research, explore, develop and evaluate ideas through reflective thinking to fulfil the requirements for all assignments
  3. communicate in writing by clearly and logically expressing ideas pertaining to art historical and theoretical issues, supported by evidence of research and analysis
  4. work independently in developing, understanding and adapting ideas, and being responsible for their personal knowledge in completing the assignments.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Early 20th century movements (1900-1933) 33.00
2. Mid-20th century movement (1934-1965) 33.00
3. Late 20th century (1965 ? 1990?s) 34.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Foster, H, Krauss, R, Bois, Y, Buchloh, BHD, & Joselit, D 2011, Art Since 1900: modernism, antimodernism, postmodernism 1900 to 1944 (Vol. 1), 2nd edn, Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Foster, J, Krauss, R, Bois, Y & Buchloh, BHD 2011, Art since 1900: modernism, antimodernism, postmodernism (Vol 2: 1945 to the present), Thames & Hudson, London.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Bird, M 2012, 100 ideas that changed art, Laurence King Publishing, London.
  • Harrison, C & Wood, P (eds) 2002, Art in theory, 1900-2000: an anthology of changing ideas, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.
  • Hughes, R 2002, Nothing if not critical: selected essays on art and artists, Penguin Books, London.
  • Stiles, K & Selz, P 2012, Theories and documents in contemporary art:an anthology of artists' writings, University of California Press, Berkeley.
  • Documents of contemporary art, 2012, Whitechapel Gallery, MIT Press, Cambridge.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Private Study 165.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 100 30 30 Mar 2015
ASSIGNMENT 2 100 50 04 May 2015
ASSIGNMENT 3 100 20 01 Jun 2015

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

    External and Online:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students? responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

    It is the students? responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    not applicable

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    not applicable

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.