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VIS1201 Ways of Seeing Art

Semester 1, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Creative Arts
Student contribution band : 2021 Grandfather Funding Cl 2
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 27 June 2022


Examiner: David Akenson


Enrolment is not permitted in VIS1201 if VSA1004 has been previously completed.


The focus of visual art in the tertiary sector has shifted from a focus on the specific qualities of the artist’s medium and biographical history, to a concern with the contextualisation of practice within a diverse and increasingly complex cultural space. As such, this course aims to orientate the student through the complex networks of social, cultural and practical ways of seeing art in the 21st Century. This course aims to develop individual competency in positioning art works and practices within broader cultural concerns to better position the student in an academic context and as a practicing artist.

This is a foundational course in the concepts of visual art. The course will introduce students to different ways in which art can be 'seen', exploring aesthetics, art history, cultural theory and their practical applications. Students will research, identify and investigate the cultural connections that are drawn between objects and their cultural, aesthetic and practical contexts. In doing so, students will establish methods of seeing or reading visual content within a broader cultural landscape, with an emphasis on the role of varied ideologies, the role of perception and critique of cultural objects.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Explain, through research, the formal and technical features of works of art;
  2. Interpret the visual signs within works of art with reference to relevant research;
  3. Develop individual competency in positioning art works and practices within broader cultural concerns;
  4. Use artists’ writings to explain and communicate the cultural contexts of works of art.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The role of observation in visual art analysis
2. Interpretation: how to read works of art
3. Industry contexts of works of art
4. Historical and cultural contexts of art 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Robertson, McDaniel 2016, Themes of Contemporary Art, Visual Art after 1980.
Smith, T 2019, Art to Come, Histories of Contemporary Art.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Description Weighting (%)
Date printed 27 June 2022