Art History (BA Honours)

Become a well-rounded art professional, able to lead in the creation, exhibition, critical understanding and communication of visual culture in diverse environments. Bridging art creation, art history and curatorial practice, AMPD provides a unique interdisciplinary approach and the most acclaimed facilities in Canada.

The Art History program emphasizes the relationships between visual art and its social contexts, including global cultural exchange. The curriculum focuses on Canadian art, Asian art, Indigenous art of the Americas, western art and architecture, art criticism, and curatorial studies. Students have hands-on access to original works of art to explore practical applications of museum and gallery studies.

Academic Calendar – Degree Requirements

How to apply to the BA program in Art History

Sample Courses

ARTH 1130 6.00 Introduction to Art History

Provides a set of introductory skills and knowledge for all subsequent studies in Art History. The course grounds students in three crucial knowledge bases: core research and writing skills; an introduction to the institutions of the art world (such as journals, museums and galleries) and an entry-level survey of the key areas of York’s Art History curriculum. This may include art from Western, Asian, North American and other world traditions as well as international modern and contemporary art. Museum and gallery visits will also be used to provide students with opportunities to examine original artworks and to familiarize themselves with these institutions and the critical issues that surround them.

ARTH 2560 3.00 Renaissance Art and Architecture

Explores Renaissance art and architecture (circa 1400-1600) through such themes as “vision” and “space,” materials and techniques, patronage, the persona of the artist/architect, and the rise of theory alongside practice. Also considers the concept of “Renaissance” within a global context. Prerequisite: FA/VISA 1130 6.00 or any 1000-level HUMA course. Course credit exclusion: FA/VISA 2560 6.00.

ARTH 3611 3.00 Curatorial Studies: Practices of Display

Examines the medium of exhibition, particularly how the placement of artifacts creates specific aesthetic, semiotic and ideological contexts. Topics explore the display practices of curators, artists, interpreters, designers, collectors, and dealers. Consideration is given to how the arrangement of exhibitions determines the conceptual and ontological experience of art. Analysis includes a wide range of display forms including museums, galleries, artist-run centres, virtual exhibitions, as well as site specific installations by artists and curators. Readings drawn from the burgeoning interdisciplinary literature centred on exhibitions. Participants are invited to undertake research on particular exhibition sites and present their findings to the class. The objectives of this course is to give a comprehensive overview of how exhibitions are formulated and presented, to develop a critical understanding of the specificities of exhibition discourse, and to introduce a range of methodologies used in developing exhibitions.

ARTH 4521 6.00 Feeling Queerly About Feminist Art

This course investigates contemporary feminist and queer art through key theoretical writing and site visits. Readings, fieldtrips and visiting artists provide a platform for the analysis of objects, movements and practices. Representational tactics and politics are approached intersectionally through axes of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nation and ability to achieve a deeper understanding of the cultural implications of and on politicized art. Prerequisites: AP/GWST 1501 9.00 or AP/1502 6.00 and AP/GWST 3555 6.00 or AP/GWST 3556 6.00; or AP/SXST 1600 9.00 or AP/SXST 1601 6.00 and AP/SXST 2600 6.00; or permission of the Instructor. Open to: Upper level GWST majors/minors/certificate students; Upper levelSXST majors/minors/certificate students; Upper level VISA majors.