In her six lectures, Prof. Adams is giving us an introduction to important moments in the history of American art as well as encouraging us to think about important questions underlying all artistic production: Who decides what art is and how it is conserved and presented? Who is art for? What is the relationship between money (art patrons) and what artists actually produce?
The first three lessons have already given me a lot to think about. Looking at the history of the museum, we have been asked to think about what the function of museums should be – conservations, education or innovation. What is the relationship between a work of art and the space it appears in? How much do artworks influence the architecture of the space they appear in and how much does the architecture of museums influence new works of art?
In "Motor City" Prof. Adams talked about the relationship between technology and the form of urban landscapes, and consequentially between people and changes in the landscape. In "The Great Depression" she spoke about art in a particular historical period, but also about the positive role the government can play to support art in times of economic crisis.
Prof. Adams invites everyone to keep a journal of questions and comments about the lectures so that we will be ready to talk about your ideas during the last lecture. This is a great idea. In the meantime, I would love it if you shared an idea or two here, just to get started!