Art, Architecture and Visual Culture 1950-today

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course provides an overview of central art works, art theoretical concepts and theoretical discussions related to visual art, architecture, and visual culture in the period after 1950.

In the field of the visual art, the course covers topics from late modernism and the onset of the modernist avant-garde movement, conseptualism, the development of multi-media art practices, and the connection between aesthetics and politics - to the onset of a global art field. In the field of architecture, the course gives an introduction to architecture history from the modern and the postmodern period to contemporary architectonic developments. The course focus on exploring the contexts between the central aesthetics and artistic expressions, theoretical terms, and critical interpretive traditions. For example, the course discusses how conceptual art practices, perspectives from feminism, and topics linked to decolonialization debates, are tied to specific historical art practices and cultural circumstances, at the same time as they are general, theoretical, and critical perspectives in the course.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes:


The student

  • has knowledge of the most important tendencies in Western visual arts, architecture, and visual culture after 1950.
  • has knowledge of theoretical concepts relevant in the studies of the art after the second world war.
  • Has experience with different writing genres of texts related to contemporary art.
  • Has basic knowledge about how to critically use different sources in relation to post-war art discourses and aesthetic practices.
  • Has experience with independent analysis of aesthetic practices, in the period after 1950.


The student

  • Can analyze art from the time period (1950 - today), using relevant literature.
  • Can explain important tendencies in the arts, aesthetics, and theoretical debates related to art after 1950.
  • Can identify and present key critical and theoretical positions in the art historical literature within the period.
  • Can see the art production in the years after 1950 in a historical and political context.
  • Can express themselves in an academic language and use an academic approach in discussions about art, architecture, and visual culture after 1950.

General knowledge

The student

  • Can disseminate essential discursive debates in the arts field from the post-war period, both oral and in writing.
  • Can identify and use analytical and theoretical terms that are key to understand contemporary visual culture.
  • Can approach contemporary art and cultural field from an academic informed point of view, and use independent critical approaches to discuss the topics with peers.

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Subject Overlap
It is full overlap between KUN107 and KUN146. Students combining KUN108 with KUN146 will not get ECTS credits.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
It is full overlap between KUN108 and KUN146. Students combining KUN108 with KUN146 will not get ECTS credits.
Access to the Course
The course is open to all students at UiB
Teaching and learning methods

KUN108 is thaught in English.

The teaching will be given as lectures and as seminars, usually about 8 hours seminars for each group. If the resource situation allows it, there can be more seminar hours. The teaching will focus on exploring art, architecture, and theoretical discussions as a praxis and therefore the course will train students in reading exhibitions, art works, and architecture through visits to the local art institutions, walks in the city or writing seminars.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Compulsory attendance on seminars (75 %). As a part of the seminars, you write two shorter assignments, which must be completed and approved. These two assignments are then to be the portfolio (assessment).

The mandatory assignments are valid in the teaching semester.

Forms of Assessment

One portfolio consisting of two texts. The parts are weighed equally, and each texts should be 1,500-2,000 words. There is one single grade given for the portfolio.

Both texts must be delivered the same semester.

Grading Scale
Assessment Semester
Reading List
The required reading list consists of approx. 1,000 pages.
Course Evaluation
Course evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the University of Bergen's quality assurance system.
Examination Support Material
Not relevant.
Programme Committee
Staff at History of Art
Course Coordinator
Staff at History of Art
Course Administrator
Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies.