Art History

USD's Arts History Program examines the historical and theoretical frames that have shaped the definition of "art history" over time.

Art History majors can choose one of four intertwined paths:

History of Art

Art history, as Donald Preziosi has written, makes "the visible legible." Over the course of their college careers, students of art history are equipped to think and write with precision about art, architecture and visual culture. Attuned to perceptual process and alert to the power of images and objects, students reason with the evidence and investigate theoretical lenses, imagining and analyzing the intertwining of form, context and content.

History and Theory of Architecture and the City

This program encourages students to address contemporary social/cultural circumstances in the light of an historically grounded sense of visual expression and material culture. Courses in the history and theory of art, architecture and the city will be augmented by studies in other fields appropriate to each student�s interests.

History and Theory of Architecture is conceived for students who intend to move into fields such as architecture, architectural history and historic preservation or public arts programs, and who will work toward creative strategies of urban intervention.

Museum and Curatorial Practice

This path prepares students to think critically and pro-actively about the ways that art is positioned—in the museum and in the larger arena of public space shaping viewers—perceptions of the past and sense of the future. Mindful of the politics of representation and display, students will examine the shifting ground that reaches from the early museums of the mid-18th century to the urban interventions and cyber-exhibitions of the 21st century.

This concentration prepares students to pursue graduate work and careers in museums, galleries, artists' spaces, art in public places programs and emerging on-line venues. Enlisting the robust resources of San Diego, students gather first-hand experience through internships in USD's Hoehn Print Study Collection and University Galleries, together with the city's major museums and public art programs.

Recent student internships have included: Hoehn Print Study Collection; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; San Diego Museum of Art; Timken Museum; Museum of Photographic Arts; Lux Art Institute; New Children' Museum; ARTS: A Reason to Survive; Quint Contemporary Art. Internships further afield have included: Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC; Freer Gallery, Washington, DC.

Global History of Modern and Contemporary Art and Architecture

This path focuses on the unfolding of modern and contemporary art and architecture across a broad geographical reach. Students develop depth and breadth of knowledge as they probe the ways that art and architecture at once reflect and shape the societies in which they are produced. This concentration draws on the strength of our faculty in the history and theory of modern and contemporary art and architecture in the United States, Latin America, Eastern and Western Europe and Asia.

Students of the History of Art and Architecture will, we hope, view images and works of art and architecture as modes of reflection and of action—alert to the past while re-envisioning the future.