Canceled: American Art and the Culture Wars

Meaghan Walsh
Course #
ARTH 2559
Online Course?
CLAS Course
Days of the Week
Session II
Course Dates
June 21 to July 17
Course Times
1 pm to 3:15 pm

This course examines the concept of “cancel culture” in American visual culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. While the term has been coined in recent years to describe someone or something that has been “canceled” due to offensive remarks or content, this class shows how the concept of “canceling” has a long history throughout the 20th and 21st centuries in the United States. From the Hays Codes of the 1930s to the Culture Wars of the 1980s to the recent postponement of the Philip Guston retrospective, this course will investigate how visual culture played a role in constructing “cancel culture.” By examining the intersection of visual culture, politics, and mass media, this class explores why certain art and exhibitions have been censored or canceled, how social media and the popular presses have shaped audiences’ reception of images, and how artists have responded to these cultural forces in their representations. This course does not seek to “cancel” or recoup American art and artists of the 20th and 21st century, but to examine the complex forces and the artistic production that emerges from these powerful collisions.