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Course Summary

Course Description

The Arts and Commerce concentration prepares students for careers in the arts as creators, innovators, agents, and managers. It combines art – the creative expression of emotion – with commerce - the (often) public exchange of art for profit.

Career Possibilities

  • Gallery Owner
  • Music Producer
  • Artist Manager
  • Entertainment Attorney
  • Museum Curator
  • Artistic Director

Major Foundation Requirements

AH300 / Multimodal Rhetorical Argument: The Rhetoric of Uncertainty

Can one obtain absolute certainty on any given subject? Engaging in various rhetorical tasks that work both to create and to communicate knowledge, learn to speak with authority on the topic of uncertainty. By examining readings from critics such as Lyotard, Faigley and Baudrillard, as well as selections of contemporary literature, film and TV, strive to understand better what Lyotard calls the postmodern condition. Students actively engage through argument, research presentations and experience projects, using at least three different modes of communication (such as poetry, prose, oral presentation, art, dance, music, and film).

AH301 / Legal and Moral Systems of the Ancient World

Delve into the origins of legal and ethical systems: the Code of Hammurabi, the Noahide Laws, the Old Testament, the Sumerian Code of Ur-Nammu, Egyptian Ma'at, and the Tang Code. Study contracts, torts, civil law, criminal law, enforcers, and penalties. Assignments also cover ethics and morality in commerce, personal life and kinship.

AH302 / Art for Political and Social Change

Explore acts of creative expression as they are used to foment unrest, question authority, re-contextualize social and political systems, and upset the status quo. Global examples are drawn primarily from poetry, painting, music, and sculpture, from North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Concentration Core Requirements

AH310 / Music, Art and the Industrial Revolution

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, both music and visual art were profoundly shaped by the industrial revolution in Europe and America. Examine the impact of scientific, technological, economic, social, and political trends on specific artistic products. Also explore the increasing divide that developed during this period between "high" art and "low" (or commercial) art.

AH410 / World Music and the Global Market

Since the 1980s and 90s, the market for world music has been expanding. Investigate the dissemination of popular music styles from a variety of countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, South Korea, India, Senegal, South Africa, and Nigeria. Discuss how a song’s popularity can spread via YouTube, social media, film, and iTunes. Also look at how popular music styles from the United States, and the US market, profoundly shape music production around the world.

AH511 / Entertainment Industry Law

Understand the legal side of the arts, whether it means pursuing law as a career or becoming more knowledgeable about how the law might impact an artistic career. Topics include intellectual property, copyright, agency, antitrust, contracts, labor, licensing, royalties, and employment. Also analyze specific case studies from the field of entertainment law.

Concentration Electives

AH311 / The Leitmotif on Stage and Screen

During the 1850s, Richard Wagner used orchestral motives to represent abstract concepts and refer to the emotional states and qualities of his characters. Explore Wagner’s development of the leitmotif, and trace how he influenced contemporary film composers, including John Williams, Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer. Discover how the creation of recognizable leitmotifs can result in highly marketable musical scores.

AH312 / Bruckner and Heavy Metal

People often assume that heavy metal music is derived from the rock and blues tradition. Yet, the harmonic and melodic features of heavy metal are based on the European child ballad tradition, giving them more in common with Bruckner and Berlioz. Learn to apply similar listening strategies, whether listening to Bruckner or Iron Maiden. Discuss music from disparate genres and genre-busting collaborations, such as the San Francisco Symphony’s live performance with Metallica or the London Symphony Orchestra’s versions of songs by the Rolling Stones.

AH411 / Art Markets

From 2003-2007, the fine art market grew faster than even subprime housing. Yet art is not a sound investment: few paintings bought for more than $30 million have ever been resold at a profit. How do fine and folk art markets work, what determines pricing, and why do people buy art? Auction trends, art fads and pricing bubbles, gallery vs. self representation dynamics (e.g., Damien Hirst), alternative mediums for distribution (e.g. electronic, art fairs, street art). Determining value, frauds, copies, and authentication; various kinds of "originals."

AH412 / History of Set Design in the Commercial Theater

When people look at the text of a play, they typically focus on the dialogue as the primary purveyor of meaning. During live productions, however, set designs can have a profound impact. Research set design from a historical perspective, using newspaper reviews, photographs and first-hand accounts. Look at design trends and how they change over time. Then compare and contrast several different productions of the same plays. The repertoire is drawn primarily from Broadway theater.

AH413 / Curating Historical Exhibits

Explore the many ways of organizing, presenting and marketing art exhibits. Historical events offer a narrative structure for an exhibit, and they rely on familiar subject matter to draw in audiences. Learn how to use history as a tool for creating effective, meaningful and appealing museum exhibits. Visual arts — including painting, sculpture, fashion, installation art, and folk art — serve as primary media.

AH415 / Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Management in the Arts

Research the business side of the arts, including music, visual art and theater. Discuss the conflicts that arise in the process of marketing "high" art, which is self-consciously produced by artists who attempt to be free of commercial considerations. And consider the ways in which artists can take an entrepreneurial and creative approach to managing their own careers.

AH510 / Principles of Visual Design

Visual designs based on psychological principles can often prove highly effective. Zoom in on graphic design that has commercial and marketing applications using principles from perceptual psychology. Assignments incorporate Fitts’s Law and readings by Gestalt psychologists — J.J. Gibson, Kubovy and Shepard — as well as contemporary leaders in art criticism.

AH512 / Technology and the Arts in the 21st Century

Advances in technology allow artists new tools for both creating and marketing their work. Examine various technologies as sources of creativity, including digital audio and video. Then look at new technologies — including social media, YouTube, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro, and Photoshop — and the ways they have transformed the artistic marketplace.

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