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ARTH 438 Contemporary Art

Upper division art history course traces visual culture from the end of World War II to the present.


For the Love of God (Hirst 2007)

For the Love of God (Damien Hirst, 2007): The platinum cast of an 18th-century skull features real human teeth and 8,601 diamonds. At the front of the cranium is a 52.4 carat pink diamond. Image available at


Profile Photo
Elizabeth Parang
Pepperdine University Libraries
24255 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90263

Getting Started

For background information, start with an exhaustive reference work such as  Grove Art Online .  Both the 'Guided Tour' and 'Tips for Users' (available from the Home page) provide useful information on searching Grove/Oxford Art Online.

Bibliographies located in books or at the end of journal articles can be very helpful.  To learn if Pepperdine has access to a particular journal, search for the name of the journal in the library catalog, or use the 'Journals & Periodicals' search feature on the Library's Web site.


Specialized Online Encyclopedias

ARTstor Images for Your Presentations

Woman with Coffeepot
Paul Cézanne. 1890 - 1894. Woman with Coffeepot. Place: Musée d'Orsay.


The best place to find images for your presentation is the database, ARTstor Log on to ARTstor, create a personal account and create an image group.  Then view information on how to Export of Power Point

You can search ARTstor by the name of an art work, by geography, by classification (for example, sculpture and instrallations), or by collection (for example, Detroit Institute of Arts Collection).  Use the Advanced Search to limit by date.

Helpful videos on using ARTstor can be found on UTube

Course Description

Contemporary Art and Film from 1945 to the Present

This upper division art history course will trace visual culture from the end of World War II to the present. The focus will not be merely on conventional visual art (painting & sculpture), but will also explore new media (video and digital art) in order to offer a broad overview of postwar and postmodern artistic practices and culture in general and consider the way that various art forms have dissolved into one another.

Our discussions will be divided thematically and chronologically and will consider the social and historical contexts in which the works were created. Emphasis will be placed on experiencing and understanding the art as an extension of our everyday world. Issues in contemporary art to be examined will include Abstract Expressionism and Action painting, Minimalism and Post-Minimalism, Process art, Performance art, Appropriation, popular culture, time and space, Earthworks and Land art, and Video art.