Module Catalogue 2023/24

FIN3027 : Art since 1945: Postwar to Pluralism

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Stephen Moonie
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
FIN1013Art Histories I
FIN1014Art Histories II
Pre Requisite Comment

Students should have successfully completed stage 1 Art History modules and one stage 2 Art History module.

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The module aims to provide students with an understanding of major developments in art in Western Europe, the U.S. and Latin America from the end of World War II to the emergence of pluralism at the turn of the 1970s. Students will investigate the impact of historical events and theories, as well as shifts in artistic practice. Students will develop an understanding of key works, theories and debates including Abstract Expressionism, Art Informel, Nouveau Réalisme, Happenings, Seriality and ‘Dematerialization.’ During their study, students will enhance their critical and art historical tools to analyse formative influences on the shift from modernist to postmodernist forms of art during the period.

Outline Of Syllabus

Alongside the establishment of core historical, political and cultural context for the module, the lectures cover topics such as: Abstract Expressionism; Art in Post War Paris; Debates on ‘High’ and ‘Low’ culture; The Neo-Avant-Garde; The Object; Happenings, Seriality and ‘Dematerialization.’ The lecture programme is flexible in accommodating diversity of material and in giving emphasis to elements of the syllabus covered by national or local exhibitions.
The seminar programme complements the contextual framework offered by the lectures through discussion of key texts, which consist of primary critical texts from the period and important art-historical texts. Students are expected to develop close visual analysis of artworks, supported by reference to critical and theoretical texts.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1. Students will gain an understanding of the trajectory from traditional art forms to diversification and de-aestheticization
2. Students will have gained knowledge of the impact of influential theory on the development and critical reception of visual art
3. Students will have gained knowledge of the values associated with High Modernism and the properties of salient artworks
4. Students will gain a deep knowledge of core theoretical texts and be able to critique them against visual material and within the context in which they were produced.
5. Students will develop a wide range of theoretical approaches to analysing the issues raised during the course.
6. Students will become aware and critical of the specific ways in which institutional and contextual factors influence creation and reception of artworks.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. Students will learn to think critically about cultural material.
2. Students will learn scholarly methods of reaching independent conclusions. They will have learned to justify their individual observations in relation to visual evidence.
3. Students will have learned to structure their writing so that it presents arguments effectively and expresses conclusions coherently.
4. Students will be able to critically appraise contextual and theoretical factors and their influences on visual material
5. Students will enhance their skills in analyzing artworks in relation to context

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Online lecture materials.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00In-person lectures.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading113:0033:00Lecture and Seminar preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00In person seminars.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities111:0011:00Online asynchronous seminar enhancement.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study150:0050:0010 hours for formative assessment. 40 hours for summative assessment.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study173:0073:00Independent study
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
FIN2017Art Since 45: Postwar to Pluralism
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module will revolve around weekly lecture materials, delivered both in person, and online via Recap. These will be supplemented by in-person seminars and asynchronous structured learning activities in order to foster group discussion and analysis.

Lectures: to allow definition of the scope of the syllabus, an introduction to a body of knowledge, and modeling of the level and nature of the analysis required.

Online lecture materials shared via ReCap: to allow definition of the scope of the syllabus, an introduction to a body of knowledge, and modelling of the level and nature of the analysis required. These are broken down into smaller sections for ease of online digestion.

Seminars: to encourage interaction and the development of cognitive and key skills; to allow preparation and presentation of directed research on specific issues and case studies.

Asynchronous structured learning activities: to develop essay writing skills, visual analysis, and better encourage interaction between peers in their analysis and discussion of the course content.

Nb. In person lectures and seminars can move to synchronous and asynchronous online delivery as required in response to pandemic-related restrictions.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A1002500 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M500 word summary of a critical text.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The course work affords students the opportunity to conduct research with seminar and peer support into particular areas of interest, to develop their organizational and presentational skills, and then to demonstrate their ability to think independently in using their group-work to inform their individual essay.

The essay demonstrates the student’s ability to set their own question and to absorb and critique information and then present an argument in relation to a specific topic. It demonstrates the student’s ability to relay an argument in a clear manner using appropriate academic writing skills.

The textual analysis requires the students to provide a short synopsis of a set text. This is an essential research skill which tests their ability to read a text closely and explicate it, and which will be required when developing the assessed essay. Written feedback is provided which assists the student to apply the experience of this formative exercise to the summative essay assignment.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.