This course is a specialized survey of art produced after World War II, focusing especially on that which was created in the United States. Throughout the semester, we will examine post-WWII art within the larger context of the 20th and 21st centuries, frequently looking to Asian, African, and European artists for points of comparison and analysis. The objective of the course is to give both an overview of the major movements and figures influencing contemporary art, while fostering a critical analysis of the contexts in which these objects were and are produced. The readings each week will include critical and contextual materials, from artists' statements and literary sources to contemporary art historical commentary. Throughout, we will address issues in the vocabulary of art and in the intellectual contexts of specific artists, be they political, social, or personal. To this end, we will listen to music, watch movies, and read poetry, all in an attempt to grasp the environment of the period we are studying. At the conclusion of the semester, we will be able to answer the question of why visual art in the latter half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century is so dramatically different from that which preceded it.