L&S Humanities

'This Sucks...': Controversies in Public Art

Amy Mangrich, Senior Lecturer

Course: L&S HUM 192, SEM 002
Class Number: 34915
Credits: 3 HU
Time: F 12:30 - 3:00pm
Place: GML E175

What is this course about?

Is graffiti an act of vandalism, or is it art? Do artists have the right to express confrontational ideas on the grounds of freedom of expression? If the public objects to a piece of artwork, should it be removed from view? Can public art represent the attitudes or feelings of a nation? Through these questions, we will explore controversies instigated by public art as a democratic ideal. We will investigate the role of artists, patrons, government, and citizens in representing collective identity through art. The goal of our course is to analyze our own assumptions about the complex issues surrounding art and the public. We will examine alternate perspectives and evaluate evidence from various sources before formulating opinions. We will also synthesize our experiences inside and outside of the classroom in order to define how we will participate in our civic communities.

What will I do during this course?

In this course, you will not be sitting in a stuffy classroom, you will be doing things! You will meet with your peers both face-to-face, in a campus classroom, and online, in a web classroom called Desire2Learn (D2L). In addition to reading articles, watching videos, taking quizzes, and participating in online discussions, you will also learn in a “real world” environment. Several times during the semester you will travel to locations in Milwaukee to see public art in person. You will also create your own artwork for a public audience. Because you don’t always have to be in a physical classroom, this course gives you a lot of flexibility, but requires that you have good time-management and organizational skills in order to be successful. You will document your experiences during the semester with photographs, videos and writing exercises. As a final project, you will create an online presentation telling the story of your journey through the course.

What topics will we cover in this course?

What have other students said about this course?

"It was my favorite class this semester."

"[The best part of the class were] the fieldtrips. They gave me the opportunity to get out and see what I was learning about, which in turn increased my understanding."

"[The course] created a positive change in my social mindset."

"Of all the classes I'm taking this semester, this is probably the one in which I've learned and grown the most."

"[The best part of the class was] that the teacher was so excited. You knew she had a passion for the course."

Who is the instructor for this course?

Amy Mangrich received her Master of Art and Master of Fine Art degrees in Visual Art. Her research focuses on installation in the public sphere. In addition to teaching about public art, Amy is also the co-founder of IN:SITE, an organization that supports temporary public art in Milwaukee through bi-annual exhibitions. Amy’s work at UWM includes helping other instructors use technology for teaching. She loves exploring new online tools and gadgets to learn how they can be used to improve learning (and life in general). Outside of work, Amy loves cooking, gardening, and reading Sci Fi novels.  She lives with her husband, two step daughters, and two cats in a 1927 bungalow (under eternal renovation), located in Riverwest.