Academic Courses

Center for Art and Knowledge

The Center for Art and Knowledge offers courses in art history, museum studies, and modern and contemporary art theory and practice. Courses are offered every fall and spring and are in collaboration with regional universities.

fall 2015 Course - Registration closes August 21, 2015

Art & Craft: From William Morris to DIY 

Wednesdays, September 2–December 9, 2015
–3:30 pm 

Instructor: Bibiana Obler, Associate Professor of Art History, the George Washington University 

This seminar examines the relationship between art and craft from the late nineteenth century to the present, with especial focus on the theory and history of craft as a distinctive approach to creative production. Why did William Morris turn to handicraft as an alternative to the ills of industrialization? What role did craft play in shaping national identity in Mexico, Japan, India, etc.? How did the G.I. Bill result in a proliferation of craft studios across the United States? What is the appeal of Etsy in the information age? We will consider craft through time as well as space: where and when does the carving of African masks morph from craft to art—and back again? When is sewing a handicraft and when (and where) is it the “mass production” of sweatshops? In addressing questions such as these, we will draw on art history and criticism, history, philosophy, and numerous primary texts by artists and their champions. In-class readings will be complemented by visits to the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of African Art, and the Textile Museum. Students will have the opportunity to pursue substantial research on a topic of their choosing.

$400; $350 for members. Register here before August 21,2015.

Please note that registration through The Phillips Collection is for auditing purposes only and does not include academic credit from GWU.

In collaboration with George Washington University.

About the Partnership with the George Washington University
The Phillips Collection has a wide-ranging partnership with George Washington University, including co-organization of the Conversations with Artists series, internships, an art therapy program, art history courses at the Center, and an annual postdoctoral fellowship position.