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CODE 65058
SEMESTER 2° Semester
MODULES Questo insegnamento è un modulo di:


The course tackles issues of methods for the study of contemporary art with particular attention to research from recent decades and to the contextual development of the art system. Critics, artists, and scholars of the sector will be involved in the course. Theoretical reflection will be be complemented by the workshop Exhibition practices and market strategies for contemporary art (prof. Chico Schoen), which enables gaining 1 cfu - Other activities. 



By addressing general issues and specific themes in relation to 20th century and present day art, the teaching aims to give students the necessary methodological tools to conduct specialised studies in the field of contemporary art.


The course aims to provide students with the necessary notions and methodological tools to correctly analyze and understand the complex phenomenology of 20th century and contemporary art. The phenomenologies of contemporary works will also be taken into account, as well as the current development lines of artistic research, and the logics governing the so-called 'contemporary art system'.

At the end of the course the student must be able to:

  • illustrate, in a precise way and with a proper vocabulary, the developments the 20th and 21st century art, and critically interpret the art works in relation to their historical and cultural context;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the methodological problems to orientate ourselves between the contemporary art historical evolution and the current aesthetic pluralism;
  • construct paths of meaning, both thematically and problematically, between the various artistic currents;
  • present a written paper, demonstrating the ability to select suitable themes and problems for an in-depth study. In the paper the student must be able to identify the appropriate sources, to construct a bibliography, to argue in an original way and with propriety of language the themes analyzed.


Lectures are supported by multimedia materials and they are designed to encourage discussions on the topics addressed. Meetings with artists and specialists in the field are planned.

Classes are held in presence. Attendance, although not compulsory, is recommended.

No remote learning is available for this course.


Methodologies for the study of contemporary art, with particular attention to the last decades’ artistic research.

Thematic focus: Art Worlds. Art and the Art System: Authors, Texts, and Methods.

The program is addressed to both attending and non-attending students.

The course will be complemented by the workshop Exhibition Practices and market strategies for contemporary art, prof. Chico Schoen (1 CFU Other activities).


Methodological problems for the study of contemporary art:

E. CRISPOLTI, Come studiare l’arte contemporanea, Donzelli, Roma 2010.

Art Worlds. Art and its system: authors, texts and methodologies:


  • A. DANTO, The Artworld, The Journal of Philosophy, Oct. 15, 1964, Vol. 61, No. 19, American Philosophical Association Eastern Division Sixty-First Annual Meeting (Oct. 15, 1964), pp. 571-584.
  • L. ALLOWAY, Network: The Artworld described as a system, Artforum, Sept. 1972, pp. 28-32.
  • H. S. BECKER, Art as a Collective Action, American Sociological Review, Dec., 1974, Vol. 39, No. 6, pp. 767-776.
  • E. CASTELNUOVO, Arte, industria, rivoluzioni. Temi di storia sociale dell'arte, Einaudi, 1985, pp. 65-83.

Non attending students (in addition to the bibliography mentioned above)

  • K. HONNEF, Definizioni critiche dell'arte contemporanea, in V. Terraroli (a cura di), L'Arte del XX secolo. 2000 e oltre. Tendenze della contemporaneità, Skira, Milano, 2010, pp. 141-149.
  • W. GUADAGNINI, Mercato dell'arte e nuove forme di collezionismo, in V. Terraroli (a cura di), L'Arte del XX secolo. 2000 e oltre. Tendenze della contemporaneità, Skira, Milano, 2010, pp. 293-299.





II semester 



Oral Exam


The examination will take place in oral form; an in-depth study will be required, to be presented at the examination in the form of a thesis accompanied by images, notes and specific bibliographical indications, on a topic dealt with in the course (the editorial standards to be followed in writing the paper will be uploaded on the Aulaweb).

N.B. The written paper constitutes an integral part of the examination and of the student's assessment: the motivations underlying the choice of topic, the ability to organise the discourse, the originality of the treatment and critical points, the quality of the sources used and the bibliographical references, the correctness and clarity of the presentation will all be taken into account.

Lecture materials will be made available to all enrolled students at the end of the course and uploaded to Aulaweb.


The paper must be sent by e-mail to the lecturer and assistants (Dr Alessandro Ferraro,; Dr Ludovico Baldelli,; Dr Stella Cattaneo,; Dr. Victoria Ferrari,; Dr. Andrea Masala, at least 10 days before the date on which you intend to sit the exam and must then be submitted to the roll call in paper form.


Students with disabilities or learning disorders

Students with disabilities or learning disorders are entitled specific adjustments, provided they upload the relevant certifications and documents on the University's dedicated webpage. See under rubric 'Students'. The documents will be validated by the relevant office within the University (Settore servizi per l'inclusione degli studenti con disabilità e con DSA dell'Ateneo) (

At least 10 days before the exam, students will have to email the instructor, Cc'ing the aforementioned office, as well as the School's deputy for matters concerning students with disabilities and learning disorders ( Please specify the following in your email:

- name, surname, student number
- course name and number
- date of your exam
- adjustments required

Once the School's representative confirms your eligibility, you will liaise with your instructor to finalize the details. The final decision on what adjustments are acceptable rests with your instructor.

Please note that any request must be sent at least 10 days before your exam, to successfully complete the process in time. Please also note that the mind maps to be used on the day of your exam have to be significantly more concise than those you use when you study.

For further information, please see:

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Quality education
Quality education