Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory (ACT)

Image: Homestead, Fletcher Williams III, 2018
Materials: Tin Roof, Picket Fence, Interior Wood Paneling, and Rebar
Dimensions: 44 x 44 x 84 in.

JPM’s intensive postgraduate certificate course in Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory (ACT) provides students with a rigorous introduction to art history, criticism, aesthetics, critical theory, and contemporary art practice. In-depth seminars at the institute are complemented by film screenings, studio, gallery and museum visits, ensuring a thorough engagement with a breadth of artistic praxes and institutions of the art world. For the duration of the course, students can expect to have three to four sessions per week, both at JPM and across the city.

ACT begins with classes on aesthetics in Western philosophy with careful attention to Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel and Foucault. We then move to an analysis of how the discipline of art history and the practice of art criticism emerged and transformed over time. Students survey the field of art history and criticism in South Asia in relation to developments in the West. These survey lectures will be followed by a week long seminar on ‘Shock and Awe: The Sublime in the 18th and 19th Century’. The second month of the course also includes a critical writing workshop, allowing the students to practice and engage with a variety of forms for writing about art.

The second section of the course is devoted to the foundations of critical theory with close readings of Marx, Lefebvre and the Frankfurt School, followed by seminars on ‘the many lives of images’ and ‘spaces of colonial and postcolonial modernity’. These seminars prepare students for the final section, which puts theory into direct engagement with practice. Inviting practitioners that consciously move between disciplines, institutions, pedagogy, curating and diverse forms of making and exhibiting, students are exposed to a range of contemporary creative processes.

Seminars on modernism, modernity and postmodernism open the final month of the course. These classes provide tools with which to address and understand contemporary art. Engaging with thinkers such as Geeta Kapur, Arjun Appadurai, Laura Mulvey, TJ Clark, Arthur Danto, Paul Gilroy, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, WJT Mitchell, and Jacques Ranciere, among many others, students enter the charged debates that follow from key moments in art history marked by texts such as When Was Modernism and The Black Atlantic. Classes on documentary practice, histories of photography and video art, and the unpacking of recent transmedia exhibitions like When is Space (Jawahar Kala Kendra, 2018) and The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied. (Fondazione Prada, 2017) accompany these seminars.

Throughout the course, students engage with the oeuvres of select painters, sculptors, architects, as well as video, performance, sound, digital and multimedia artists. ACT brings the very best faculty of scholars and practitioners from our city, India, and abroad; those experienced in pedagogy that tacks between lecture, discussion, close reading, seeing, and writing. ACT students are introduced to ideas and histories that allow them to develop and evolve their own academic research, writing, and professional interests in the visual arts world imaginatively.

Learning how to read, think and write critically are an essential part of the course. The history of aesthetics and the history of art, media and technology go hand in hand. Scholars have carefully selected texts, films, exhibitions and artists for each session and much of this material is available to the students on our online learning management portal, JPM Think. Students are expected to come to class well-prepared.


04 Feb - 29 Apr, 2020


Rs. 18,000
(PG Certificate)

Registrations will open on 04-Dec-2019