Adult (age 16+), Art & Practice, Classes, Yard School of Art, Jennifer Rittner

Introduction to American Art History

Thursdays, May 14–June 4
5:00 pm
6:00 pm

This class is full. Register for the waitlist below to be contacted if a spot opens or to hear about future art history classes. 

This 4-part online series draws on works from MAM’s permanent collection to explore themes such as art and the natural world, representations of the human form, reflections on social issues, and historic innovations in the use of materials. Students will develop visual thinking skills that will be useful as they continue their lifelong experience in looking at art. Grab a beverage of your choice and connect with other art lovers in this lecture and conversation series. Register by the day, or for all 4 classes!

This class is online with live instruction. Students will need to have a computer, tablet, or phone with internet and access to Zoom.  

Class 1: Landscape, Still-Life and the Artist's Relationship with Nature

In this session, we will examine definitions of and perspectives on American Art. In addition, we will explore themes such as Transcendentalism, art as documentary device and American individualism. Works will include landscape paintings, still life and botanicals by Native American, African American and European American artists.


Class 2: Representations of the Human Form

In this session, we will explore artist’s depictions of the human form in portraiture, totemic art, genre paintings and sculpture. Among the topics we will discuss are representation and identity; posture, gesture and gaze; and the role of fashion and costuming in establishing setting, character and theme.


Class 3: Art and Social Issues

In this session, we will consider how artists reflect on contemporaneous social issues. Among the works we will view are those from the WPA period, post-colonial Native American art, and representations of racial, ethnic, LGBTQ+ and ableist identity.


Class 4: Materials, Form and Meaning

In this final session, we will learn about methods, mediums and innovations in art making, primarily through the screening of several short video clips of artists at work in their studios.

Member Price
$20 per class
Non-Member Price
$22.50 per class
Event Type
Adult (age 16+)
Art & Practice

Jennifer Rittner

Jennifer is a writer, educator and communications strategist. She teaches in the graduate programs at the School of Visual Arts in NYC (MFA Products of Design and MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism), courses in design history, design for social value, design and politics, and thesis writing.

Jennifer's consulting firm, Content Matters, helps creative businesses thrive by defining their voice and learning to communicate effectively with diverse audiences. Prior to consulting, Jennifer worked for Pentagram, Columbia CNMTL and the AIGA. She has been published in The New York Times, DMI: Journal, Core77, Against the Grain, and a variety of trade publications.

As an educator, Jennifer led Art Access II, an initiative designed to increase museum attendance among under-served communities through education and community outreach. She frequently writes and lectures about design and social justice.