All Ratings and Reviews for George T Baker
I took History of Photography with Baker, and was initially extremely excited to study under him. About a week into the course, I unfortunately couldn't keep up my enthusiasm. I'll admit the man is truly passionate about the subject, and does his best to inspire the class-- but I would have to say that 75% of what we discussed just seemed pompous and utterly subjective... sometimes I don't think HE even knew what he was trying to say. We had a midterm that he didn't return to us until ninth week, and a final ten page research paper. The amount of reading was astronomical, and difficult to incorporate into the research paper. All in all, it was a disappointing class. I don't think I would take Baker again.
Pros: Baker gives really engaging lectures, and you can tell how excited he is about the topic. Having met most of the TAs during review sessions, they all seemed extremely friendly, responsive, and knowledgeable about the class. Overall, I gained a really good understanding of Modernism as a whole and the philosophies of the art movements comprising it. I'd absolutely recommend this class to anyone with a strong interest in art history from 1860-1940.
Cons: I found this class to have a much heavier workload than anticipated. There were probably 20-80 pages of readings per week, which were often difficult to follow and only loosely related to the week's topic. I know a lot of students managed to get through the class without ever doing any reading—but if you're like me and like to stay on top of reading assignments, just know it will take a solid chunk of your time.
There are four writing assignments total: 2 long-term essays (5-7 page papers that you get a couple of weeks to complete), the midterm, and the final.
The two long-term essays were very doable. The midterm and final were INSANE, which was probably a result of the shift to online learning. For both tests, we had ~36 hours to complete about 8 pages of writing. Despite the professor and TAs insisting that these exams would take no more than 2 hours, I (and many other students) spent at least 12-15 hours on each. The prompts were pretty simple, but required extensive quotes from assigned texts and sometimes involved artworks that we barely touched on in class. Luckily, these were graded more leniently.
Some additional advice:
DO NOT buy the textbook—he lists it as "required," but eventually uploads pdfs of the required excerpts to CCLE.
Most of your essays will involve comparisons between artists or movements. Although this may have been specific to my TA, I NEVER received instructions on how to write a comparison essay. This made it really hard to know where to start with any of my writing assignments.
I had taken an art history course back in high school that was cumulative, but as the title of this class states, it is ONLY modern art with minimal references to the Renaissance and Egyptian art and so on. I thought this course would be easy with a 20% equal distribution to each of the two essays, final, midterm, and discussion, but I was greatly mistaken. The grade SOLELY DEPENDS on your TA. My TA was very knowledgable and offered insight and help into the artworks in the course, but this TA graded very harshly although this TA seemed like a really nice person. The average for all essays was a B+, even if you have given it your utmost effort and thoroughly knew the content. You do NOT need to buy any textbooks for this class as all readings are posted on CCLE. The course is interesting with all the artworks you get to learn about and the professor is very lively and passionate. But WARNING, you will never see some artworks that you may have seen before the same way again because the professor always finds something phallic or sexual about it. The readings range from ten to over thirty pages. I took notes on each one and it would take hours to comprehend the text because art is very objective, but in the class, we are more focused on the physical aspects of art and the context of each era of art. The first essay will have you compare and contrast two paintings and the second one will have you compare and contrast two sculptures. The midterm will include slide ID which makes you identify the artworks with its title, date, and artist and the other part is the compare and contrast essay. The final has slide ID and it also has more compare and contrast essays and one longer essay that wraps all the themes of the course. ALL ESSAYS THAT ARE WRITTEN IN THE CLASS (whether it be alone or in a test) MUST INCLUDE THE SUPPORT OF THE READINGS. So, take this class if you can write well and make art your beach. I tried my best, but it wasn't enough for an A (HA!).
Baker is an absolute psychopath. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt so many times, but he's a bigot, he's not understanding, and this class broke me. To start I want to talk about the lectures. He took them off a week after posting them, forcing students to stay on track. The papers/ tests were absolutely soul-crushing. This class has 4 papers so you're basically constantly working on one of them. For the midterm, we only had 24 hours to write 9 pages of formal analysis of two paintings. I am a slow writer and I'm always worried about my grades so I literally spent 16 consecutive hours researching and then writing. I had to skip classes to get it done. For the final, we had 48 hours to write 7 pages on two sculptures which wasn't as bad considering I had more time to think about what I really wanted to say. Don't even get me started on how disrespectfully he speaks to students. He also was constantly making creepy remarks about the female body in nude paintings. The way he objectified the female body was most disgustingly noticeable in Manet's "Olympia" and Gauguin's "Spirit of the Dead Watching" (which is a nude painting of a thirteen-year-old which yikes). He also glorified a sculpture about rape and a sculpture made in Nazi Germany. He assigned a reading that had the N-word in the first sentence (it was about primitivism). Honestly, how is this guy still working here. IF YOU ARE SEEING THIS, SAVE YOURSELF AND DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS.
Baker has a no-electronics policy for lectures. He also pressures people to attend lectures, although there are no consequences if you dip. Your grade in the class WILL depend on which TA you get, so pray that you get a good one, because your TA determines your grade. Find a lenient TA and you'll be chilling.
There are two papers to submit on your own, one midterm, and one final. Each paper is 20% of your grade, the midterm is 20%, the final is 20%, and participation in discussion is 20%. Midterms and finals have a "slide ID" portion of the exam, where you're required to ---MEMORIZE--- the name, date, and artist of a piece of art. There are more than 60 pieces of art to identify. Not fun, but there are tons of quizlets out there to help you out. The essay prompts were not too bad, as long as you pay attention and somewhat skim the readings, you'll be fine.
Baker's lectures were more or less entertaining and funny. Of course, the subject matter can be dull sometimes, but he always cracks us up with a funny (borderline inappropriate) joke. But all in all, he's a great prof.
His lectures were interesting from someone who has never taken an Art History before
There were two papers, a midterm, and a final exam (both midterm and final were in class written and we had to memorize a couple dozen paintings, artists, and dates). Participation was required and there was probably an hour of reading per week.
its a lot of work but manageable if you put the time in
Doable to get an A, but not the easiest GE
Selling all required textbooks for less than new value!! Text at 6502733904
When he starts with introducing modern art as modern French art, I had a feeling this class was not worth it. I don't know how the class or professor has such high ratings, but as a non humanities major with no background in art aesthetics, I would never recommend this course.
You would get a lot of useless reading materials. While you may take some notes from those fancy words (basically intended to be like a snob), you can have the same amount of digestions from any online art forums within minutes. His lectures are boring, always paralleling the same concepts. Some people might disagree, but I had fewer than 10 pages of lecture&reading notes and learned everything I need online and did fine with the exams and essays. Despite zero engagement from the professor, he would still try to intimidate students with the difficulties of understanding the insights of art (I had assumed that his job was to make the process easier).
I still walked away with a lot from this course, but what I learned about art was mostly not taught by him. It is not simply that our tastes differ, rather that I do not recommend his approaches at all, as a mere student of course.
SELLING REQUIRED BOOK Theories of Modern Art by Chipp for $15. I think it’s about 25 or 30 bucks from the textbook store. Text me 6264666125 if interested
Selling all textbooks 424-371-4691
Fun class but prof was behind on syllabus a lot because he would spend too much time on one topic. Sometimes was hard to follow what his main points were because he goes off on tangents a lot.
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