I'll start with Margot's positives because she does have a lot. You can tell Art History is not only her passion but pretty much her entire life. She is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to Art History. She's clearly well-traveled because she's been to nearly every museum mentioned when speaking about where specific works are housed. She has all of her prior, renowned professors on speed dial and was besties with one of the authors we had to read for the Picasso lecture. Now, was he included simply because they were grad school besties and his work was somewhat relevant to the course, or because he was a standard read for all of the sections? Hard to tell. But she is clearly bright in this field and hangs around with other bright folks. If you love art and/or history or even better are on the art history track, you'll love this class regardless of the grade you'll get because you'll learn a lot about the things you're interested in. You'll walk away feeling generally more knowledgeable about your chosen path/interests.
And that's all well and good. But if you're not really an artist, a historian, or an art historian and are simply taking this because you have to...and are juggling organic chemistry and calculus III or some other really tough, demanding classes...and could really use that "solid A" because any bump to the GPA helps, and any hit to the GPA hurts...we're at Columbia after all, so we all get it...
This is not the section to take.
Full disclosure: I have a natural aptitude for writing. I'm on a science track; however, I'm that person who has taken literature courses just for fun. I'm a late junior credit-wise, so I'm taking this on the later side of my Columbia career. And I'll tell you, no English/Lit professor at Columbia has ever marked up my margins like Margot! And that's all well and good if it's necessary. But, I found most of Margot's critiques to be very subjective/solely stylistic, and not really content related. My grades only got better (and they weren't bad, just not A range) when I conformed to her writing style...which was, well, hers, and entirely subjective. Though outwardly very pleasant (you will enjoy her class because she does have a wit and a charm), she does definitely have a chip on her shoulder when it comes to "her domain". When my critiques were content related they were mostly about how I had my own idea about a topic. But no, she would comment in the margin, it was actually "xyz" because that was what she said in class; essentially, she sought only regurgitation. And that's tough because her classes are unnecessarily lecture-heavy and there is a lot of stuff to remember. Solely based on her commentary, I was able to glean that: A) she really does not want to give out solid As because that's perfection, and let's face it, only she knows this stuff "perfectly" and B) she's a bit intimidated by people who aren't as dedicated to this field as she is and yet can still pull off pretty damn good papers. In this way, she is almost quietly passively aggressive, if that's even a thing. And the grading scheme was a bit ridiculous. She once gave me a B/B+. What does that even mean? An 86.5? An 88? And there's no outlined grading scale e.g. a 93 = A, 92 = A-, etc.
I found myself loving but not loving this class. I walked away with an A-, but that really wasn't through learning anything in particular but kind of kissing up in my papers. And that's not fair. And it's not fair that this semester, out of all semesters, she chose to give five assignments instead of "her usual" four. When I heard her say that without hesitation it came across as very tone-deaf.
But I'll give her *some* credit; she did give us a day to complete a relatively short take-home midterm and once gave a free extension out of the blue on an assignment. But I feel like those sorts of things aren't really necessary if the class is well planned and fair, or I suppose, fair to the people who are juggling really difficult classes/current circumstances and could use that solid A if they've earned it. And I was one of those people who did earn it, but sadly did not receive it because I was not "her type of student"; not the art historian, basically.
However, if a receiving a B+/A- when you deserve an A doesn't bother you in any way, and/or you have even a tangential interest in Art History, this is your class, so take it.