professor
Anne Higonnet

May 2021

I had high hopes for this class given that Prof. Higonnet is considered a legend at Barnard, but maybe it was zoom/covid/TA strike/every other problem of the Spring 2021 semester but I was left disappointed. The zoom lectures left something to be desired. She was hard to follow at times and moved around the set works without doing deep into any one. I came in with some knowledge of art history, so maybe that's why this course didn't really satisfy me. I think it was interesting that she brought in a number of modern works throughout the course. If you are taking it on zoom be aware that there will be two breakout rooms each class with a random assortment of people from a 300 person lecture. The grading policy was all over the place. Some TAs were nice some TAs were mean. There was no overall grading policy and they were very heavy-handed. I would not say that this was as much of a cakewalk as I had hoped. Also, you didn't even need to attend the lectures to write the papers, they were 100% analytical. Can't really speak on the final because it was canceled due to the TA strike. As an individual, Prof. Higonnet was very accommodating to the strike, shifting the point values around, setting up some limited in-person events, but overall, I wasn't "changed" by the class. The grading policies and lack of really getting into the material makes it less likely I would take this class again.

Mar 2021

While I love Anne Higonnet, and think she is an adorable and impassioned lecturer and would love to take another course with her if possible, this course was a waste of time. I took the course with two friends, and we all came to the same consensus. Seeing as I took it the first semester it was ever offered, I can understand the occasional hiccup. But break-out rooms were always painfully long, and PAINFULLY awkward if you weren't with a TA, as people tried to fill 15 minutes with small talk on readings they didn't do. The syllabus also did not make sense, as one week we would speak about colonial Caribbean clothing and the next, the rise of haute couture, and the next, athleisure. The chat function was probably the worst part of the course. I love to screw around a little in the chat, but fellow students would just send messages about fashion YouTubers during class and ask the professor if they could come in and speak to us. I don't even mean to sound elitist, I love YouTube. But having a 22-year-old thrift-upcycler come to class to speak to us about... thrifting? was not exactly going to teach us anything. Just go thrifting like we all do now? My TA was also an impossible grader (once gave me a D on a reading response) and was just generally unfriendly and would not offer help when asked. The course was fantastic in that there were no papers or exams, but because our grade was made up entirely of reading responses and my TA would make unhelpful and short comments on my reading responses, my grade definitely suffered. This course sounds SO interesting in theory but is in fact disorganized and not worth the time. It also just... isn't an art history class? I think clothing can be an art form, but this was more of a history class that hopped around depending on historical moments Professor Higgonet was familiar with. I already knew quite a lot about contemporary fashion going into the course and came out of the course knowing a little more about historical fashion, save for the fact that I did learn what ruffs and codpieces were (very important).

Feb 2021

I liked this class so much in the beginning! like I would smile cheek to cheek in the class. The prof was amazing, with light course works, lots of discussions, and amazing photos some of which prof took herself. ALSO THE CHAT FUNCTION OF THIS CLASS. THE BEST. There were lots of moving components at once, but it was not so bad in my opinion. How the weekly writing assignments were being graded was really confusing in the beginning but the TAs are really helpful. Honestly give your opinion about the topic that week and what the author wrote rather than focusing on the evidence from the text. Otherwise great class on the surface. HOWEVER, the problem I had was that as we continued with the class, I lowkey felt the class was classist. Like we mostly focused on rich people's clothing. like even when we were learning about how clothes create a class divide in society, it was focusing on the rich. Clothes and gender, mostly of rich people. Clothing and LGBTQ+ identity, mostly about rich people. As a low-income student, I felt so invisible and suffocated towards the end of the sem. Like sometimes this class screamed privilege. Like everything about this class was centered around high society and only considered them as the standard for art. It almost erased the existence of the less fortunate people. ANOTHER BIG PROBLEM I HAD WITH THIS CLASS WAS COLONIALISM: When we learned of how clothes affected colonialism, it was from the perspective of the white people. Like it completely ignored how colonialism impacted and destroyed people's life. For example, when we learned about the colonialism of India, she focused on how the Europeans stole Indian techniques and used them to create the most beautiful clothes. However, it was shown from how it was an advancement in the European clothing world. She totally ignored how much it hurt the everyday citizens of India. The ones who were forced to give up on their livelihood so that European elites could wear pretty clothes. In other words, we focused on what Europeans gained from it. As a student from a country that was colonized, I felt so frustrated and angry. To summarize, this is a clothing and art history class, I guess we thought of art more rather than people's history but I felt she could have done much better. This class would be better if it was named Rich White European's clothing, than simply clothing. BUT IT IS A EASY CLASS and you will come out seeing clothes in a completely different way.

Jan 2021

My queen Prof Higonnet who should up to class impeccably dressed every time. Readings were always interesting and so were her lectures. I could listen to her talk about fashion and craft and feminism for hours. Her slides are mostly pictures but she always has incredibly insightful elements she adds to it. We would go to breakout rooms on Zoom which were sometimes so insightful but mostly painfully awkward. But in the main Zoom, the chat feature was always going crazy with people adding their own super interesting and funny comments. This class really went into depth on how clothing has been made throughout the years, the artistic depiction, clothing in terms of politics and social movements, etc. I cannot recommend this class more for anyone who is interested in fashion. I had never taken an art history class so I was a little nervous but it wasn't a problem at all.

Aug 2017

Anne Higonnet is the best professor I have so far had at Columbia. As a lecturer, she is engaging, incredibly knowledgeable, passionate and does her best to involve every student in the class in the discussion. Her lectures are built around input and debate from the students rather than her simply speaking at the class, and she gives a sense of really appreciating what everybody has to say. As a person, she is an absolute gem. Prof. Higonnet is both personable, kind and an absolute badass. Her outfits are consistently very cool and she interacts with students in a way that makes you feel relaxed, but also very much in awe of her. The combination of her extensive expertise and welcoming, funny personality meant that I always wanted to do better in her class, and found myself working very hard to impress her and do well. Essentially, I don't have a single bad thing to say. I took her class over the Summer in Paris and found it to be the most rewarding experience I've had at Columbia. Whilst other classes and professors where beginning to annoy me with their approach to education, ArtHum with her was a very welcome breath of fresh air.

Jul 2017

Anne Higonnet gets a 10/10 in my book. She is the spitting image of a classic art historian. She loves all the details, inner workings, historical contexts and it is so fun to watch her get all worked up over things most of us had never noticed! A previous review called the class boring. That's the kind of basic response I would expect by those who sit in the back row shopping on Zara or scrolling through FB for the 10000000th time that day. In fact, this is a rich class which leaves you with a broad but strong knowledge of the art history you NEED to know in order to understand references and stay relevant. Sections and Lectures are in perfect synchronicity (better if you have a good TA). Readings were long (sometimes tough) but I literally think about them almost every day. Tests, with the many identification slides and 3 minute short answer sections, were tough and there's no way around them if you don't keep up in class. That said, if you're an effective student, there's no reason why you cannot get a stellar grade in this class. What's more, you'll be better for taking it in the long run.

Aug 2016

I took this class because I think that a basic knowledge in art history is an important aspect of functioning as an intellectual person. That said, this class gave me nothing. I went to class a few times in the beginning of the semester but stopped showing up shortly thereafter. The class was boring with most students mindlessly writing down every word Higonnet said (which was seemed thoughtless to me). There was nothing about the class that was at all worth showing up for. It was not at all stimulating and seemed to be a complete waste of time. If you want a class where you can spend an hour and 15 minutes hearing Higonnet speak in flowery, insubstantial, repetitive phrases...go for it. I wouldn't exactly recommend wasting your tuition money on that. The class wasn't all bad though. The artworks chosen were interesting and that made it fun studying for the midterm and final. It's a 4 credit class that is an easy A so that's also nice if you need a GPA boost.My TA also happened to be incredible and she made the class 10000000% more thought provoking as did the museum trips. All in all, everything but the lecture was pretty enjoyable. But you can probably gain just as much by making friends with the Art History PHD students in Avery and a trip to the Met.

Apr 2016

I liked Professor Higonnet—her lectures were clear. The workload is fairly manageable—she recommends that you do the reading, but honestly, I did no reading at all and did very well on my midterm. All this class requires in terms of testing is memorization, and if you don't go to lecture, make sure to look up the key works (3 or 4 per class) and write down historical significance/any other important information. I skipped 1/3 of the lectures, maybe more, and did great, but I did go to discussion section every week. The essays are not as easy, but if you pay attention to her methods of analyzing the art work, you will do fine—just stand in front of the assigned art for an hour and jot down everything that comes to mind. Take the testing advice with a grain of salt, because memorization is my forte. If you aren't good at that, you will have a hard time on the midterm and final.

Jan 2015

Professor Higgonet is an amazing lecturer. Her lectures are engaging and interesting and always perfectly prepared for the class. I'm an art history major, and I thought this was one of the easiest Art History classes I've taken. Yes, you have to memorize slides but really a low number comparatively. I took this class and never had a conversation or interaction with Professor Higgonet. I liked my TA and they are really the ones there to interact with students. She doesn't take attendance, doesn't care if you spend the entire class on your laptop on fb, but its worth your while to go to class and pay attention.

May 2013

In comparison to the first semester intro course with Moxey, this class is amazing. I may feel this way because I personally find the subject matter of this course (Renaissance-Modern Urban Planning) to be WAY more intriguing than the first semester subject matter (cave paintings-renaissance). However, most people agree with me. Professor Higonnet is a fine lecturer. She is obviously more knowledgable about some topics than others, but she willingly acknowledges this. The reading is light and really doesn't need to be done when assigned...I usually started out the semester doing all of them and then when life got crazy I skimmed them lightly. As long as you review for the exams you are fine. The exams are very fair. The midterm only consisted of IDs and comparisons, and the final was the same with an essay. The paper topics involve going to museums but it's fun and is a good chance to just leave morningside heights.

May 2012

Prof Higonnet is actually brilliant. In each of her lectures she is able to flawlessly integrate history, politics, psychology, and even fashion into her interpretations and explanations of various pieces of art. Honestly, I hated having guest lectures, not because they were always terrible (although they sometimes were) but because I enjoyed her lectures so much. Each lesson was intellectually rich and rewarding to attend. Considering that this is a required introductory course, it is incredibly fortunate that Prof Higonnet lends her expertise to the matter. Higonnet builds the curriculum around exhibits occurring throughout the semester, allowing the students to get as much as possible out of the art class. I would highly, highly recommend this course even if you are just looking for an introduction into art of he modern era. Overall a wonderful survey of artwork between the renaissance and modernity.

Oct 2009

I took Intro to Art History with Professor Higonnet last semester and I'm in the process of taking 19th- Century Art with her this semester. I think that a lot of the negative reviews can be explained away because the reviewers were probably going to Professor Higonnet with problems and/or questions that they should have taken to their TAs. She's got 5 TAs for a reason. She's quite the notable art historian, and can't really be troubled with petty questions regarding the grade your TA gave you on a paper...you should really go to your TA with questions about your mid-term, final, papers, etc. It's their job. Professor Higonnet is the reason I decided to be an art history major. I was at the Spring 2009 program planning meeting, and she said something to the effect of "Art is the only beautiful thing that people have ever done..." and it melted my heard a little bit. She is eloquent, always prepared, and in a way, it's almost as if she puts on a performance of sorts every lecture. It's highly amusing when she comes up with a new idea or concept while she's lecturing. She's very, very organized. I need structure to perform optimally, and she definitely provides an adequate amount of it. For example, of the three art history professors I have at the moment, she was the first to post a review for the mid-term, and did so almost three weeks before the exam which was really helpful because the others more or less waited until the week before the test. And she does the powerpoints herself and sends out the mass e-mails to the class. I've been in a class in which there has been miscommunication between the professor and the TAs, and even the TAs weren't sure what to tell you what was on the exam, but since she e-mails you her personal expectations, you know just what you're getting into. I definitely like 19th-Century Art better than Intro to Art History and I think it's because Professor Higonnet does all of the lectures. I will readily admit that there are some awful guest lecturers in the Intro course-- this applies to both semesters of Barnard's Intro. Some people might be noted scholars, but they're just not very good at communicating their ideas. Her Intro class in the spring is A LOT better than Moxey's class in the fall, however, so if you're thinking of taking Intro to Art History to fulfill a GER, take it in the spring with Professor Higonnet.

Jun 2009

This class comes down to one thing - memorizing. If you are able to memorize a bunch of slides, titles, dates, etc and spit it back out on a test you'll do just fine. The papers are fairly easy and the grading really depends on who your TA is. I had Emily Beeney and she was great, somewhat difficult grader but good overall. The guest lecturers can sometimes be hard to understand and you may find yourself falling asleep during the lectures but try not to. The lectures are the most important thing. I wouldn't bother buying the textbook, you don,t need it and any time you want to consult it you can just look online. The weekly readings are annoying if you actually try to do all of them but its very easy to get away with not doing them. Overall, this class is a good way to fulfill your art requirement if you are good at memorizing. The best thing I did was find someone to trade off attending lectures with so I only had to go once a week.

May 2009

The material is all covered and most of the lectures were interesting. BUT if you happen to have an undesirable TA your semester can be ruined. Slide memorization is straight forward but the grades given for any writing portion of the class seem arbitrary. If you are considering taking this class to fulfill a visual arts requirement, take something else.

Dec 2007

Though she is a adequate lecturer, Prof Higonnet is NOT A GOOD TEACHER! in my opinion, she doesnt care about her students AT ALL. SHE IS COMPLETELY NOT ACCOMIDATING and when she gives the midterm and the final she posts 50-100 slides and makes you look up the date, artist and name of the painting. She thinks this will help you learn, but IT DOESNT. its just an annoying waste of time. she is obviously completely inconsiderate of students heavy work schedule. basically just getting the slide names takes so much time for the final that you could basically be done studying for a different final. if you want to take 19th century art wait for CRARY, hes nicer.

Aug 2007

I had to review in response to what someone had said about this class being a grade ruiner. While Professor Higonnet does expect a lot of slide memorization for the midterm and final, she tells you exactly what she's looking for. Really, art history has to have a lot of memorization and slides. It's not her fault. Aside from that, I agree that she is a good lecturer, but sometimes the guest lecturers are a little boring. I didn't attend class/discussion section enough so I deserved my B+. Basically, go to class and you'll be surprised at what you remember, when it comes down to studying or taking the exams. Take a laptop with you, since she posts the powerpoint slides sometimes only minutes before class is due to begin.

Jul 2007

Prof. Higonet was an interesting lecturer, but I would not take this course as the grading was very arbitrary. Although she did not lead discussion sections, she took samples from our papers (which were partially based on discussion) and graded them herself. Some of the exam questions were written in an unclear way and did not make much sense even when explained. Still, the exams were graded very harshly. At the podium, she seems friendly and carismatic, but in person she comes across as petty and mean spirited, especially if you talk to her about your grade. This is a professor that confuses "challenging" with "punishing," and your grade will suffer for it.

May 2007

I want to write a review for Professor Higonnet because I believe the dissenting opinion needs to be expressed. I did not like her as a professor at all. She is so aloof and AWKWARD in office hours. Seriously. It's the most awkward office hours you'll ever go to. She also hesistates to give any feedback, ever. I'm not bitter -- in fact I did well in her class, but it's almost frustrating to have someone so knowledgable, but so unreachable. (literally and figuratively). The email comment is no joke. She absolutely ignores her emails. What the hell is up with that?!

Mar 2007

Wondeful professor and material covered. Unfortunately, endless memorization for the midterm and final ruin the class. Higonett seems to assume her class is the only class you are taking which is not only frusterating but also detrimental to your grade in other classes. It's a shame.

Jan 2007

First the good side. Prof. Higonnet was knowledgeable, well organized and articulate. She was in the process of writing a book on museums, so this course was a good adjunct of her. She is friendly and encourages class discussion to a limited degree. Prof. Higonnet made good use of Courseworks to post her syllabus and copies of the various slides used during the course. Now, the less good. The readings were well chosen and quite heavy. Unfortunately, never were any of the readings discussed or addressed. They just seemed to be an appendage unrelated to her lectures and had little or no effect on the course grade. As others have noted, SHE DOES NOT ANSWER E-MAILS, even to clarify her syllabus. There were a number of museum visits connected with the course, but her presentations there seemed superficial; she herself did not show up to a few of he museums because she had not received permission, in some case, to lecture there. Overall, the course suffered from indigestion since she seemed to discuss every museum under the sun superficially while not going into any depth about the truly important institutions. Perhaps, she was only doing the first draft of her book. The final exam was "cancelled" and the course grade depended on a few short and one longer take home papers. This does not mean that her grading was "easy". A number of students have commented on her clothing and how well dressed she came to class. This is totally irrelevant to the course and is sexist!

Jan 2006

My favorite class last semester. Basically everything that the other reviewers said is true, but all I know is that I would sit in class, engrossed. There were actually a couple times when I looked at my watch not to see when class ended but in the dread of the lecture ending. I was just fascinated by the material. All my friends in the class also loved it. It's annoying that there are required sections, it's annoying that your papers require actual references to the readings, but a lot of things in life are annoying. We're at school not just for the outcome but the experience of learning itself. All I know is that this learning experience was supremely enjoyable.

Jan 2006

Prof. Higonnet is an amazing woman. She is smart, eloquent, well-dressed, and extremely knowledgable. However, you have to admire her from afar because there are no questions taken during lecture, she doesnt respond to emails, and is basically inexcessible. The TAs are great and helpful...but if you want her attention you may have to schedule meetings with her after. Class. The material for the class is amazing! She does a lot of social theory and vosual culture but the papers are formal analyses that must reflect the ideas in the readings (visual culture and social theory). Take this class if you have the time to devote to it. Its not as easy A, but its certainly possible.

Dec 2005

While I like Professor Higonnet, I have mixed feelings about the class. Higgonet intersperses lots of social theory and cultural context in her course, some times (not always) at the price of reducing the time she actually engages with changing pictorial/formal practices. She is very good at this, and if this is your area of interest in art history then you should totally pursue taking her class: she is funny, lively, articulate and informed. The downside is that I believe many people had difficulties "reading" a painting formally without any prior art history knowledge, which was problematic considering the TAs wanted the focus of papers to be on formal qualities of specific works of art. Also, if you are more interested in changing pictorial styles, phenomenology etc. Higgonet's class - and arguably any class on 19th century art - will not be the right place for you.

Nov 2005

I like Prof. Higonnet personally, and I'd agree that she's better dressed than the average professor, but I find her lectures confusing and flowery. When she talks about art she tends to use a lot of big words and metaphorical language and then gets lost in, in the end faltering or exclaiming or sighing without completing her sentence or fully pursuing her point. The typical situation is I have some inkling of what she is trying to get at with her delivery, which usually takes the form of vague abstract concepts like "motherhood" or "revolution"--these are some of the keywords that she drops every five seconds. But while that might be sufficient for gallery chitchat or for artists waxing about their own work, it's not rigorous enough for a univeristy course. For countless times I have sat in the classroom wishing she would just "drive her point home" instead of throwing out vocabulary and leaving students to make their conclusions. I don't doubt that she is learned and intelligent, and I don't think she is purposefully irresponsible, but she has trouble transmitting her knowledge to us. Part of me also suspects that the vagueness and jargony-for-the-sake- of-jargon rhetoric come with the turf of modern art. Buchloh was like that at times, although his lectures felt like he used the jargon and rhetoric with full control. With Higgonet, I'm not always sure if she has thought through what she says. This class is not completely a negative. The art is great and accessible, and just sitting through the slides can be a pleasure. Prof. Higonnet isn't big on formal analysis, but rather she focuses on social and historical contexts, which are helpful to know and somewhat painlessly retained when tied to your visual memory. The readings are long and sometimes dense but generally insightful and selected by Prof. Higgonet with evident thoughtfulness and care. In fact, they are much more rigorous than her lectures, again making me think that her problem is with live verbal delivery, which is quite common.

Nov 2004

Professor Higonnet is a great professor. Her lectures are always clear, informative, and engaging (although the same cannot be said of many of Intro to Art History's guest lecturers). Higonnet is truly passionate about what she teaches, and her love of the material is evident in the power and excitement of her lectures. I would highly recommend her to anyone with an interest in the subject.

May 2004

Prof. Higonnet is a great professor. She is funny, intelligent, and curious. She is totally interested and passionate about what she is teaching. She can be a little repetetive sometimes and occaisionally disorganized, but I think a lot of it has to do with the TA strike. Anyway, she is definately a character, always arriving to class in interesting, cool outfits- she's sort of like the aunt you always wish you had.

Nov 2003

A better class to take would be with Professor Grewe; I really found Prof. Higonet to be less friendly and unable to stay on topic. She was less interested in what students had to say than in hearing herself talk, and although she may be a feminist, in my opinion she was the kind of feminist who thinks she is always right.

Nov 2003

What a delight! Very smart and insightful. Workload was fair and manageable. She was very approachable outsite of class and always willing to help. I would reccomend her to anyone.

May 2003

I would definitly agree with the last review--Higonnet is awesome! This is my first art history class and I am so sad I am graduating, because if presented with the chance, I would have definitly taken more classes with her. Not only is she stylish and supremely cool, she is well spoken, funny, and knows her stuff! I made it a point to get to class early to get a good seat (and beware--lots of 'Lifelong Learners" show up to this one!) and rarely missed a class just because I wanted to hear what Higonnet had to say (and what she was wearing).

Mar 2003

She is hilarious and brilliant, she teaches you more than just the art but also the way of seeing vidual surrounings in life, she is a really good professor as well as a feminist, it is an enjoyment to be in every class(although nobody takes attendance, the classroom is always full)