I liked her. I thought that she was very knowledgable, and an engaging lecturer. She was very clear about what she expected from her class, and spoke very well of the guidelines and criteria that she wanted to see reflected in the assignments. Hang in there and you'll be fine. Recommended for seniors finished with most of their reqs, so that they can commit themselves to doing the readings, going all out on the papers and sketches and memorizing the slides. If you can go all out on the papers, you WILL get an A (no mystery here).
Dr. Bentz is a tough grader and she expects more of her Art Hum class than most other Art Hum profs, but in the end you'll be grateful that she was so hard-core. She has an extensive knowledge of the material, her lectures are well-organized, and you'll leave the class having learned so much. It's a more-than-average amount of work, but it's definitely worthwhile.
Smart professor but has no clue that this is a survey course. She's led by unbending, inflexible, illogical rules. She might be a great professor candidate for graduates but she definitely has neither the personable skills nor the professional knowledge on what the course is supposed to be about. Her persnickety grammar & writing style corrections make students feel like elementary school again. She is a "B-" quality teacher. No better.
To be fair to Dr. Bentz, I'll admit that her lectures were very informative. She definitely knew what she was talking about and I came away from this class with a great deal of new knowledge. But while she can lecture well, Dr. Bentz cannot teach a college class effectively at all. Never in my time at Columbia have I met a professor as inflexible or as condescending as she was. She would not extend deadlines on papers for any reason, even if a student had a perfectly legitimate case. On one paper, which required viewing and analyzing a statue in the Columbia neighborhood, she refused to grant a two-day extension of the due date even though it rained for 8 consecutive days in the week before the due date. She even responded by saying something to the effective of, "Would I move the final exam if there was snow?" Last I checked, we didn't have to sit outside for the final exam now, did we? I did get the paper in on time, but only after getting drenched while taking notes in the rain. And that's only the beginning of the troubles. At the start of the class, she said that she would scatter a few reading quizzes throughout the semester to ensure the class was keeping up with the reading. "A few" reading quizzes turned out to be about 11 or 12, or almost one every other class. These quizzes were stupid, infuriating, and totally unnecessary. They also did not improve the percentage of students doing the reading--every day before class there was a quick "What do I need to know for the quiz?" conversation among students. The rest of the class, other than the lectures, wasn't much better. She constantly reminds students on paper assignments about the importance of editing and topic sentences, as if she were teaching a middle or high school class. The midterm and final were not very hard, but she expects you to know and give examples for seemingly insignificant terms that she barely even talks about in class. Sometimes I got the impression that she wanted the students to be walking, talking art dictionaries. The bottom line: avoid this section at all costs unless you are a prospective art history major who's willing to be serious about the class and can absorb the incessant annoyances of the quizzes and paper assignments. I gave serious thought to transferring from this class at the start, and looking back I realize I probably should have acted on that thought.
Despite the other reviewer's sentiments, I found Dr. Bentz pleasant, engaging, and kind. Any art history class will mainly be slides and analysis, which is exactly what this class was. She would lecture and then ask and take questions from the class about the topic. We did have reading quizzes almost every class, but if you do the reading, then you should pretty much burn through these, she's not trying to trick the students with her questions. Yes, the reading quizzes did get a little annoying, but I have friends in other Art Hum sections who didn't do a lick of reading, which is the trap Dr. Bentz is hoping to avoid. I generally thought the readings were interesting anyway. As far as the papers and tests, they were generally pretty easy as long as you're willing to memorize dates (standard for any section and she gives you 5 years on either side of the date), slides, terms, and go over your notes. There were three papers and they were 2-4 pages. The first paper was about architecture, the subject being Grant's Tomb, the second paper on sculpture was a choice of 5 statues in the parks around Columbia, and the final paper was any painting from the Renaissance until 1800ish. The point of this class is to give you an appreciation for art and be somewhat intelligent when looking at, studying, or talking about art in the future. After taking this class, that goals were more than achieved. If you're looking for a complete pushover grad student for this class, don't take this section, but if you're looking for an engaging class that you might have to put a bit more work into, take this.
Professor Bentz is the kind of teacher who, 2 years out of grad school, signs her emails and refers to herself as "dr. bentz". She is one of the most anal retentive and condescending people I have ever met - let alone been "taught by". She teaches the class as though it we were in middle school -- for example on every essay assignment, she makes sure to remind us about the importance of "editing" and the ever important "topic sentences". I could not imagine a worse art hum experience. And for the papers be prepare to write about ...Grant's tomb, and a big bronze statue of Joan of Arc - no way would this professor trust her students to pick out pieces of art that they found meaningful and or interesting to write about. She has butchered this class and everything i assume it stands for. Prepare for weekly reading comprehension quizzes and memorizing lots and lots of dates and specific definitions of terms...that's right, it's flashcard time. What an utter waste of time.