Andrea Renner

Jan 2010

As it turns out, I totally love writing about visual art. Who knew? I certainly didn't, at least not before I took Ye Olde Art Hum with Andrea Renner. All of the expected Art Hum stuff happens: endless slides of Biblical imagery (what's the Annunciation again?), the recitation of fancy art terms like "modeling" and "priming," but all with a fun and enthusiastic instructor who can take her job (teaching you how to talk about art) seriously while not being afraid to make jokes about the "master" artists' tumultuous love lives. Most importantly, Renner holds your writing to an high standard while allowing you an ocean of leeway in developing your own unique arguments. My Art Hum essays were some of the best I wrote this semester, because I felt no pressure to either gauge or regurgitate the instructor's ideas; instead, I was able to use the skills picked up in lecture to describe *my* reaction to and interpretation of various works. Honestly, we spend so much time at Columbia absorbing and analyzing the ideas of others - it's nice to have a truly open opportunity to play around creatively with ideas of one's own during the writing process (and you might just develop a new appreciation for Michelangelo while you're at it).

Jun 2008

Professor Renner knows her subject matter well and clearly conveys the material to students—if only she was as equally convinced of these points as her students! She is a sweet and bright young grad student prone to providing entertaining quips about artists and their work (“he was a bit self-absorbed,” “I find the painting rather boring”) along with formal analyses. I appreciate how she calls on students to participate because many are reluctant to approach art, having been indoctrinated to academia through literary exegeses. Her fault is her diffidence, which appears in her frequent apologies for having to flip back and forth between slides or misusing a word (don’t we all?). Nonetheless, she is well-qualified for instruction, providing clear and fair assignments that neatly serve their purposes and insightful comments on corrected work. Her discussion of American architecture is particularly interesting, given that is her area of focus.