I didn't love this class as much as I thought I would. First, I was definitely not prepared for this 3000-level art history course with almost no previous art history classes. The material wasn't as interesting as I expected, but it is interesting now to have all of this random photography knowledge. Next, though we had to memorize a lot of slides, he wouldn't specify which we needed, which made studying frustrating when I missed a class. Also, he gave us another museum visit last minute, mentioning that photographs from an exhibit will be on the final on the last day of class, which I thought was kind of unfair. Last, the TAs were completely unavailable, gave no feedback on papers, and didn't even tell us their names. Professor Elcott was okay. He was pretty reasonable, tried to make the class more interesting, and changed things around if he thought it would make it easier for us. He tried to give good reviews for tests and help for the papers. I wouldn't recommend this class for an easy art history A (I got an A- with a B and a B- on papers, so I'm not sure how that happened, but I wouldn't risk it again), but for an art history major, it might be better. On a completely different note, he is exactly Ted Mosby.
I thought this was a fantastic class. Once you get used to his style, Elcott is a very clear lecturer (He never leaves a thought unfinished - so expect to leave lots room in your notes) and the topic was fascinating. He's a very compelling speaker. This was not a typical slide based art history class. It is very theoretical and focuses heavily on how the history of photography has been recorded and photography's place in art, law and science. I would highly recommend this class for VA majors and students with concentrations in photography.
Yes, Elcott is weirdly, starchily, compulsively articulate (read: speaks in complete sentences and uses the word "superlative" unironically) but he's not a bad lecturer by any means. His approach is almost single-minded in its focus on the theory and not the images itself, which is handy come test time when you realize you've only got a dozen or so IDs to memorize after weeks and weeks of lectures. He loves the readings and really makes you deal with them on tests and papers, but you don't have to freak out about reading them all because he basically runs them through in class. I actually thought this guy was quite interesting. But again, super theory-heavy. so if you'd rather cycle through tons of pictures, maybe not this guy.
I disagree with the other reviews; I had Noam this past semester for Art Hum, and I thought he was excellent. I wasn't really expecting a great teacher for this core class, and am not particularly interested in art, but after taking this class my interest was sparked. The classes went by so quickly. He is clearly very passionate about the subject matter, and would pace eagerly back and forth at the front of the room as the discussion progressed. Discussion was definitely geared toward a certain end, although he was generally pretty understanding of other interpretations of the works that might not have been on point with his understanding. He was very patient, and encouraged everyone to speak, since participation is such a large percentage of our grade. It wasn't like those teachers who say they'll make everyone participate and then fall through; he would always make sure everyone in the class got a turn, and wouldn't let just one person dominate the discussion (most of the time). Doing the readings is helpful for participation, but not necessary. All in all a great guy who genuinely wanted us to enjoy the works.
Your typical art hum professor, who favored the kids in the class who had taken an art history course before. Not a great professor (just got his PhD) but still a bright guy overall. He will make the course interesting and make you memorize a ton of slides for ID's for the midterm and final. all in all, decent professor but you dont really have a choice in art hum, but he is not as easy as some of the other art hum professors
Noam, is a phd student in art history at princeton which naturally makes him a douchey pretentious art historian. He taught art humanities, but taught it assuming that we had all taken an art history class before. He was a decent teacher, but really took no extra effort to help out a class which was clearly struggling with the analysis. Elcott is obsessed with formal analysis which we wrote all of our papers about. Overall, not a great professor, but if you have no choice he is a decent choice.