ASHS Coursebook: 3ARH (Level 3 Art History)

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Information icon.svg 3ARH
NCEA Level:
Primary Qualification:
Primary Learning Area:

What is this course about?

What exactly is art? What has Art's role been in the past and what is it now? These questions underlie the Level 3 Art History course of study in 2017.

The course will begin with a brief historical overview of Western Art before mainly focusing on art (international and New Zealand) from the 1940s to around 2000. Key movements studied in this Modernist and Postmodernist period will include Abstract Expressionism (e,g Pollock, Rothko, McCahon), Pop Art (Warhol, Lichtenstein), Feminist Art (Chicago, Fahey, Kruger) and minimalists Richard Serra and Ralph Hotere.

We will also explore contemporary art to the present time. This period includes such artists as Christian Boltanski, Damian Hirst, Ai Wei Wei, Mariko Mori, L. Budd, Lisa Reihana, Michael Parekowhai, John Pule and Francis Upritchard along with architects Zaha Hadid, Daniel Liebeskind, I M Pei and Frank Gehry.

What will I learn?

You will explore the links between art works and their contexts, develop your skills in visual analysis through investigating and discussing different art styles and explore the way meaning is encoded in art works. You will explore how and why values are attached to art. You will develop a vocabulary of art terminology and use this in discussion and critical writing on art. You can expect to develop your critical writing and analytical skills considerably during this course  - building a skill essential in your other areas of study this year.

What sorts of things will I do?

You will use a variety of learning strategies to explore and analyse art works and their contexts. You will examine art works as projected images, on film, on line and in situ (we will visit art galleries and art sites when possible as a class, and you will be expected to do this independently in your own time in order to enrich your learning). In class you will work independently as well as collaborating with others in pairs and groups. Contributing to class discussion is vital in order to explore, share and clarify ideas and you will be expected to read around topics being studied to build your knowledge. A questioning attitude is important as is maintaining an open mind when confronted with art and ideas unfamiliar to you. Working independently to build on what is covered in class is also essential for those working towards Scholarship.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4
Key Dates / Milestones
Key Dates / Milestones
Key Dates / Milestones
Key Dates / Milestones

3.7 Examining the relationship between a theory and art works (late March)

3.6 Examining the different values placed on art works

3.5 Construct argument based on research (late June)

3.4 Examining the effects of particular media and processes used in a range of art works (late August)

Preliminary examination for external standards 3.1 & 3.2

External exam (Students will select one or both papers):

  • 3.1 Analysis of art works
  • 3.2 Meanings in art works

What standards can I enter?

Summary of standards:
NCEA Level Standard Number Name of standard


Credits Reading Writing Assessment
3 AS91482
3.1 Demonstrate understanding of style in art works
1 4 Y Y External
3 AS91483
3.2 Examine how meanings are communicated through art works
1 4 Y Y External
3 AS91485
3.4 Examine the impact of media and processes on art works
1 4 Y N Internal
3 AS91487
3.6 Analyse the different values placed on art works
1 4 Y N Internal
3 AS91488
3.7 Examine the relationship between a theory and art works
1 4 Y N Internal
3 AS91489 3.5 Construct an argument based on interpretation of research (done in conjunction with 3.7)
1 4 Y N Internal

Total available credits:


Vocational Pathways provide a framework for students to show how their learning and achievement is valued in the workplace by aligning learning to the skills needed for industry.  Follow this link to see the profile for this course.

Scholarship opportunities

Your teacher will explain the details of Scholarship to the class at the beginning of the year. Basically, Scholarship is a separate 3-hour examination for each Scholarship subject within the examination period at the end of the year. Scholarship in Art History rewards depth and breadth of knowledge, confident expression and independence. Fortnightly tutorials will be held for scholarship students and these students will be expected to submit practice essays for feedback. There are financial rewards for those who achieve the required marks in this examination.

Frequently asked questions:

Do I need to have taken art history or practical art courses before? No, you do not. Students often have little knowledge of art and have not studied art history before beginning this course. As long as you are prepared to work to build your knowledge and skills, this is not a problem. Reasonable English skills are important, however, since much of the assessment, the final examination, and Scholarship, should you decide to do this, require written responses.
Why is this learning important? Building an understanding of art enriches our lives, broadens our understanding and empathy with others, and helps develop our conceptual skills. It increases the pleasure we can take in viewing and participating in art, and the knowledge gained and ideas explored are relevant to many other fields of study. Literature, Design and Media are just some of the fields that often draw from the art of the past to express ideas in our own time.
How is this learning related to future pathways? Art history continues through universities and other tertiary institutions (It is one of the 'Table A' listed subjects for the University of Auckland). It provides knowledge many of us will use in our future careers. The careers include art making, photography, journalism, advertising, teaching, furniture design, stage design, interior design, writing, architecture, reviewing, acting, directing, art curating, art conservation, auctioneering, public relations, collecting, antique dealing and restoration, a variety of roles in art galleries and museums, film making, scriptwriting, historian, costume design, research, publishing, valuation .. to name but a few
Are there costs involved in this course? Class trips may incur transport and entry costs.