Visual and Studio Arts

The visual and studio arts program is dedicated to interdisciplinary study, practice, experimentation, and collaboration among young artists. Students focus on traditional studio methods but are encouraged to bridge those ideas across disciplines, including experimental media and new techniques. The program offers courses in painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, video art, installation, creative programming, interactive art, interventionist art, games, and simulation. Students pursue a multidisciplinary course of study while gaining proficiency in a wide range of methods and materials. Working within a liberal-arts context, students are also encouraged to form collaborations across fields of practice and often work with musicians, actors, and scenic designers, as well as biologists, mathematicians, architects, philosophers, or journalists. Conference work, senior show, and senior thesis allow the integration of any combination of fields of study, along with the opportunity for serious research across all areas of knowledge.

The Heimbold Visual Arts Center offers facilities for woodworking, plaster, printmaking, painting, video making, and installation. Advanced studios offer individual work areas. In addition to art studios, students have access to critique and presentation rooms and exhibition spaces, including a student-run gallery called A*Space. Courses are taught in the traditional seminar/conference format, with studio classes followed by one-on-one conferences with faculty. All students are encouraged to maintain a presence through social media and are especially encouraged to supplement their work in studio through participation in the program’s ongoing series of special topic workshops—small three-to-five session minicourses ­that cover current thought in art theory, discipline-specific fundamentals, new technologies, and professional practices. Past workshops have included woodworking, fiber arts, metalwork, printmaking, letterpress, figure drawing, printing for photographers, creative coding, virtual reality, MAX/MSP, online portfolio design, writing an artist’s statement, navigating the art world, the art of critique, applying for grants, and more. Students who invest significant time in the program are encouraged to apply for a solo gallery show in their senior year and may take on larger capstone projects through a yearlong, practice-based senior thesis.

In addition to these resources, the Visiting Artist Lecture Series brings a wide range of accomplished artists to campus for interviews and artist talks. In a feature unique to the program, faculty routinely arrange for one-on-one studio critiques between students and guest faculty or artists who are visiting campus through the lecture series. Art vans run weekly between campus and New York City museums and galleries. Visual-arts students typically hold internships and assistantships in artist studios, galleries, museums, and many other kinds of arts institutions throughout the city.

Visual and Studio Arts 2022-2023 Courses

Architecture

PostConcreteness

Open, Seminar—Fall | 5 credits

PostConcreteness explores an emergent phenomenon in the built environment; namely, the imperative to move beyond concrete (as a material) and the erosion of conceptual concreteness around the proper role of an architect in the Anthropocene. Rather than focusing on the immediate output of a building, PostConcreteness asks students to consider the longer timescales of building and the larger political and social regimes shaping labor, material extraction, and climate adaptation both for today and for decades into the future. PostConcreteness will explore these questions through individual and collective work—students will investigate the supply chains and embodied costs of specific construction materials, proposing current and future scenarios for their use, while collectively intervening into the studio space itself to create a recyclable display for the studio’s work at 1:1 scale.

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Drawing

1,001 Drawings

Open, Seminar—Fall | 5 credits

This will be a highly rigorous drawing class that pushes young artists to develop a disciplined, sustainable, and experimental drawing practice with which to explore new ways of thinking, seeing, and making art. Each week, you will make between 50 and 100 small works on paper, based on varied, open-ended, unpredictable prompts. These prompts are meant to destabilize your practice and encourage you to interrogate the relationship between a work’s subject and its material process. You will learn to work quickly and flexibly, continually experimenting with mediums and processes as you probe the many possible solutions to problems posed by each prompt. As you create these daily drawings, you will simultaneously work on one large, ambitious drawing that you revisit over the entire semester. This piece will evolve slowly, change incrementally, and reflect the passage of time in vastly different ways from your daily works. This dynamic exchange will allow you to develop different rhythms in your creative practice, bridging the space between an idea’s generation and its final aesthetic on paper. The course will challenge you to ambitiously redefine drawing and, in doing so, will dramatically transform your artmaking practice.

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The Face Is a Clock: Drawing Portraits

Open, Seminar—Spring | 5 credits

Portraiture has a rich and complex history. Drawing a face is an ideally challenging way for students to learn how to render realistically through line, light, shadow, volume, and space. Intentionally manipulating this same graphic language can embed portraits with the complex emotional and psychological states that lie beyond visual representation. Politically, socially, and historically, portraits have been a means to establish class and gender, provide immortality, and document the human condition. In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of drawing through the subject of the portrait. The act of looking will be primary for us, as seeing the face accurately—as it truly exists—is a constant challenge for artists. As the semester progresses, we’ll move from observational portraits to interpreted, experimental drawings that challenge traditions and norms of portraiture. As you learn to draw what you see, you’ll simultaneously begin to reveal qualities not visible—those psychological, political, symbolic, and personal aspects of portraits that make them individual and unique. Students will work on daily drawing exercises both inside and outside the studio in order to build a disciplined drawing practice. For context, we will look at a range of historical and contemporary examples of portraiture and will visit New York City exhibitions to see artworks. A visiting artist working in portraiture will visit class, as well.

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First-Year Studies Program

FYS Project

FYS—Fall

FYS Project will serve as an orientation to the fundamental disciplines within the visual and atudio arts. Each year, the entire visual arts FYS cohort will come together to make a series of works revolving around a particular theme to be chosen by the FYS faculty each year. Within this theme, FYS students will take short workshops in each discipline, making a thematically-based artwork in each medium. Group critique sessions will be held every other week by select faculty members, with the goal of teaching students how to analyze and discuss works of art; the entire project will culminate in an end-of-semester exhibition and reception in the Barbara Walters Gallery. The cohort will gain a multidisciplinary understanding of the fundamentals of visual arts while forming personal connections to their fellow classmates. FYS Project will have six sessions with alternating group critiques; class size, 30-40 students.

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Interdisciplinary

Senior Studio

Advanced, Seminar—Year | 10 credits

This course is intended for seniors interested in pursuing their own artmaking practice, both more deeply and for a prolonged period of time. Students will maintain their own studio spaces and will be expected to work independently and creatively and to challenge themselves and their peers to explore new ways of thinking and making. The course will incorporate prompts that encourage students to make art across disciplines; it will culminate in a solo gallery exhibition during the spring semester, accompanied by a printed book that documents the exhibition. We will have regular critiques with visiting artists and our faculty, discuss readings and myriad artists, take trips to galleries and artist’s studios, and will participate in the Visual Arts Lecture Series. Your artmaking practice will be supplemented with other aspects of presenting your work—writing an artist statement, interviewing artists, and documenting your art, along with a range of professional-practices workshops. This is an immersive studio course meant for disciplined art students interested in making work in an interdisciplinary environment.

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Visual and Studio Arts Fundamentals: Materials and Play

Open, Seminar—Fall and Spring | 1 credit

This course serves as an introduction to the fundamental elements, processes, and techniques of the visual arts. It will center on prompts based in foundational areas across the visual arts: drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, sound art, collage, and related mixed-media processes. We’ll discuss these mediums through image presentations, videos, and gallery/museum visits. Students will then make art in those areas, experimenting with new materials, processes, and ideas. Materials will be provided, and you’ll be encouraged to discover through play. Emphasis will focus on developing your creative imagination and building visual literacy. This class culminates in an end-of-semester exhibition.

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Art From Code

Open, Seminar—Fall | 5 credits

A “live-coding,” practice-based introduction to visual-arts programming—including color, shape, transformations, and motion—this course is designed for artists with little or no prior programming experience. We’ll meet twice weekly to code together live, working on short, in-class exercises within a larger analysis of the social, cultural, and historical nature of programming cultures. All students will be required to keep a sketchbook and participate in installation. Artists include Reas, Davis, Riley, MacDonald, and others. The class is taught using Processing software.

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New Genres: Abstract Video

Open, Seminar—Fall | 5 credits

Although amateurs often confuse the two terms, abstract video is a new art form that is very different from the experimental film movement of the 1970s and ’80s. Often drawing from the digital worlds of games, signal processing, 3D modeling, and computational media, abstract video has become an important new aspect of art installation, site-specific sculpture, and gallery presentations. This small-project class is an introduction to the use of video as a material for the visual artists. Using open-source software and digital techniques, students will create several small works of video abstraction intended for gallery installation, ambient surrounds, and new-media screens. Artists studied include Refik Anendol, Light Surgeons, Ryoji Ikeda, and others.

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New Genres: Drawing Machines

Open, Seminar—Spring | 5 credits

In 2016, So Kanno and Takahiro Yamaguchi used skateboards and pendulums to create “The Senseless Drawing Bot,” a self-propelling device that sprays abstract lines on walls. Meanwhile, François Xavier Saint Georges used power tools to create “The Roto,” a small, circular machine that prints orbital graphite patterns on flat surfaces. In 2011, Eske Rex, a designer in Copenhagen, built two nine-foot towers to stage a double harmonograph for Milan Design Week. Joseph Griffiths uses exercise bikes. Alex Kiessling uses robot arms. Olafur Eliasson simply vibrates balls, covered in ink, across paper. For centuries, artists have been obsessed with machines that make pictures; today, their ongoing experiments with mechanics, scanners, plotters, and bizarro contraptions have become a core aspect of the studio’s relationship to technology. Part art studio, part history, and part mad-scientist lab with a bit of eBay salvage thrown in, this class is devoted to the exploration of drawing machines and the intent of turning ordinary objects into marvelous machines—goofy gadgets that know how to draw, hopefully, in a way all their own.

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New Genres: Diary Forms

Sophomore and Above, Seminar—Spring | 5 credits

In a search for form, many contemporary artists have turned to the diary. Diaries and diary forms—like to-do lists, calendars, notebooks, and so on—are a kind of ready-made structure for image making and art installation. Some diaries are based in drawing and painting, but many more are hybrid works that draw from all kinds of media, including video, computation, and photography. This semester, New Genres looks at the ways in which recent artists have flipped the diary form into works of contemporary art. Two small exercises will build into one longer conference work. Artists surveyed include Acconci, Boltanski, Breakwell, Calle, Haring, Kelley, Leeson, Pruit, Raad, and more. No prior art experience is needed for this studio.

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New Genres: Graphic Novel

Open, Concept—Spring | 2 credits

This course explores the graphic novel as a creative medium, from the intricacies of page layout to panel-to-panel transitions, text-to-image relationships, time mapping, and other innovations of the form. Designed for both beginning and advanced creators from all disciplines, students may work on creative projects or written analysis—but everyone will try the visual form. You will need a notebook, journal, or sketchbook of some sort for ongoing short assignments. Artists surveyed include Auster, Barry, Bechtel, Kuper, Madden, McCloud, Pekar, Ware, and others. No prior drawing experience is necessary.

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Figure Drawing

Open, Concept—Fall | 2 credits

This course is an introduction to figure drawing of live male and female models, using a variety of drawing materials, techniques, and artistic approaches. The purpose of the course is to help students obtain the basic skill of drawing the human form, including anatomy; observation of the human form; and fundamental exercises in gesture, contour, outline, and tonal modeling. In the shorter drawings, students will explore the fundamentals of drawing such as measurement, mark-making, value structure, and composition. Observational drawing will be used as a point of departure to examine various strategies to construct a visual world. Students will proceed to develop technical and conceptual skills that are crucial to the drawing process. The work will fluctuate between specific in-class and homework assignments. In-class drawing assignments will be supplemented with keynote presentations, video screenings, selected readings, and group critiques.

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Painting

Surface and Substance: Painting With Acrylic

Sophomore and Above, Seminar—Fall | 5 credits

In this course, students will develop a personal relationship to painting by cultivating an understanding of what is uniquely interesting to them and by experimenting with different approaches to painting. Technical instruction will cover the materials and techniques of acrylic painting, including transparency and opacity, hard-edge shape, texture, paint mixing, and color theory. Together, we will learn the process through which a painting is made. That includes developing the concept, gathering visual reference material, creating sketches, making tests, and experimentation. Students will compile a personal archive of source imagery and develop individual themes and languages in their paintings. Emphasis will be on the development of a personal relationship to one's medium and imagery.

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Performance

Performance Art

Open, Seminar—Fall | 5 credits

Experiment and explore contemporary performance art. Surveying a range of important artworks and movements, we will review the histories, concepts, and practices of performance art. Born from anti-art, performance art challenges the boundaries of artistic expression through implementing as material the concepts of space, time, and the body. Examples of artists that we will review are John Cage, Joan Jonas, Bruce Nauman, Martha Rosler, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Pope.L, Laurie Anderson, Anne Imhof, Joseph Beuys, Janine Antoni, Suzanne Lacy, Narcissister, Pauline Oliveros, Aki Sasamoto, and Anna Halprin, to name a few. Dialogues introducing performance art are utilized in sculpture, installation art, protest art, social media, video art, happenings, dada, comedy, sound art, graphic notation, scores, collaboration, and movement. Students will be able to relate the form and function of performance art though workshopping ideas, experimentation, improvisation, and movement—thereby developing the ability to confidently perform in any manner of the performance-art genre.

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Performance Art

Open, Seminar—Spring | 5 credits

Since the early 20th century, artists have explored performance art as a radical means of expression. In both form and function, performance pushes the boundaries of contemporary art. Artists use the medium for institutional critique, social activism, and to address the personal politics of gender, sexuality, and race. This course approaches performance art as a porous, transdisciplinary medium open to students from all disciplines, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, video, filmmaking, theatre, dance, music, creative writing, and digital art. Students learn about the legacy of performance art from the 1970s to the present and explore some of the concepts and aesthetic strategies used to create works of performance. Through texts, artists’ writings, video screenings, and slide lectures, students are introduced to a range of performance-based artists and art movements.

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Photography

Black-and-White Darkroom: An Immersion

Open, Seminar—Fall | 5 credits

This class will focus on the technical and conceptual underpinnings of black-and-white photography. Students will learn how to use the 35mm film camera and how to print in the darkroom. We will cover a wide range of technical topics, including exposure, film development, printing on RC and fiber paper, and split-filter printing. In-class lectures will introduce students to historical and contemporary practitioners, with a focus on voices and perspectives that have too often been sidelined in photo history curricula. Weekly shooting assignments will challenge students to engage with the complexities of the medium and think beyond traditional modes of presentation. Reading and writing assignments will supplement studio work; in addition to art criticism, we will read fiction and poetry by writers such as Elena Ferrante, Rebecca Solnit, and Jorie Graham. Some of the guiding questions for our class will include: How can we use photography, the indexical medium, to investigate what we don’t understand? How can making images teach us about the people and places closest to us? And how can printing and installation choices support our artistic arguments? At the end of the semester, each student will present a body of work on a topic of their choice.

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Photographic Books

Intermediate, Seminar—Spring | 5 credits

In this studio course, students will explore a variety of ways to conceptualize the book form. Each week, we will look at work from artists and photographers who use books as primary, significant vehicles for their work. We will consider the book as a fluid container for our ideas, as we engage in weekly projects. Some of the questions we will ask include: What can a book look like? How can sequence, form, and design strengthen the argument of the work? When and why must a project exist as a book? Some of the themes we will address include the book as portrait, the book as studio, the book as clock, the book as field guide, the book as a psychological space, the book as archive, and the relationship between text and image. Independent studio time will be complemented by group critiques, class lectures, screenings, technical demonstrations, and guest lectures. In addition to weekly book assignments, each student will complete a semester-long book project of their choice.

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On Chaos

Open, Concept—Spring | 2 credits

A feeling of profound instability is not unique to our time—yet, in the past two years, each of us has faced new and challenging circumstances. Can we, as artists, still make work in moments of chaos? How has chaos changed the way we make art? Can the limitations inherent in precarious situations push us to clarify our ideas and get to the core of what we are trying to say? What new opportunities arise when the structures around us shift? Through lectures and readings, we will consider how artists are responding to these questions currently and how they have responded to them in the past. Studio assignments, group exercises, written reflections, and class discussions will provide students with technical and conceptual strategies to engage with these issues. Some of the artists we will consider include Janet Cardiff, Eleonora Fabião, Danh Vo, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Hélio Oiticica, Do Ho Suh, Tacita Dean, Katrien de Blauwer, Daisuke Yokota, D’Angelo Lovell Williams, Martin Kollar, Mimi Plumb, Sofia Borges, Mike Ashkin, Diana Markosian, Joe Frank, and Sarah Charlesworth, among others.

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Printmaking

Screenprinting

Open, Seminar—Fall | 5 credits

This course covers the fundamentals of screenprinting as a fine-art print medium. Students will discover a range of techniques within this stencil-based process, considering its history and its relationship to contemporary visual and material culture. The class will employ a series of image-making methods, featuring assignments that emphasize hand-drawn, painted, and photographic imagery. Students will learn color organization and other foundational printmaking frameworks, integrating the technical qualities of print with their own unique aesthetic approaches. Project prompts will encourage individual conceptual development and exploration, and presentations will include artists who both exemplify the medium’s history and push the boundaries of the process.

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Introduction to Printmaking

Open, Seminar—Fall | 5 credits

This course is designed to introduce students to a range of printmaking techniques while also assisting them in developing personal visual imagery through the language of printmaking. Throughout the semester, students will practice monotype, relief, and intaglio techniques. Students will explore the history of printmaking media, the evolution of subject matter and technique, and the relationship of graphic arts to the methods of mechanical reproduction. Course objectives will include becoming familiar with using a print shop, printing an edition, participating in critical discussions about an artwork, and developing a process of visual storytelling. The course will be supplemented with technical demonstrations, critiques, field trips, and slide lectures.

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Artists’ Books

Open, Seminar—Spring | 5 credits

Students will learn a variety of techniques for handmaking books, considering the book as an art object both materially and conceptually. The course will explore interactions between content and form: What specific material considerations support works that will be handled, circulated, and experienced over time? Moving through directed assignments to learn a variety of book structures, we will utilize drawing as well as basic printmaking techiques. Critical themes will include sequence, structure, text, and image—encouraging dynamic class discussions. Presentations and field trips will introduce students to books by established artists, independent publishers, and amateur makers, creating a dialogue with historical and contemporary practitioners of this tactile, haptic form.

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Advanced Printmaking

Intermediate/Advanced, Seminar—Spring | 5 credits

This course is designed for students to develop an individual body of work and studio practice through printmaking. Each semester, there will be an in-depth focus on two techniques, including both traditional and digital approaches. Students will use printmaking as a means to develop strategies and thought processes that expand approaches to making art in an individual studio practice. We will discuss the possibilities of the printmaking medium in the context of contemporary art. Technical demonstrations will be given throughout the semester in addition to group and individual critiques, slide lectures, discussions of reading materials, and museum visits.

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Print in Material Culture

Open, Concept—Spring | 2 credits

This course will explore the ways we utilize, understand, and interact with printmaking through material culture, emphasizing printmaking’s roles in consumerism, protest, and communication. Students will examine how modes of production and class hierarchy inform the status of printed objects and will consider how printed ephemera may embody or upend fine-art traditions. Presentations and field trips will cover the history of commercial printing, the significance of memorabilia in popular culture, and print’s role in both government propaganda and collective uprisings. Throughout the semester, students will perform individual research to guide a final project in the form of a printed artifact. Printmaking experience is encouraged but not required.

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Sculpture

Assemblage: The Found Palette

Open, Seminar—Fall | 5 credits

Layered, built, found, saved, applied, collected, arranged, salvaged...Jean Dubuffet coined the term “assemblage” in 1953, referring to collages that he made using butterfly wings. Including found material in a work of art not only brings the physical object but also its embedded narrative. In this course, we will explore the various ways in which the found object can affect a work of art and its history dating back to the early 20th century. We will look at historical and contemporary artists such as Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg, Hannah Höch, Betye Saar, Richard Tuttle, Rachel Harrison, and Leonardo Drew. This course will tackle various approaches, challenging the notions of “What is an art material?” and “How can the everyday inform the creative process.”

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Specters of the Subject: Hauntologies of Ghosts, Phantasms, and Imaginings in Contemporary Life

Advanced, Seminar—Fall

“The future belongs to the ghosts,” remarked the philosopher Jacques Derrida in 1996. His interlocutor, Bernard Stiegler, phrases the main idea behind this statement: “Modern technology, contrary to appearances, increases tenfold the power of ghosts.” With the advent of the internet, various forms of social media, and the ubiquity of filmic images in our lives, Derrida’s observations have proven to be quite prophetic, such that they call for a new field of study—one that requires less an ontology of being and the real and more a “hauntology” (to invoke Derrida’s punish term) of the spectral, the virtual, the phantasmic, the imaginary, and the recurrent revenant. In this seminar, we consider ways in which the past and present are haunted by ghosts. Topics to be covered include: specters and hauntings, figures and apparitions, history and memory, trauma and political crisis, fantasy and imagination, digital interfaces, and visual and acoustical images. We will be considering a range of films and video, photography, literary texts, acoustic reverberations, internet and social media, and everyday discourses and imaginings. Through these inquiries, we will be able to further our understanding of the nature of specters and apparitions in the contemporary world in their many forms and dimensions. Students will be invited to undertake their own hauntologies and, thus, craft studies of the phenomenal force of specters, hauntings, and the apparitional in particular social or cultural contexts.

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Histories of Modern and Contemporary Art

Open, Lecture—Year

This yearlong course is an introduction to modern and contemporary art from 1860 to the present, focusing on its histories and counter-histories, canonical narratives, and underrepresented artists. In the fall, we will explore modernism in Europe, North America, and Latin America, investigating how artists responded to a world ravaged by fascism, colonialism, and war; altered by industry, technology, and rationalized forms of labor; and tested by shifting national, ethnic, and gendered identities. What representational strategies did artists use to respond to these upheavals? How is the history of Eurocentric avant-garde art also one of colonization and cultural appropriation? The course serves as an introduction to the historical avant-gardes, including Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Constructivism, Vorticism, Dada, Surrealism, Muralism, the Harlem Renaissance, Abstract Expressionism, and Neoconcretism—as well as to alternative modernisms that fall outside the canon, including so-called “outsider” art, queer modernisms, and modernisms in India and Japan. In the spring, we will explore a sea-change that began in the 1950s as artists tested modernist categories of painting and sculpture; incorporated new technologies such as television and video into their art; and questioned patriarchal hierarchies through protest, activism, and audience participation. Our main focus will be art from 1960 to 2000, including Gutai, Happenings, Pop Art, Fluxus, Minimalism, Global Conceptual Art, Site-Specificity, Earthworks, the Chicano Arts Movement, the Black Arts Movement, Feminism, Video Art, Institutional Critique, Installation, Activist Art, Participatory Art, Relational Aesthetics, Craft, and New Media, with less attention paid to art since 2000. Throughout, we will focus on specific artworks and gain a vocabulary for close looking, while also attending to primary sources (manifestos, letters, statements, poems) and secondary, art historical and theoretical accounts. Assignments will include papers and reviews (based on works in New York City collections), weekly worksheets, peer reviews, presentations, reading responses, a contextual research essay, and a Wikipedia editing assignment. This course is a lecture-seminar hybrid. One lecture a week will be presented to introduce you to the broader movements. Weekly group conferences will look at case studies of artists responding to a dominant modernism, as well as methodological debates about decentering the canon.

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Art and Society in the Lands of Islam

Open, Lecture—Fall

This course will explore the architecture and visual arts of societies in which Islam is a strong political, cultural, or social presence. We will follow the history of some of these societies through the development of their arts and architecture, using case studies to explore their diverse artistic languages from the advent of Islam through the contemporary world. We will begin with an introduction to the history surrounding the advent of Islam and the birth of arts and architecture that respond to the needs of the new Islamic community. We will proceed to follow the developments of diverse artistic and architectural languages of expression as Islam spreads to the Mediterranean and to Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America—exploring the ways in which arts can help define and express identities for people living in multiconfessional societies. We will then draw this exploration into the present day, in which global economics, immigration, and politics draw the architecture and artistic attitudes of Islam into the global contemporary discourse. Our work will include introductions to some of the theoretical discourses that have emerged concerning cultural representation and exchange and appropriation in art and architecture. One of our allied goals will be to learn to read works of art and to understand how an artistic expression that resists representation can connect with its audience. And throughout this course, we will ask: Can there be an Islamic art?

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Yoga

Component—

This yoga class is designed with the interests of dancers and theatre students in mind. Various categories of postures will be practiced, with attention to alignment, breath awareness, strength, and flexibility. The physical practice includes seated and standing poses, twists, forward bends and backbends, traditional yogic breathing practices, and short meditations. Emphasis is placed on mindfulness and presence. This approach allows the student to gain tools for reducing stress and addressing unsupportive habits to carry into other aspects of their lives. Attention will be given to the chakra system as a means and metaphor for postural, movement, and character choices. The instructor has a background in dance and object theatre, in addition to various somatically-based practices that she draws upon for designing the classes to meet the individual needs of the class members.

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Guest Artist Lab

Component—Year

This course is an experimental laboratory that aims to expose students to a diverse set of current voices and approaches to contemporary dance making. Each guest artist will lead a module of three-to-seven class sessions. These mini-workshops will introduce students to that artist and his/her creative process. Guests will present both emergent and established voices and a wide range of approaches to contemporary artistic practice.

Live Time-Based Art

Component—Year

In this class, graduates and upper-class undergraduates with a special interest and experience in the creation of time-based artworks that include live performance will design and direct individual projects. Students and faculty will meet weekly to view works-in-progress and discuss relevant artistic and practical problems, both in class on Tuesday evenings and in conferences taking place on Thursday afternoons. Attributes of the work across multiple disciplines of artistic endeavor will be discussed as integral and interdependent elements in the work. Participation in mentored, critical-response feedback sessions with your peers is a key aspect of the course. The engagement with the medium of time in live performance, the constraints of presentation of the works both in works-in-progress and in a shared program of events, and the need to respect the classroom and presentation space of the dance studio will be the constraints imposed on the students’ artistic proposals. Students working within any number of live performance traditions are as welcome in this course as those seeking to transgress orthodox conventions. While all of the works will engage in some way with embodied action, student proposals need not fall neatly into a traditional notion of what constitutes dance. The cultivation of open discourse across traditional disciplinary artistic boundaries, both in the process of developing the works and in the context of presentation to the public, is a central goal of the course. The faculty members leading this course have roots in dance practice but also have practiced expansive definitions of dance within their own creative work. This course will culminate in performances of the works toward the end of the semester in a shared program with all enrolled students and within the context of winter and spring time-based art events. Performances of the works will take place in the Bessie Schönberg Dance Theatre or elsewhere on campus in the case of site-specific work.

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Anatomy

Component—Year

How is it possible for us to move in the countless ways that we do? Learn to develop your X-ray vision of human beings in motion through functional anatomical study that combines movement practice, drawing, lecture, and problem solving. In this course, movement is a powerful vehicle for experiencing, in detail, our profoundly adaptable musculoskeletal anatomy. We will learn Irene Dowd’s Spirals—a comprehensive warm-up/cool-down for dancing that coordinates all joints and muscles through their fullest range of motion, facilitating study of the entire musculoskeletal system. In addition to movement practice, drawings are made as part of each week’s lecture (drawing materials provided); three short assignments will be submitted each semester. Insights and skills developed in this course can provide tremendous inspiration in the process of movement invention and composition.

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Anatomy Research Seminar

Component—Year

This is an opportunity for students who have completed a full year of anatomy study in the SLC dance program to pursue functional anatomy studies in greater depth. In open consultation with the instructor during class meetings, each student engages in independent research, developing one or more lines of inquiry that utilize functional anatomy perspectives and texts as an organizing framework. Research topics in recent years have included investigation of micropolitics in established dance training techniques, examining connections between movement and emotion, exploring implications of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, motor and experiential learning, development of a unique warm-up sequence to address specific individual technical issues, inquiry into kinetic experience and its linguistic expression, detailed study of knee-joint anatomy, and study of kinematics and rehabilitation in knee injury. The class meets biweekly to discuss progress, questions, and methods for reporting, writing, and presenting research—alternating with weekly studio/practice sessions for individual and/or group research consultations.

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Choreographing Light for the Stage

Component—Year

This course will examine the fundamentals of design, and how to both think compositionally and work collaboratively as an artist. The medium of light will be used to explore the relationship between art, technology, and movement. Discussion and experimentation will reveal how light defines and shapes an environment. Students will learn a vocabulary to speak about light and how to express their artistic ideas. Through hands-on experience students will practice installing, programing and operating lighting fixtures and consoles. The artistic and technical skills they build will then be demonstrated together by creating original lighting designs for the works developed in the Time Based Art course.

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Contemporary Moving-Image Art

Open, Lecture—Fall

This course highlights the work of a single contemporary artist each week, providing masterclasses and conversations with them both in person and in virtual space. The highlighted artists’ work will cover a range of visual forms, including feature films, video art, internet art, installation art, virtual reality, and video games. The themes explored in the works presented will provide a broad view of political representation, formal experimentation, and personal expression. Through weekly visiting-artist lectures, we will explore the history of the moving image; discuss its impact on broader cultural issues; and analyze the power of this art form as a tool for self expression, a platform for worldbuilding, and an agent of social change. Conferences will be dedicated to discussing the work in small groups, considering it within the field of contemporary moving-image art. Students are expected to make connections between the work presented in class and current issues through weekly written responses.

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Not for Children: Alternative Animation, 1960–present

Open, Large seminar—Spring

This seminar course will take the form of a screening and discussion seminar, designed to provide an overview of auteur animation based on alternative writing and the relationship of form and style to content. We will examine various forms of animated films produced between 1960 and the present, with some time spent on the history and cultural crosscurrents within which this work was produced. The class will survey a wide range of work from a diverse selection of artists, including Oscar Fischinger, Lotte Reiniger, Renske Mijnheer, Stacey Steers, Karen Yasinsky, Adam Beckett, Christine Panushka, Chris Sullivan, William Kindridge, Lius Cook, and many more. The focus of the class is on animated film forms alternative to commercial animation; hand-drawn, cell-painted, cutout, stop motion, pixilated, puppet, and, more recently, CGI independents. In most cases, artists retaining control of their own work—unlike the battery of decision makers in commercial studio systems—will be the guiding factor in selecting work for review. As a class, we will look for aesthetic consequences and structural differences within the auteur system vs. an animation studio’s divisions of labor. All students are expected to fully participate in discussions during class meetings. Animation production will not be taught in this class; however, creative conference projects in studio arts, writing, media, and performing arts will be encouraged. Students will be expected to conduct research outside of class; to deliver a class presentation on an area of personal interest related to the social, political, and art movements in the experimental animation genre; and to complete a conference project or paper.

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Experimental Animation: Materials and Methods

Open, Seminar—Fall

Animation is the magic of giving life to objects and materials through motion. Whether through linear storytelling or conceptual drive, a sense of wonder is achieved with materials, movement, and transformation. Combining digital processes with handmade techniques, this class helps students hone their design skills to create short works that communicate through simplicity. The emphasis of the class is on process and concept, starting with a series of workshops intended to enhance student's skills in idea generation, concept development, and material animation techniques. The class includes instruction in a variety of undercamera, stop-motion processes, including: cut-out paper animation, sequential drawing, sand, after-effects motion graphics, simple object animation, and green-screen performance for stop motion. All aspects of progressive movement are covered, especially the laying out of ideas through time and the establishment of convincing motion. The course includes instruction in basic design techniques, material manipulation, movement and timing, color, and concept development. A brief foundational study of the history of experimental animation is introduced through viewing animated film work of artists from around the globe. During the semester, each student completes five short animated films, ranging in length from 30 seconds to two minutes. Students are required to provide their own external media hard drive and to purchase some additional art materials. Software instruction includes AfterEffects, Adobe Premier, and Dragonframe. The aim of this course is to explore freely with materials in order to trailblaze fresh narrative and aesthetic possibilities in animation. Final projects may be executed as animated or hybrid films or as animated video projections for installation or performance. Collaborations with music, dance, or theatre students can be established at the incentive of individual class participants.

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Advanced Independent Studio, Animation

Advanced, Small seminar—Year

This is an advanced independent-study class for experienced animation students who wish to invest time in producing a refined animated film or a hybrid animation/video film for their portfolio. Participants should be committed to the preplanning and production of an animated work over the course of the academic year. Students will work independently, with regular individual conferences.

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Character Design

Open, Seminar—Fall

This course focuses on the concepts of character design development as a preproduction stage to animation. Students will gain knowledge in drawing by learning formal spatial concepts in order to create fully-realized characters both visually and conceptually. Through the development of character boards, model sheets, beat boards, and character animatic projects, students will draw and conceptualize human, animal, mechanical, and hybrid figures. Students will research characters in their visual, environmental, psychological, and social aspects to establish a full understanding of characterization. Both hand-drawn materials and digital drawing will be used throughout the semester. Students may use their choice of drawing software, based on their own experience and skill level. Students new to digital drawing will work in Storyboard Pro software or Procreate software if they own an iPad. All students will have access to the animation rooms—which include a variety of software options, including Storyboard Pro, Harmony, Photoshop, Illustrator, and editing software Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier. Assignments and projects will include character boards, model sheets, and animatics. There will be daily character drawing exercises, structural anatomy demonstrations, basic digital drawing concepts, and empirical perspective drawing discussions throughout the semester. This is a drawing course, which requires a commitment to learning to draw, and is labor-intensive. Good drawing demands time, commitment, and intelligence. The final conference project for this course is a concept-based, fully-developed character animatic. Knowledge from this course can be used to create and enhance animations; to establish a character outline for an interactive media project; or to help in developing a cast of characters for game design, graphic novels, or narrative film.

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2D Digital Animation: Short Narratives

Open, Seminar—Year

In this class, students will develop animation and storytelling skills by focusing on the process of creating animated short films. Participants will develop and refine their personal style through exercises in story design and assignments directed at translating ideas into moving images. Digitally-drawn images (with the option to include live action and photographs) will be assembled in sync to sound. Compositing exercises cover a wide range of motion-graphic features, including green screen, keyframing, timeline, effects, 2D space, layering, and lighting. Exercises in the fall will provide students with a working knowledge of the software Harmony by Toon Boon. The fall semester, taught by Robin Starbuck, includes instruction exercises in all of the production steps required to produce a short, animated film of one-to-three minutes. These include the basic principles of animation, color and visual design, story development, continuity, motion, timing, frame-by-frame digital drawing, and rotoscoping. The spring semester, taught by Scott Duce, will involve the hands-on production of a single, short, animated film or PSA by each student. The Toon Boom software will be used for the students’ animated film production in the spring. Harmony is a creative, efficient software used in the film and TV animation industry. No prior drawing experience is necessary.

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Concept Art: The Medea Project

Intermediate/Advanced, Seminar—Spring

This intermediate/advanced-level preproduction film and animation course is designed to provide students with an experience developing concept-based visual material established through each participant’s interpretation of the classical myth, Medea. The class will research the story of Medea, as it is interpreted in the novel Bright Air Black by David Vann. Vann’s novel will become the intermediary through which students develop and build a digital production portfolio and animatic. Through readings, discussions, and artwork, each student will formulate an interpretation of Bright Air Black that both expresses the original narrative and is uniquely their own vision. For this, students will produce a cast of characters through model sheets and size boards, character staging and backgrounds, and a high-resolution final animatic. The course concludes with the class together producing a printed-edition portfolio made up of each student’s interpretation of the main character, Medea. Every student will receive a portfolio containing a print of each class member’s drawing of Medea. We will also distribute copies of the portfolio to selected members of the College community. Expectations for this course include the atmosphere of a professional working studio with a high degree of individual responsibility and work ethic. Students should understand that work of the highest quality will be demanded. Participation in group discussions, field trips, portfolio building and collating, and screenings will be mandatory. Information and experience gained from this course can be used to produce a professional portfolio or film reel; the invention of characters for future animations, graphic novels, and game design; or the execution of serial drawings.

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Storyboarding for Film and Animation

Open, Large seminar—Fall

This course focuses on the art of storyboard construction as the preproduction stage and previsualization for graphics, film/video, and animation. Students will be introduced to storyboard strategies, exploring visual concepts such as shot types, continuity, pacing, transitions, and sequencing into visual communication. Both classical and experimental techniques for creating storyboards will be covered. Emphasis will be placed on production of storyboard drawings, both by hand and digitally, to negotiate sequential image development and to establish shot-by-shot progression, staging, frame composition, editing, and continuity in film and other media. Instruction will concentrate primarily on drawing from thumbnail sketches through final presentation storyboards and animatics. The final project for this class will be the production by each student of a full presentation storyboard and a low-res animatic in a combined visual, audio, and text presentation format. Knowledge of storyboards and animatics from this class can be used for idea development and presentation of your project to collaborators, for pitching projects, to professional agencies, and—most importantly—for you, the maker. Storyboard Pro software will be used throughout this course.

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Radical Strategies: Experimental Documentary

Open, Seminar—Spring

In this course, we examine the experimental documentary form as political/social/personal discourse and practice. We take as a starting point avant-garde documentary production and explore this in the manner that theorist Renov defines as “the rigorous investigation of aesthetic forms, their composition and functionm,” and in which, “poetics confront the problematics of power...” Throughout the semester, students will produce a series of experimental film exercises while simultaneously researching and producing a single, short, experimental documentary film for conference work. This class acquaints students with the basic theory and purpose of experimental film/video, as compared to narrative documentary formats. Instruction will include critical methodologies that will help establish aesthetic designs for a student’s own work. In the class, we will survey a wide range of avant-garde documentary films from the 1920s to the present, with the central focus being student’s options for film production in the context of political and cultural significance. The various practices inherent in experimental documentary film speak to a range of possibilities for what a movie might be. Within these practices, issues such as whose voices are heard and who is represented become of crucial Importance.

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Documentary Filmmaking: The Personal Is Political I

Open, Seminar—Fall

In this documentary course, students will locate themselves in larger movements for change in order to produce a three-to-five minute film. The projects may be grounded in portraiture, historically informed, and even the experimental and will exist through a lens of social change and personal experience. Students will work in teams to produce their films, building trust among each other as collaborators and practicing filmmaking as essentially interdependent creative work. Students will be required to make their work public and create social-engagement strategies for their final films. Given these unprecedented times—as we are presented with new opportunities to shift our understanding of self, community, and the roles that we can play in pursuing a just future—this course is for those who are committed to using filmmaking as a tool for change. This semester-long collaboration is equal parts media creation, screenings, and an understanding of the power of artists in movements for justice.

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Beginning Italian: Viaggio in Italia

Open, Seminar—Year

This course, for students with no previous knowledge of Italian, aims at giving the student a complete foundation in the Italian language with particular attention to oral and written communication and all aspects of Italian culture. The course will be conducted in Italian after the first month and will involve the study of all basic structures of the language—phonological, grammatical, and syntactical—with practice in conversation, reading, composition, and translation. In addition to material covering basic Italian grammar, students will be exposed to fiction, poetry, songs, articles, recipe books, and films. Group conferences (held once a week) aim at enriching the students’ knowledge of Italian culture and developing their ability to communicate. This will be achieved by readings that deal with current events and topics relative to today’s Italian culture. Activities in pairs or groups, along with short written assignments, will be part of the group conference. In addition to class and group conferences, the course has a conversation component in regular workshops with the language assistant. Conversation classes are held twice a week (in small groups) and will center on the concept of viaggio in Italia: a journey through the regions of Italy through cuisine, cinema, art, opera, and dialects. The Italian program organizes trips to the Metropolitan Opera and relevant exhibits in New York City, as well as offering the possibility of experiencing Italian cuisine firsthand as a group. The course is for a full year, by the end of which students will attain a basic competence in all aspects of the language.

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First-Year Studies: Text and Theatre

FYS—Year

This course explores the relation between the play as written text and the play as a staged event. More than any other literary form, drama depends upon a specific place and time—a theatre and its audience—for its realization. The words of a play are the fossils of a cultural experience; they provide the decipherable means by which we can reconstruct approximations of the living past. With this goal in mind, we will read and examine texts from Ancient Greece to contemporary New York (with many stops in between) in an attempt to understand the range of dramatic possibility and the human challenge of making theatre. This course will have weekly conferences for the first six weeks and biweekly conferences thereafter.

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Literature in Translation: 20th-Century Italian Literature and Culture

Open, Seminar—Fall

The course will explore 20th-century Italian literature, focusing on important intellectuals, works, and movements that helped shape it and their connection with the arts, cinema, and society at large. Italy had become a unified nation by 1860, and its literature addressed issues such as (national and personal) identity, tradition, innovation and modernity, the role of literature and of the writer, and the changing role of women in Italian society. We will explore the interrelation between Italian literature and crucial historical events—such as the Great War, the rise and fall of fascism, World War II, the Resistance, the birth of the Republic, the postwar economic boom, the students’ and women’s movements of the 1960s and ’70s, the terrorism of the “Anni di Piombo”—until the recent contribution of migration literature to the Italian literary canon. Among the authors and intellectuals, we will explore Sibilla Aleramo for her literary treatment of the issue of female emancipation at the beginning of the century; Luigi Pirandello and his work as a novelist and playwright; Gabriele D’Annunzio as a poet, playwright, and novelist but also a war hero and politician; F. T. Marinetti, whose futurist manifestos and literary works reflected his desire to renew Italian art, literature, and culture in general; B. Mussolini’s fascist regime, its dictates, and their influence on propaganda literature and cinema; Ignazio Silone’s novels on the fascist era; Roberto Rossellini’s neorealist cinema; Italo Calvino’s, Beppe Fenoglio’s, and Elio Vittorini’s literature of the Resistance; Primo Levi’s depiction of The Holocaust; and women writers such as Anna Banti, Natalia Ginzburg, Elsa Morante, and Dacia Maraini. Readings will be supplemented by secondary source material that will help outline the social, historical, and political context in which these authors lived and wrote, as well as provide a relevant critical framework for the study of their works. On occasion, we will watch films that are relevant to the topics and period in question. No previous knowledge of Italian is required. Students proficient in Italian may opt to read sources in the original language and write their conference projects in Italian. Conference topics may include the study of a particular author, literary text, or topic relevant to the course and that might be of interest to the student.

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Metaphysical Poetry

Open, Seminar—Fall

The best lyric poets of 17th-century England have been loosely characterized as “metaphysical poets” because of their “wit”; their intellectual range, rigor, and inventiveness; the versatility and trickery of their poetic strategies; and their remarkable fusion of thought and passion. Masters of paradox, these poets stage and analyze their expressive intensities with technical precision. They eroticize religious devotion and sanctify bodily desire with fearless and searching bravado. They stretch their linguistic tightropes across a historical arena of tremendous political and religious turmoil, in response to which they forge what some critics consider to be early evidences of the ironic self-consciousness of modernity, poetic dramatizations of the Cartesian ego. We will test these claims, as well as the sufficiency of the category “metaphysical,” against the evidence of the poems themselves. We will closely read significant poems of Donne, Jonson, Herbert, Phillips, Herrick, Vaughan, Crashaw, Milton, Marvell, and Behn. We will attend primarily to how they work as poems, looking at argument, structure, diction, syntax, tone, image, and figure. We will also consider their religious, cultural, and psychological implications. Students will prepare three papers based on class readings. Conference work is recommended in correlative topics: the English Bible, Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Shakespearean and Jacobean drama, or influences on and comparisons to Romantic or Modern English poetry.

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First-Year Studies: Pattern

FYS—Year

This seminar will study patterns in nature and design from the mathematical point of view. Examples will be primarily visual, including beadwork, braids, tilings, trees, waves, and crystals, among others. The workshop format of the class will give students the opportunity to discover, collaboratively, the structures that govern patterns. Students can expect to use both visual and logical reasoning to answer open-ended problems that involve hands-on experimentation and creative problem solving. By the end of the year, students will know how to reproduce a given pattern in one, two, or three dimensions; how to identify its symmetries; and how to compare it to related structures. For conference, there is a possibility of service-learning placements in community-based organizations, depending on availability. During the fall semester, students will meet with the instructor weekly for individual conferences. In the spring, we will meet weekly or every other week, depending on students’ needs and the progress of their conference projects. This course is recommended for any student interested in mathematics as the science of patterns, as well as those intending to study visual art or education. No particular math background is required.

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Symmetry of Ornament

Open, Small Lecture—Spring

This lecture will present a formal analysis of ornament, using the mathematical principles of symmetry. Symmetric designs appear in material cultures from around the world and throughout history, from Bronze Age ceramics, 15th-century Islamic tiling, Latin American textiles, and Fijian bark cloth to the Arts and Crafts movement. Symmetry is a correspondence among the parts of a figure or object. Such a correspondence is often described in terms of an operation (“isometry,” in mathematical terms); for example, we will show that the symmetries of designs that repeat in one or two directions are comprised of just four types of operations: translation, rotation, reflection, and glide reflection. The collection of all possible symmetries of a figure comprises its “symmetry group,” and we will use this to classify finite and infinite ornamental designs. Many of the cultural artifacts that we study predate the mathematical theory of groups; in this sense, the lecture introduces the prehistory of modern mathematics. Museum visits and group conferences will offer students direct experience analyzing examples of visual structures in decorative art and design.

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Calculus II: Further Study of Motion and Change

Open, Seminar—Spring

This course continues the thread of mathematical inquiry, following an initial study of the dual topics of differentiation and integration (see Calculus I course description). Topics to be explored in this course include the calculus of exponential and logarithmic functions, applications of integration theory to geometry, alternative coordinate systems, infinite series, and power series representations of functions. For conference work, students may choose to undertake a deeper investigation of a single topic or application of the calculus or conduct a study of some other mathematically-related topic, including artistic projects. This seminar is intended for students interested in advanced study in mathematics or science, preparing for careers in the health sciences or engineering, or simply wishing to broaden and enrich the life of the mind.

Multivariable Mathematics: Linear Algebra, Vector Calculus, and Differential Equations

Intermediate, Seminar—Year

Rarely is a quantity of interest—tomorrow’s temperature, unemployment rates across Europe, the cost of a spring-break flight to Fort Lauderdale—a simple function of just one primary variable. Reality, for better or worse, is mathematically multivariable. This course introduces an array of topics and tools used in the mathematical analysis of multivariable functions. The intertwined theories of vectors, matrices, and differential equations and their applications will be the central themes of exploration in this yearlong course. Specific topics to be covered include the algebra and geometry of vectors in two, three, and higher dimensions; dot and cross products and their applications; equations of lines and planes in higher dimensions; solutions to systems of linear equations, using Gaussian elimination; theory and applications of determinants, inverses, and eigenvectors; volumes of three-dimensional solids via integration; spherical and cylindrical coordinate systems; and methods of visualizing and constructing solutions to differential equations of various types. Conference work will involve an investigation of some mathematically-themed subject of the student’s choosing.

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Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art

Open, Seminar—Fall

Art seems to be an inextricable part of human life. The question that guides this class is seemingly simple: What is art? As will soon become clear, answering this question proves to be exceedingly difficult; for example: Are trees works of art? Is an iPhone a work of art? Is a movie a work of art? Are all movies works of art? Is a doodle in your notebook a work of art? It may turn out that no definitive answer to our guiding question is possible; however, without demarcating between what counts as art and what doesn’t, art refers to everything and, consequently, to nothing special. This class investigates how works of art become meaningful. The narrative of the class traces the different frameworks used by philosophers over the last 2,500 years to pursue this question. We will follow a historical narrative, learning how these frameworks have responded both to each other and to the artworks of their time. We will read texts by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Danto, Benjamin, and others, as well as analyze artworks from Sophocles, William Shakespeare, Édouard Manet, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, John Cage, Kara Walker, Jordan Peele, and many others. At the end of the semester, our aim will be to articulate what is so special about art and why we care about it.

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Time to Tinker

Open, Small Lecture—Spring

Do you enjoy designing and building things? Do you have lots of ideas of things that you wished existed but do not feel you have enough technical knowledge to create yourself? Do you wish you could fix some of your favorite appliances that just stopped working? Do you want to help find solutions to problems in our community? This course is meant to give an introduction to tinkering, with a focus on learning the practical physics behind basic mechanical and electronic components while providing the opportunity to build things yourself. The course will have one weekly meeting with the whole class and three smaller workshop sessions to work on team-based projects. (You are expected to choose one of the three workshop sessions to attend weekly.) The course will be broken down into four primary units: design and modeling; materials, tools, and construction; electronics and Arduino; and mechanics. There will be weekly readings and assignments, and each unit will include both individual and small-group projects that will be documented in an individual portfolio to demonstrate the new skills that you have acquired. For a semester-long, team-based conference project, your team will be creating an engineered piece based on the needs of a community partner. At the end of the semester, your team will exhibit and present your work and write a report reflecting on the design, desired functionality, and individual contributions that led to the finished product. Let’s get tinkering!

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Art and Visual Perception

Open, Small Lecture—Spring

Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak. —John Berger

Psychologists and neuroscientists have long been interested in measuring and explaining the phenomena of visual perception. In this course, we will study how the visual brain encodes basic aspects of perception—such as color, form, depth, motion, shape, and space—and how they are organized into coherent percepts, or gestalts. Our main goal will be to explore how the study of visual neuroscience and art can inform each other. One of our guides in these explorations will be the groundbreaking gestalt psychologist Rudolf Arnheim, who was a pioneer in the psychology of art. The more recent and equally innovative text by the neuroscientist Eric Kandel, Reductionism in Art and Brain Science, will provide our entry into the subject of neuroaesthetics. Throughout our visual journey, we will seek connections between perceptual phenomena and what is known about brain processing of visual information. This is a course for people who enjoy reflecting on why we see things as we do. It should hold particular interest for students of the visual arts who are curious about scientific explanations of the phenomena that they explore in their art, as well as students of the brain who want to study an application of visual neuroscience. The course format is a small lecture (30 people), with one lecture and one small seminar (10 people) every week.

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First-Year Studies: Rigorous Action/Happy Accidents—A Laboratory for Theatre Artists

FYS—Year

This course is a hands-on testing ground for students who might have a wide range of interests in the theatre. Centered on collaborative methods for creation and performance, Rigorous Action/Happy Moments is geared toward enabling students to find their own artistic voice, creating their own solo and collaborative theatre works, while exploring various artists, influences, and approaches ranging from the New York avant-garde of the 1970s to artists working now. We will cover a wide array of multidisciplinary artists who create performance, investigating both their philosophies and their methodology. Class work will be a combination of readings/discussions and creative exercises where students try their ideas together in space. Additionally, an emphasis on the choreographic perspective will explore various methods, including: assembly, repetition, observation, deconstruction, and care of the moment-to-moment experience. Curiosity, bravery, and a willingness to make mistakes are all encouraged, as these are crucial attributes to any creative process. The course will culminate in a short solo theatre work conceived, created, and performed by each student. Rigorous Action/Happy Accidents meets once a week for two hours and will alternate individual conferences with small-group meetings/conferences to include screenings, field trips, and performances. Students will also enroll in two other theatre components of their choice to complete their Theatre Third. Students are required to attend scheduled Theatre Meetings and Think Tanks and complete a set amount of technical support hours with student productions in the theatre program.

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Episodes

Open, Seminar—Spring

The use of the episode is both ancient and modern and is central to storytelling in everything from The Arabian Nights to telenovelas, from Netflix to The Canterbury Tales, from comics to true-crime podcasts. Episodes differ from chapters in a novel and from short stories and can have many changing characters and plot lines. Episodes are disinclined toward resolution but love time, hunks of it, and do well depicting both the daily and the historical. We will be reading, looking at, and discussing episodes in several forms and, for conference work, writing six episodes over the semester, supported by small brainstorming groups as we go forward. This course may be taken with Words and Pictures as a year course.

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Words and Pictures

Open, Seminar—Fall

This is a course with writing at its center and other arts—mainly, but not exclusively, visual—around it. We will read all kinds of narratives, children’s books, folk tales, fairy tales, graphic novels...and try our hand at many of them. Class reading will include everything from ancient Egyptian love poems to contemporary Latin American literature. For conference work, students have created graphic novels, animations, quilts, a scientifically accurate fantasy involving bugs, rock operas, items of clothing with text attached, nonfiction narratives, and dystopian fictions with pictures. There will be weekly assignments that involve making something. This course is especially suited to students with an interest in another art or a body of knowledge that they’d like to make accessible to nonspecialists.

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Children’s Books: A Reading and Writing Adventure

Open, Seminar—Fall

Who doesn’t love Frog and Toad? Have you ever wanted to write something like it—or like Charlotte’s Web or A Snowy Day? Why do our favorites work so well and so (almost) universally? We will begin by reading books we know and books we missed and discuss what makes them so good. We may look at books for older children and consider what good children’s history and biography might be like. We will talk about the place of the visual, the careful and conscious use of language, notions of appropriateness, and age level. Then, we will try our hand at writing picture books, older children’s narratives, collections of poems like Mother Goose. Conference work will involve making a book, an animation, or a game for children with narrative content.

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Writing About the Arts

Open, Seminar—Fall

This class will examine and produce a range of work from the journalistic to the critical, from the practical to the mystical, in the vast landscape of arts writing. We will write liner notes, catalogue copy for gallery shows, short reviews, long reviews, critical essays, and deep and subjective interior meditations on our experience of artists and their work. We will read broadly across time—possibly including, but not limited to, Samuel Johnson on Richard Savage, Wordsworth and Coleridge on themselves, Nietzsche on Wagner, Adorno (via Thomas Mann) on Opus 111, V. S. Naipaul on Flaubert, Amiri Baraka on Billie Holiday, Virginia Woolf on Thomas Hardy, Thomas De Quincey on Shakespeare, James Baldwin on Richard Wright, Glenn Gould on Barbra Streisand, Mark Strand on Edward Hopper, Jean-Luc Godard on Nicholas Ray, Pauline Kael on Sam Peckinpah. Students should feel confident in their familiarity with one or two art forms, broadly understood, and should expect, along with the reading, to write several small and two larger (7-12 pages) pieces. Conference work will comprise research projects on those artists or works of art, or both, that class members, in consultation with the instructor, decide are their special province.

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