Lower Division Courses

Art 8 : Introduction to Visual Thinking

This course will explore how we observe and interpret our visual world. We will examine material from a wide range of sources, focusing on the social, political, and cultural connections, as well as the conceptual base and formal properties that comprise a particular visual/sensory experience. Two ongoing concerns will be the exploration of how art and life intersect, and how our perceptions of what constitute the “high” and “low” in collective culture establish our beliefs about art. The course requires the completion of three projects that stress the visual, intellectual and intuitive aspects of art making.

Art 15 : The Language of Sculpture: Ceramics

This class will investigate the potential of ceramics as sculpture.  Both traditional and experimental approaches to ceramics will be explored as a way to develop our technical skills and expand our conceptual approaches.  Field trips and illustrated talks will examine the ideas that have engaged ceramic sculptors in many traditions and the processes that they have used to expand them. Lectures and demonstrations introduce students to techniques and varied applications.

Art 23 : Digital Arts

This new course will enable students to think critically about, and engage in practical experiments in, the complex interactions between new media and perceptions and performances of embodiment, agency, citizenship, collective action, individual identity, time and spatiality. We will pay particular attention to the categories of personhood that make up the UC Berkeley American Cultures rubric (race and ethnicity), as well as to gender, nation, and disability. The argument threading through the course will be the ways in which new media both reinforce pre-existing social hierarchies, and yet offer possibilities for the transcendence of those very categories. The new media — and we will leave the precise definition of the new media as something to be argued about over the course of the semester — can be yet another means for dividing and disenfranchising, and can be the conduit of violence and transnational dominance.

Upper Division Courses

Art 123 : Approaches to Printmaking: Silkscreen

Course may be repeated for credit. Six hours of instructional studio and three hours of open studio per week. In the course of making screenprints, you will be encouraged to find an esthetic direction of your own. Your instructor will also help you develop skill in using both stone and metal plates.

Prerequisites: 12, 13, 14 or equivalents.

Art 138 : Approaches to Sculpture: Installation

Course may be repeated for credit. Six hours of instructional studio and three hours of open studio per week. Installation and site-specific work, indoor and outdoor. Each student will select a site on campus and make a piece for that site. The choice of materials will depend on the exigencies of the site and of the student’s interest.

Prerequisites: 12, 13, 14 or equivalents.

Art 160 : Special topics in Visual Studies: Projectors and Projections

Course may be repeated for credit. Six hours of instructional studio and three hours of open studio per week. Topics of concern to the instructor, usually related to current research, which may fall outside of the normal curriculum or be of more restricted content than regular studio courses. An opportunity to investigate topics and mediums on an ad hoc basis when there is a compelling reason to do so, providing there is no other course that deals with these concerns.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Art 160 : Special Topics in Visual Studies: Material Worlds: Contemporary Sculpture and the Social Life of Objects.

This is an advanced interdisciplinary class with a focus on material culture, studio production, reading, and critical theory on capitalism’s effects on the production of art, as well as artists’ responses to its demands.

What does it mean to make “objects” in a world already glutted with object-products? How does the mechanical or mass production of object-products inform or create friction against the intimately handmade? This class will ask students to examine their own methods and materials of “object-making”, situate themselves against a contemporary context of global manufacturing and “product-making,” and attempt to reclaim the idea of sculpture as a social catalyst as opposed to standard consumer object.

Topics covered will include the readymade and globalization, the unique object versus the mass-produced, artists who mimic corporate production and distribution chains, and the social and political effects of production, consumption, capitalism, and the various forms of resistance to it such as shopdropping, counterfeiting, public ownership, and the DIY craft movement. Art movements such as the Bauhaus and the Arts and Crafts Movement will be explored as examples of responses to the dilemma of mass production. We will also cover the intersection of art and design, looking at groups such as Atelier Van Lieshout, Unfold, Futurefarmers, and Andrea Zittel, among others.

Students will utilize traditional sculptural mediums, ceramics, and craft techniques as well as simple 3-D computer modeling programs, free object databases, and digital processes, among others. Project assignments are structured to take advantage of individual students’ interests, while at the same time providing distinct parameters and goals. We will also be looking extensively at contemporary artists working today, and discussing how their art reflects upon and impacts the world around them. A museum field trip, collaborative project, visiting artist talks, and and workshops/demos will be included. Regular readings will be assigned, with discussion and response to follow.

Art 184 : Junior Seminar: Meaning and Making

This immersive studio/seminar class focuses on contemporary models of art making, exposing students to current issues in the art world, and fostering interdisciplinary models of thinking and making. Through field trips to museums, galleries, and alternative art spaces, as well as studio visits with local contemporary artists, students will be able to situate their own projects within the larger sphere of contemporary art. Language and writing skills around artist statements, critical readings, and the critique process will be emphasized to understand how research methods give meaning in a studio practice. Presentation of a final studio project asks students to examine their place within a contemporary art dialogue.

Graduate Courses