UC Berkeley Art Practice
Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley

Lower Division Undergraduate Courses

Lower Division Courses

For information about who teaches which courses in which semester, please visit guide.berkeley.edu


ART 8 Introduction to Visual Thinking

This course explores 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 12 Drawing: Foundations

Students will explore a wide range of approaches to mark making, composition and materials for building a drawing practice. Students will engage with drawing from life as well as conceptual and abstract compositions. This course will feature lectures, field trips, visiting artists and demonstrations in order to expose students to a variety of applications, methods and techniques within the field of drawing. This course is a recommended prerequisite for upper division Drawing classes.


ART 13 Painting: Foundations

This course will introduce students to a broad scope of painting practices. Students will learn about and challenge conventions as well as experiment with modes of viewing, producing and engaging with painting within historical and contemporary contexts. This course will feature lectures, field trips, visiting artists and demonstrations in order to expose students to a variety of painting applications, methods and techniques. This course is a recommended prerequisite for upper division Painting classes.


ART 14 Sculpture: Foundations

This course introduces students to working with physical form and space. Students will build a strong conceptual foundation while developing practical studio skills needed to translate ideas into three dimensions. Shop practices will include hand, machine, and computer-aided fabrications. Field trips and illustrated talks will help acquaint students with sculptural ideas and practices from across history and in contemporary work. This course is a recommended prerequisite for upper division Sculpture classes.


ART 15 Ceramics: Foundations

This course will prepare students to use ceramics to explore and understand three-dimensional space. We will develop a practical understanding of how clay and glaze behave, while building a conceptual framework through which to apply this knowledge. Studio practice includes hand building, modeling, carving, and glazing as possibilities for turning ideas into three dimensional propositions. Assignments, critiques and class discussions will help acquaint students with the ideas artists have explored through history and in contemporary sculptural practices. This course is a recommended prerequisite for upper division Ceramics classes.


ART 16 Printmaking Foundations: Relief and Intaglio

The process and techniques of traditional Relief and Intaglio are explored in this fine art printmaking course. Lectures and demonstrations introduce students to two of the historically oldest and most continuous of print processes. Unique drawing skills are demonstrated for students to render images onto linoleum and metal plates to produce small editions of relief and intaglio prints. Additional fees required.This course is a recommended prerequisite for upper division Printmaking offerings.


ART 17 Printmaking Foundations: Lithography and Screen Printing

The process and techniques of traditional lithography and screen printing are explored in this lower division printmaking course. Lectures and demonstrations introduce students to the procedures and practices of these historic print processes. Specific and unique drawing skills are demonstrated for students to render images on limestone and create stencils to produce small editions of lithographs and screen prints. Additional fees required. This course is a recommended prerequisite for upper division Printmaking offerings.


ART 21 Digital Photography: Foundations

This course introduces students to fundamental technical skills including manual functions of digital cameras, image creation and capture, file management and workflow, image adjustment and digital printing. Primary software tools, Adobe Bridge, Lightroom and Photoshop will be utilized. Students will gain introductory knowledge of photographic history and theory, as well as of a range of contemporary photographic practices. Assignments will utilize the basic skills introduced in the course, and will test the creative possibilities of both the camera and the computer software programs. Group critiques and individual tutorials will allow students to develop ideas and technical skills. By the end of the course, students should feel comfortable shooting digitally, editing their images and producing final images for print or the web. This course is a recommended prerequisite for upper division Photography classes.


ART 23AC Digital Media: Foundations

Data and logic form core interfaces for information technology. New media art requires understanding their key dynamics. Students gain experience with data generation, visualization, and their impact on real persons, environments and situations. Can we measure, count and weigh everything? Is data fair? What is the role of privacy? How do digital conditions affect human conditions? From memes to machine learning, students participate in emerging data cultures including sampling, visualization, animation, video, interactive design, and music. Assignments follow readings on media and design theory, abstraction, interactivity, archives, performance, identity, privacy, automation, aggregation, networking, diffusion, diffraction and subversion.


ART 26 Moving Image: Foundations

A practical and critical introduction to time-based media, including video, performance and sound. Course instruction includes basic camera operations, sound recording, and lighting, as well as basic editing. Solo and group assignments are completed, and group critiques of class projects train students to recognize and discuss the formal, technical, critical and historical dimensions of their works. Weekly readings in philosophy, critical theory, artist statements and literature are assigned. The course also includes weekly screenings of films and videos, with lectures by visiting artists. This course is a recommended prerequisite for upper division Video classes.