UC Berkeley Art Practice
Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley

Upper Division Undergraduate Courses

Upper Division Courses


Art 100: Collaborative Innovation

In this hands-on, project-based class, students will experience group creativity and team-based design by using techniques from across the disciplines of business, theatre, design, and art practice. They will leverage problem framing and solving techniques derived from critical thinking, systems thinking, and creative problem solving (popularly known today as design thinking). The course is grounded in a brief weekly lecture that sets out the theoretical, historical, and cultural contexts for particular innovation practices, but the majority of the class involves hands-on studio-based learning guided by an interdisciplinary team of teachers leading small group collaborative projects.


Art 102: Advanced Painting: Research and Methods

This studio class for art majors will help advance their practice through practical and experimental research into the varied processes, skills, materials, and methods of historical and contemporary painting. Emphasis on creating unconventional drawing/painting tools, making pigments for painting, and examining unofficial and official archives as source materials will be an integral part of the course. Students will expand their technical, conceptual, and professional skills, and will develop self-generated projects and critical engagement through critiques and open discussion. Students will attend library tours, field trips and will also learn how to explore mediums and concepts to generate ongoing research for long-term investigation.


Art 103: Advanced Painting: Reconsidering the Portrait and Figure

This studio course investigates histories of portraiture, including how dominant signifiers of race, gender, class, religion, and their various intersections determine which and how individuals are depicted. The course includes working from live models, creating self-portraits that challenge conventional expectations, lectures, student lead discussions, in-class prompts, field trips, and visiting artists. The course will examine the politics of representation through different collusions of art and history, including for example, court painting and selfie culture, cubism and the colonization of Africa. We will reconsider how conventional portraiture has impacted relationships within the past and present, and consider future possibilities.


Art 117: Advanced Drawing: Research and Methods

Advanced drawing and composition, color and black-and-white, primarily on paper. Art 117 or 118 is required of all art majors. Lectures and demonstrations introduce students to techniques and varied applications.


Art 118: Advanced Drawing: Remixing the Figure

The primary focus of this course is to advance fundamental technical skills in the process of figure drawing, to gain understanding of human anatomy, and to acquire a personal visual language of drawing from life. Through close observation of the human form the student will develop ways of seeing that go beyond regular visual perception. The student will also expand the skills necessary for figure drawing executed in variety of dry and wet media, together with diverse methodologies of traditional and contemporary figure drawing.


Art 119: Global Perspectives in Contemporary Art

This course is designed to explore a range of contemporary art movements around the globe, through a closer look at their central ideas, artists, and artworks, as well as the preconditions and broader social context in which the work is being produced. Topics covered will range from the emergence of localized avant-garde movements in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America to the implicit globalism of the international biennial circuit.


Art 120: Advanced Printmaking: Intaglio

This class teaches the fundamentals of etching, including line etching, aquatint and softground techniques. By learning to incise elements of line, tone and texture into the surface of a metal etching plate and to print them onto paper, all artists, from the beginning student to the most advanced, can discover new avenues of self-expression that are particular to a printmaking vocabulary. Intaglio uses acids and solvents, tools and machinery; students will therefore learn and adhere to proper safety and shop procedures. Students’ progress is assessed by individual and group critiques.


Art 123: Advanced Printmaking: Screen Print

This class teaches the fundamentals of screen printing, which requires images to be converted into stencils and secured to a matrix through which ink can be transferred. Hand drawn, photographic and digitally manipulated images are explored. Image content and development is examined through primary research drawings and studies. Screen printing requires the use of specialized tools and equipment; students will therefore learn and adhere to proper safety and shop procedures. Students’ progress is assessed by individual and group critiques.


Art 130: Advanced Sculpture: Concept and Construction

This advanced studio class will explore expanded ideas of fabrication, instruction, and process in sculpture. An integral component of this course will be to examine the relationships between the artist’s intentions, the act of building, and the viewer’s perceptions and engagement. Site/architectural concerns, physical experience of space, and innovative sculptural practices will be considered. Students will expand their technical, conceptual, and professional skills, and will develop self-generated projects and critical engagement through in-class critiques. Lectures and demonstrations introduce students to varied techniques and applications.


Art 133: Advanced Sculpture: Meaning in Material

This advanced studio class will investigate the physical and conceptual potential of materiality in sculpture, while exploring what methods and materials may be considered non-traditional. Combining hands-on demonstrations with group critiques and studio practice, students will focus on building a strong conceptual foundation while developing and expanding practical studio skills. Students will explore topics through self-generated projects, lectures, readings, and field trips.


ART 137: Advanced Projects in Ceramic Sculpture

This advanced course encourages students to stretch the technical limits of ceramic materials and processes. Project assignments will challenge students to develop strong conceptual and material practices, linking their work to larger issues in contemporary art. Topics may include: the intimately handmade, multiples and mass production, conceptual craft, public art, community engagement, interdisciplinary practices, performance, ceramic 3-D printing/modeling, and more. Hands-on demonstrations, field trips, artist lectures, and readings/discussion will accompany dedicated studio time and instruction. Prior experience in clay is expected.


Art 160: Special Topics in Visual Studies

Special Topics courses offer students opportunities for more concentrated focus beyond general curriculum offerings. Courses may align with an instructor’s own research, they may propose topics responding to contemporary events and issues, or they may offer a specialized skill. Primarily intended for advanced undergraduates and graduates in Art Practice but open to others.


Art 160A: Designing and Activating Public Space

Students will research, design and collaboratively help convert the Wurster South Courtyard into a multi-use space for video screenings, performance, and social practice projects. Students will explore the history of public and communal spaces; speak with local artists and other professionals in the areas of urban design, landscaping and programming public art spaces. Students will design and construct different components of the space, and will curate an onsite pop up exhibition/event as a final project.


Art 160: Radical Wearables and Avant-garde Garments

How have contemporary artists used textiles, garments, and “fashion-like” sculptures to create artworks that challenge issues of gender, identity, and use? Far from being neutral territory, artist-produced props and wearables often incorporate aesthetic experimentation in order critique existing power structures and highlight alternatives. This hands-on studio course will focus on the production of experimental costumes, garments, and fashion in the context of contemporary art and critical ideas. This is not a traditional “fashion” class. We will pull from the fields of contemporary art, craft, fashion, theater and design to examine how “radical wearables” can work with politics, humor, and play to temporarily create a space for envisioning new possibilities for how we construct our identities. Topics include: craftivism, historical examples of fashion being deployed as protest, agitprop theater, and the effect of capitalism and mass production on the handmade. Students will design and fabricate several projects, stage photoshoots, and produce a final live performance event showcasing their radical wearables. Prerequisites: Upper division undergraduate Art Major, graduate student, or by permission of the instructor. No prior sewing skills necessary, but helpful.


Art 163: Social Practice: Critical Site and Context

Social Practice broadly refers to work produced through various forms of direct engagement with a site, social system or collaborator. Interdisciplinary in nature, such work often takes the form of guerilla interventions, performance, institutional critique, community based public art and political activity, all sharing the premise that art created in the public sphere can help alter public perception and work toward social transformation.


Art 171: Foundations of Digital Video

Nine hours of studio per week. Course may be repeated with consent of instructor. This course will cover a range of digital media and practices, with a view towards exploring current and future possibilities for photography. Inclusive of multiple approaches to scale, execution, and technique, the course enables students to examine and push the limits of photographic practices. This course will help students advance their digital shooting and Photoshop skills from a beginning to a more advanced level, and will cover the workflow of digital photography: camera usage, scanning, image editing, management, and printing.


ART 173: Electro-Crafting Studio

This course is designed to introduce artists to the medium of sound, and develops more advanced technical and conceptual skills, with focused attention on the pre- and post-production practices of writing and production design as well as image and sound editing. Class meetings include technical workshops, studio work, individual and class critique, and discussion of readings and screened course materials. Course projects vary in focus depending upon instructor; areas of emphasis may include: video in performance practices; video for sculptural installation; and social activist video.


Art 174: Advanced Digital Video

This advanced studio course is designed for students who have mastered basic skills and concepts involved in digital video production, and are interested in further investigating critical, theoretical, and creative research topics in digital video production. Each week will include relevant readings, class discussions, guest speakers, demonstrat ion of examples, and studio time for training and working on student assignments .


Art 178: Game Design Methods

This course offers an introduction to game design and game studies. Game studies has five core elements: the study of games as transmitters of culture, the study of play and interactivity, the study of games as symbolic systems; the study of games as artifacts; and methods for creating games. We will study these core elements through play, play tests, play analysis, and comparative studies. Our reading list includes classic game studies theory and texts which support game design methods. After weekly writing and design exercises, our coursework will culminate in the design and evaluation of an original code-based game with a tangible interface.


ART 180: Advanced Digital Photography

This course will cover a range of digital media and practices, with a view towards exploring current and future possibilities for photography. Inclusive of multiple approaches to scale, execution, and technique, the course enables students to examine and push the limits of photographic practices. This course will help students advance their digital shooting and Photoshop skills from a beginning to a more advanced level, and will cover the workflow of digital photography: camera usage, scanning, image editing, management, and printing.


ART 182: Artists as Writers

This reading and writing workshop is open to Art Practice Majors and other Upper Division students by permission of instructor. We will read published statements, essays, poetry, manifestos, commentary, criticism, scripts, ‘public’ speech acts, and biographical texts by artists and theorists, with our purpose being to expand and challenge our understanding of the relationship of visual art and the written word. Reading assignments and writing experiments will help students build the language tools to establish a consistent writing practice. Students are required to write critical responses to assigned readings, keep a reading journal, comment on each other’s writing, attend readings, and memorize texts for recitation.


Art 184: Junior Seminar: Meaning and Making

Spring 2019 Critique

Spring 2019 Critique

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.


ART 185: Senior Projects

This course helps students understand their work within critical and professional cross-disciplinary contexts, and prepares students for graduate school and life beyond. Through class and individual critiques, readings, guest artists, and field trips, students explore practical and conceptual components of their own media and practice within broader discussions of artistic production. The class will help develop tools for supporting one's work within a community of artists, arts professionals, and arts organizations, including developing an online presence, producing and sustaining exhibition-ready work, completed portfolios, documentation, presentation, written artist statements, etc.

Prerequisites: Senior level Art Practice majors only.


Art 190: Critical Practices: People, Places, Participation (also listed as NWMEDIA 190-003)

A hands-on, studio design course where students work at the intersection of technological innovation and socially engaged art. Students will integrate a suite of digital fabrication tools with social design methods to create work that engages in cultural critique. Working with innovative technologies and radical, new art practices, this course will explore: hybrid art forms, critical design for community engagement, interventions in public spaces, tactical media and disobedient objects. These new making strategies will reframe our notions of people, places and participation.