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Art Studio 301

ARTS 301: Studio Practice and Theory

Credit Hours: (3) One hour lecture; three hours laboratory

This course is an intermediate level course that will ask students to engage in developing an ongoing process of applying artistic theory to their personal studio practice. This is required of all BFA studio majors their 1st semester junior year.


Detailed Description of Course

This course reverses the traditional model of art making, using art theory as a starting point for art making rather than physical technique. In addition, this course introduces strategies for the research, development, organization, analysis, presentation, and criticism of individual artistic content. This course will build on the link between studio practice and research in order for the student to develop a personal vision, in conjunction with a method of inquiry into the development process of making art.

Juniors and Seniors outside the Fine Art Studio areas are also encouraged to enroll. The course sets out to achieve the following objectives: 1) to break “the popular notion of artist” and focus on the artist as intellectual, and research as a means to explore the artists subject and content. 2) to challenge students to disrupt the way that they are accustomed to talking about art and transform the “critique” into a discussion, a platform, a symposium, an interview,  and so on, resulting in an open dialogue among students. 3) to encourage students to explore the studio practice beyond the studio and challenge students to find ways in which contemporary culture influences their own work as well as how their work fits into the present day. The course also sets out to help the students become more articulate in discussing their own work. Students may also be asked to write on social, political, scientific or cultural topics related directly or indirectly to their work. We will also take a look at artists for whom research has been a significant part of the studio practice. Thus students should be prepared to make 1 to 2 trips to museums and to visit artists’ studios and /or view exhibitions. *Class participation is absolutely essential in this course.”

The course will focus on conceptual development, research, work process and content structuring. Students will develop techniques for shepherding an idea from inception all the way to project presentation and beyond. Critique participation, writing and research will be as important as any finished artwork.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course


1. In this course students will attend lectures focusing on significant artists and theories.
2. Seminars and class discussions will be used to explore applications of theory.
3. Informal drawing exercises that connect art practice to theory will be used.
4. Students will create a body of work based on a focused senior project informed by  investigation and experimentation.


Student Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students will:

Develop methods of personal critique in order to assume responsibility for the quality and type of content in their work; use a range of modes of reference from literal to abstract in developing the content of their work as part of their personal critique, they will begin a process of identification of trends and patterns in their own work demonstrate their ability to anticipate the responses of different potential audiences.


Assessment Measures


Students will be assessed by written exercises, informal art exercises, class participation, supporting artwork in their discipline, and a final paper.


Other Course Information

Philosophy of Art, Gene Blocker

But is it Art? An Introduction to Art Theory  Cynthia a. Freeland

Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A SourceBook of Artist’s Writings (Second edition revised and expanded by Katherine Stiles

Visual Thinking.  Rudolph Arnheim


Review and Approval

March 27, 2012