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Bard College Catalogue 2020-21
OverviewThe Studio Arts Program is available to the student who wishes to major in the program and the student who wishes to experience the visual arts and apply that experience to other disciplines.
RequirementsThe student who wishes to moderate into the program and graduate with a degree in studio arts must complete the following course components: two art history and visual culture courses (one to be completed by the time of Moderation; it is also recommended that one be based in contemporary, post-1945 art, when offered); four studio courses from among Drawing I (required), II, III; Painting I, II, III; Printmaking I, II, III; Sculpture I, II, III; Digital I, II; Extended Media I, II; and Art 405-406, Senior Seminar.
At the end of their fourth semester, moderating students are asked to present a body of work to a group of three faculty members—determined by the program and including the student’s adviser—to assess the student’s work to date, clarify strengths and weaknesses, and discuss curricular and academic goals for the rest of the student’s Bard career. Moderated studio arts majors are eligible for the final curricular component of the Studio Arts Program, which consists of Level III studio classes in a variety of painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, extended media, digital, and printmaking options. The content of each studio class and the degree of structure are up to the individual instructor.
Recent Senior Projects in Studio Arts
- “Confined Comfor”
- “Consumption,” an exhibition of oil painting and drawing
- “Marcel’s Bedroom,” a sculpture installation inspired by Marcel Proust’s ideas of time and memory
- “Natural and Unnatural Histories,” an installation
FacilitiesThe exhibition space in the Fisher Studio Arts Building permits an ambitious schedule of exhibitions, which are an integral component of the program. In addition to open student exhibitions, Senior Project shows, and Moderation exhibitions, student work on particular themes is presented at student-curated and faculty-curated shows. Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies is another on-campus site for exhibitions of contemporary art. The Bard College Exhibition Center, located in the village of Red Hook, has approximately 16,000 square feet of gallery, studio, and class space. The Center gives seniors the opportunity to present their Senior Projects in a professional space dedicated solely to the exhibition of student work.
The descriptions below represent a sampling of courses from the past four years.
Digital I: Digital to Physical
DESIGNATED: ELAS COURSE
An introduction to digital image creation and manipulation for display in print and on screen. With Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at the center, the class explores the possibilities of creating imagined and composite landscapes that are feasible only through digital fabrication. Coursework fosters a body of work consisting of online sketchbooks, site-specific installation, digital collage, gifs, large-scale printing, and laser cutting.
With a focus on observational approaches to painting, students create different kinds of pictorial space using oil paint on a range of surfaces, including canvas and paper. They work with basic ideas of line, shape, gesture, texture, value, composition, and color. Demonstrations of technique and presentations of relevant artwork drawn mainly from the 20th century (Morandi, Matisse, Van Gogh) are used to shape assignments.
The definition of sculpture is always expanding to absorb new materials and strategies. It can include objects, actions, time-based media, sound, and light. This course introduces the language of contemporary sculpture through building objects and installations, looking at slides and videos, drawing, writing, verbal critique, and discussion. Students explore how meaning is communicated through sculpture, using materials including wood, fabric, clay, metal, and found objects.
This course emphasizes the study of drawing as a tool for articulating what the eyes, hand, and mind discover when coordinated. Students primarily work from life, forms from nature, and still life in order to gain fundamental and essential drawing skills. Line, shape, value, gesture, volume, weight, composition, and space form the basis for translating 3D to 2D, and these are addressed through assignments and readings.
The goal of the course is to give students a solid foundation in the methods and terminology of intaglio (etching), from drypoint, etching, and aquatint, to wiping and printing. Original prints, as well as reproductions, provide a historic background to printmaking and show how artists have used these techniques throughout the centuries.
Color influences all aspects of our experience—perceptual, emotional, psychological, physiological, even spiritual. The goal is to develop a working knowledge of color as it may be applied to any visual medium. Assignments range from vigorous color studies that train the eye to forms of expression more personal in nature.
From the use of papyrus in 2700 BC up to the present, paper has been an integral component in the creation and distribution of art and information. Yet it is often overlooked as an artistic medium. This course explores the vast technical and conceptual possibilities of this ephemeral material, pushing paper “craft” into a series of thoughtful and challenging artworks in two and three dimensions. Techniques include large-scale collage and assemblage, weaving, papermaking, hand and laser papercutting, embossing, and pulp drawing and casting.
Art and Climate Change
Does art have a role to play in altering the course of climate change? Through focused case studies, students learn basic sculptural techniques that use social and civic engagement as part of their structure, and digital tools in the Adobe Creative Suite for making books and graphic projects to increase visual understanding of climate change. They also take field trips with local nonprofits such as Riverkeeper to understand efforts to address the impacts of climate change on the Hudson Valley.
Extended Media I
The expansion of art’s definition means that the terms used to categorize works of art are often technically incorrect—e.g., film used to categorize “films” not shot on the medium of film. These same terms point to the incredible proliferation of tools and techniques that are becoming readily available to the general public. Through readings, critiques, and assignments, the class explores artistic practices that have stretched previous categories while creating new categories, such as social practice, postmedia, and postinternet art.
Digital II: Site, Space, Place
Students generate a series of artworks that investigate our relationship to space, place, and our immediate environment. They create site-specific works on and off campus that employ techniques used in mapping, navigation, storytelling, and public art. The course also emphasizes the invention of hybrid artworks through the collision of digital tools (Adobe Creative Suite, laser cutter, 3D printer, large-format printing, basic video editing) and complementary disciplines (writing, drawing, collage, installation, sound).
Designed for students who are serious about painting, especially from life. Issues discussed in Painting I serve as building blocks for complex figurative compositions. The focus is on the figure, color relations, and how the sensation of color interacting across the plane can create light and space. Recent 200-level courses have also addressed abstraction, materials, and transitions.
Sculpture II: Earth/Air/Water
DESIGNATED: ELAS COURSE
The class looks at air, water, and earth as sites, subjects, and material for making sculptural installations with a special focus on environmental waste. Students consider a range of artists working with the elements in contemporary art practice and create a series of sculptural projects that address the research platform of the class in fresh and poetic ways. Other Sculpture II courses have addressed steel sculpture and casting.
Drawing II: The Figure
Students are asked to put aside all preconceived ideas about drawing and to discard any technical solutions that they’ve acquired in the past. They work from perception and looking hard to try to uncover the structural bones of the subject matter; explore ways to build spatial relationships, light and air, weight, gravity, speed and tensions while addressing problems of scale; and use
different materials (charcoal, pencils, cut paper, black and white acrylic paint) to create harmony that resonates throughout the composition.
Printmaking II: Mark Making
Intaglio printmaking encompasses a wide range of engraving and etching techniques for drawing and painting images on copper plates. This course examines the unique linear, tonal, and textural mark-making possibilities of these methods and ways students can further aesthetic development in printmaking and beyond. Instruction in the use of ink and presses to transfer images from plates to paper includes traditional and innovative approaches to printing. Incorporation of print processes with collage and other media is also covered. Themes explored in other Printmaking II courses include silkscreen and printing multiples.
Extended Media II: This Class Is a Podcast
In the art world, institutions such as e-flux or MoMA have started to use podcasting as a way to facilitate conversations among artists, thinkers, and activists. The course’s professors host a podcasting series that includes interview episodes from visiting lecturers in art, theory, and activism. In response, students research and produce their own episodes organized around the topics provided by the visitors. Instruction is given in the technical aspects of recording and producing audio in the software programs Audacity and Adobe Audition.
Graphic novels, large-scale sculpture, and urban painting are addressed as examples of artworks that exist as virtual presentations of potentially physical objects. Class assignments also explore projects that require no foundation in physical manifestation, such as game or social media manipulation, and concept-driven imagery based on data mining and mapping. Basic skills in video editing and website management are recommended; Photoshop skills are required.
This course offers each student the opportunity to deeply explore and expand their personal painting interests. Instruction is through individual guidance, class critique, and assignments that are structured to allow students to evolve their painting vocabulary. These include prompts from the external world, the history of painting, and the students’ own experience. But a great deal of emphasis is placed on developing independent resources in the studio. Prerequisites: Painting I and Painting II.
Sculpture III: Installation
The defining characteristic of this advanced course is the freedom and space that each student is given to explore their ideas and go beyond personal limits and preconceptions. All media and methods are welcome as long as they are accompanied by a consideration of the specific spaces of Bard’s UBS Gallery. Students are treated as working artists and are expected to install three site-specific projects of their own inspiration.
Students draw from life, focusing on the figure and working with different materials, including charcoal, pencil, acrylic, and mixed media. They work on different kinds and sizes of paper so that they experience the intimacy of making small pencil drawings on heavy watercolor paper and large-scale drawings on paper that they can erase often and beat up. The goal is to make drawings of the figure that are as alive and relevant today as they have been throughout the history of art.
Printmaking III: Photographic Printmaking Processes (Photogravure to Photopolymer)
The first part of the semester focuses on a hands-on experience of the history of photography, with photogravure (the only continuous-tone photographic process) at its center. Students also explore halftone techniques such as photo etching, screen printing, and photopolymer, with excursions into nonsilver photo processes such as cyanotype, gum bichromate, and carbon printing. The second part is dedicated to the realization of student projects.
Designed to let studio artists indulge in research of the subjects that inform their artwork. The class reads Gilles Deleuze’s seminal book The Fold and explores the practice of contemporary research to better understand how artists engage with subjects and concepts that are often outside of the recognized art world. Students research their own subjects and delve into what is deep beneath the surface of their materials and subjects, aesthetics, and referenced histories.
All studio arts majors engaged in Senior Projects meet for a weekly seminar/critique/discussion. The aim is to create a forum where students can exchange views and ideas. The seminar’s form and subject change from week to week but include writing assignments, group critiques, discussions of exhibitions on campus, and conversations with guest speakers.