Graduate Fine Arts

Graduate Seminars

Offered Spring 2020 FNAR 801-405 - Sachs Research w/ Visiting Professors Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley *By Permission Only

Offered Spring 2020 FNAR 801-402 - Praxis & Poiesis: A Studio Practice Intensive, Matt Freedman 
This seminar examines the essential nature drawing has in an artist’s process. Direct visual perception, self-referential mark making, the viability of space and understanding it, and drawing from one’s own work are some of the drawing experiences encountered in the course. There are regular critiques and discussions based on the work and readings.

FNAR 801- 403 - Contemporary Human and its Critique, Orkan Telhan

This seminar surveys thought patterns, ideas, and ideologies that shape the concept of the “human” and “humanness” across Contemporary Art & Culture. We will examine a set of discursive strategies that offer a critique of the “Human” as an individual, social, and cultural agent with respect to other humans, non-humans, and concepts that anchor the critique such the Climate Change, Social Injustice, and Conflict/Crisis.

We will specifically focus on three key topics: 1) Inhabiting the human (the material, individual, and public body); 2) Governing the human (labor, debt, discipline); 2) Representing the human (imaging and imagining the body across media).

By closely studying a selection of artists, writers, and cultural theorists, we will discuss a variety of positions and their counter-positions disseminated across a multitude of form and venues, ranging from installations to artifacts, events, and publications. The course will include writing assignments and media projects where student responses can materialize in alternative formats. Meeting Pattern: Tuesday 10AM-1PM

FNAR 801-401 - Perspectives in Art: A Nomadic Approach, Jackie Tileston
This seminar will explore both historical and contemporary issues in a spirit of curiosity and critique, and investigate how these ideas can clarify and complicate our practice as artists and our understanding of contemporary art. Issues covered will range from traditional investigations of aesthetic philosophies, Modernism, Postmodernism, Apres-Post and contemporary themes. This panoply of ideas about art, culture, politics, and aesthetics swirls back and forth across time, reinvigorating and destabilizing each other. Many of the readings point to an artist’s place in a complex world of competing ideologies.  The readings and conversations will ideally call into question and fuel your own doubts and beliefs about art, while provoking an ongoing critical inquiry into your own work and the relationship of art and artists to society.

FNAR 801-402 - Defense Against the Dark Arts, David Hartt
Defense Against the Dark Arts is a graduate studio that considers the artwork as space for debate and practice as a form of contention. How do we as artists participate meaningfully in the definition of social and cultural positions? Take for example the concept of Sovereignty, what does it mean in an era of failed states, virtual networks, and environmental catastrophe?  The .yu domain name was retired 18 years after the dissolution of the Yugoslav state.  The island nation of Tuvalu will most likely cease to exist in 50 years due to rising water levels.  The 14th amendment, originally designed to grant citizenship rights to slaves was used to grant personhood to corporations.  Sovereignty is an unstable concept with real social, political and economic consequences.  We as artists have the platforms and the tools to investigate and dimensionalize how this or any other term or concept sits in the world. We’ll look at a variety of historic responses to times of crisis from manifestos to agit-propaganda, from films to a Formulary for a New Urbanism.  Readings, screenings, and discussions make up the curriculum along with written and visual responses.

FNAR 801-403 - Creative Research, Orkan Telhan
This seminar explores what it means to do research in creative and critical practices. Students learn about different research methods from design, engineering, humanities and sciences; utilize them for developing and evaluating their individual creative work as cultural producers. This is an interdisciplinary course that encourages students to observe, measure, analyze, test, study, experiment, diagram, prototype, speculate, generate and criticize; apply multiple modes of inquiry; be conceptual, analytical, propositional and critical at the same time to develop their work from different perspectives.

FNAR 801-401 - Covert Structures, Michelle Lopez
What is the shape of invisibility? How do we explore materiality within industrial everyday sources to expose cultural resistance or a disappearance? These are some questions that will be asked in order to challenge modes of creativity by unweaving conventional narratives in order to build other, non-linear spaces. The seminar contends with the physicality/obstruction of “things” while simultaneously persevering through the material to piece together subversive structures in relation to your images, ideas, your secrets.

Through reading that begins with Ellison’s Invisible Man and ends with critical readings on our prevalent invisible ecosystem of social media and the resistance of hacking, we will negotiate what it means to make a gesture, that is very real and physical (possibly failing), towards an incisive silence with the potential to move beyond boundaries, including the materials and bodies that bind us. Research at the material library and material Connex (NY), along within other departments will be a part of the class, but also each person’s willingness to step out of the comfort zone of artistry that often illustrates, finger-points, or displays. At the root of this class is unearthing one’s own process of creativity, by jumping off cliff into the unknown, and honestly looking at the common forms and strategies that oblige us.

Discussion of reading and group critiques within individual graduate student practice will be a large part of the class.

FNAR-530 – Making Space and Public Art, Ken Lum
The French social philosopher Michel de Certeau upset the common understanding of the relationship between space and place by elevating space as practice place. By this, he meant that place is but a set of geo-physical particularities that has no dynamic meaning unless activated through social engagement so that space is produced. Spatial practice is a key concept in the modern understanding of the city as a society of abstract space, one in which the problem of human alienation is riven with the logic of spatial spectacularization. Public Art is often employed to address or mollify such urban problems through concepts of historical reconstruction or institutional critique, including possibly testing the limits of public expression. Historical markers play a somewhat different role by calling attention to lost or negative histories, albeit most often vetted through the language of tourism factoids. This course will examine the discursive issues at play in respect to art and markers, particularly for Philadelphia. Additionally, important public art works from around the world will be examined. The course will also include the occasional visit of several key works downtown in which the question of what can and cannot said will be pondered.

FNAR-538 – Open Book, Sharka Hyland
"Open Book" will focus on visual communication of information. It will address two methods of inquiry and the corresponding means of visual representation: the objective, well structured research of facts and images, and the creative process of their subjective evaluation and restatement. Students will propose a topic based on their area of interest and engage in a focused, semester-long exploration, which they will present in the form of a designed and printed book.

FNAR-553 – Advanced Printmaking: Silkscreening, Virgil Marti
This course will concentrate on expanding imagery in print media. A wide variety of print techniques will be covered. Techniques will be addressed as they serve the needs of ideas rather than a set technical procedure. Through individual consultation, scheduled class critiques, field trips, guest artists, and collaborative projects, attention will be given to studio work in and out of printmaking so that the technical and conceptual strengths of print media can serve as a worthwhile adjunct to an overall studio practice. The course requires the proposal of a directed project to be explored in this seminar.

FNAR-554 – Graduate Printmaking I
This course will cover the traditional print processes while offering a chance to develop visual skills. The processes covered in class will include monoprinting (one of a kind prints), relief printing and a variety of etching techniques. Demonstrations will be offered to introduce more advanced processes like lithography and silkscreening. This class is an excellent introduction to the visual arts because the through process as well as the development of the image can be recorded.

FNAR-568 – Interactive Design Studio: Cultures of Making, Orkan Telhan
This course is a research-based design studio that introduces new materials, fabrication, and prototyping techniques to develop a series of design proposals in response to the theme: Cultures of Making. This semester of the studio will focus on thinking through the language of three new technologies – digital fabrication, printed electronic, and biosynthesis – to respond creatively and critically to emerging social, cultural, and environmental issues. Through lectures and hands-on workshops, students will produce three functional design prototypes to realize their ideas in different capacities and learn how to position their work within contemporary art, media, and design.

SM 575 – Graduate Drawing Seminar, Matt Freedman
This seminar examines the essential nature drawing has in an artist’s process. Direct visual perception, self-referential mark making, the viability of space and understanding it, and drawing from one’s own work are some of the drawing experiences encountered in the course. There are regular critiques and discussions based on the work and readings.

FNAR-576 – Critical Issues I: A History of Ideas in Art, Jackie Tileston
This seminar will address some of the theories, critical ideas and methods that have influenced studio artists, touching on 2000 years of art and aesthetics from Plato to Dave Hickey. Issues covered will range from traditional investigations of aesthetics to Modernism, Postmodernism, Post Postmodernism and more. Connections will be made between ideas, theories, and practice as it shows up in the work of various 20th century artists. We will investigate how issues in philosophy, art history and criticism can be used by the studio artist to understand not only the contemporary climate in the art world, but his or her own work.

FNAR-576 – Critical Issues II: Contemporary Themes, Jackie Tileston
This seminar will focus on writings within the last ten years or so about the contemporary art world, the current dialogues, and issues specific to our time and place as artists. This seminar will explore contemporary issues in a spirit of curiosity and critique, and relate them to our studio practice. Many of the readings point to an artists place in a complex world of competing ideologies and address how the choices you make in the studio inherently signify a value system.

FNAR-585 -  Performance Studio, Sharon Hayes
This course supports the individual and collaborative production of performance works. As the medium of performance consists of diverse forms, actions, activities, practices and methodologies, the course allows for an open exploration in terms of material and form. Students are invited to utilize technologies, materials and methodologies from other mediums and/or disciplines such as video, photography, writing and sound. In addition to the production component, the course will examine multiple histories of performance through readings, screenings and directed research. 

FNAR-594 – Graduate Photography Seminar
This seminar will examine contemporary issues in photography from the point of view of the practicing artist. Students will meet with visiting critics during the semester, the course will also include student presentations, weekly discussions and group critiques, visits to artists' studios and gallery and museum exhibitions. Texts for the seminar will be drawn from contemporary critical theory in art, philosophy, history and popular culture. Required for all graduate photographers.

FNAR-598 - Grad Sculpture Seminar
Sculpture instructor (to be announced) will lead this studio course based on improvisational approaches to developing individually made sculptural works, as well as works that are made in collaboration with others. As in Music or Theater, these works involve the collaboration of others, yet they are equally initiated by small thoughts, and carry those thoughts into a more public and interactive format of installation. 

FNAR-647 - Expanded Documentary
The sites and situations of documentary in our culture have exploded exponentially - from standardized formulas (like reality tv), to social media and cross-platform journalism. In contemporary art, documentary practice has also significantly expanded and diversified. Since the early 2000's, with several influential exhibitions following Documenta XI, a new generation of artists have taken up the ambition of depicting our social reality, and have done so by re-engaging and re-inventing the documentary mode. This intermediate course will examine this vital contemporary field and will also offer students a comprehensive introduction to the history of documentary practice. We will investigate a series of key questions regarding the relation between politics and aesthetics, mediums and mobility, how documents function to both approximate and deny a sense of 'reality' and perhaps most importantly-what kinds of social, political or personal realities you want to propose in your artwork. The class will be driven by a series of studio assignments and practical experimentation. Although there will be an emphasis on photography and video, students will also explore a multiplicity of strategies and forms (including archival display, essayistic installation, image-text relationships, and the documentation of performance.) 

FNAR-669 – Graduate Video Studio, Joshua Mosley, David Hartt
Through a series of studio projects, this course focuses on the conceptualization and production of time-based works of art. A seminar component of the course reviews contemporary examples of media based art and film. A studio component of the course introduces production techniques including lighting, cinematography, audio, editing, mastering projects, and installing audio-visual works in site-specific locations or gallery spaces.

FNAR-712 – Visual Epistemologies, Orkan Telhan
In this joint seminar between Architecture and Fine Arts, we investigate the alternative modes of diagrammatic thinking that are influencing art and design disciplines. The course provides a historical perspective on the evolution of visual epistemologies from late 1950s and reviews its current state from the lens of contemporary representation theory, computation, fabrication and information technologies. The goal is to gain both theoretical and hands-on experience with the contemporary diagramming techniques in order to advance both designs and the thinking behind them.