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Course Catalog

Art and Art History

The Department of Art and Art History offers courses of instruction in the studio arts, history of art and art education. Students may elect majors or minors in studio art and art history. Studio courses (in drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, video and digital art) stress the fundamentals of visual communication and help students cultivate the technical skills necessary for the effective expression of their ideas in a given medium. Art history courses combine traditional and non-traditional approaches to the study of art, past and present, and stress the importance of viewing visual artifacts and architecture within their social and cultural contexts. Students are encouraged to look at art in an active and engaged way and to think critically about the meaning of art and visual culture in the contemporary world. Both programs, studio and art history, prepare students for graduate programs or entry into a wide variety of professional careers in the arts. Studio majors in the department have gone on to successful careers as practicing artists, commercial illustrators and art educators; those with majors in art history have become art critics, art historians, museum or gallery professionals or arts administrators. Every year, in addition to the usual courses of study, the art and art history department sponsors a number of cultural events that connect the department to the campus at large. The Art Center's three large gallery spaces provide a changing schedule of 10-12 exhibitions annually; visiting artists, critics and historians present their own work and meet with students for critiques and discussions; department faculty and students get together for group critiques and the annual major-minor mixer, and the department sponsors a popular bus trip each semester to visit museums and galleries in Chicago, St. Louis, or Cincinnati.

Requirements for a major

Art History

Total courses required Eight + 2 (see below)
Core courses Any two 100 level courses (ARTH 131,ARTH 132, ARTH 133, ARTH 134, or ARTH 142), and ARTH 494. Students cannot receive credit for both ARTH 132 and ARTH 142.
Other required courses At least one course from each of the three groups below, A, B, and C, so as to work across chronological and geographical boundaries within art history:
  • Group A--European Art before 1500: ARTH218, ARTH235, ARTH340, ARTH350;
  • Group B--European and American Art after 1500: ARTH201, ARTH225, ARTH226, ARTH240, ARTH250, ARTH266, ARTH302, ARTH326, ARTH330, ARTH336;
  • Group C--Asian Art: ARTH231, ARTH232, ARTH233, ARTH 234, ARTH331, ARTH332, ARTH333, ARTH 334.
Number 300 and 400 level courses Three: two 300 level courses plus ARTH 494
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior comprehensive requirement consists of the completion of ARTH 494 with a grade of C- or better, as well as a thesis. The course reviews the major methodologies of art history, through reading and discussion of landmark articles in the field, and initiates students in their application. A major original research paper, on a topic of the student's choosing, is done under the direction of the instructor. The results of the research are presented in a formal twenty-minute public lecture at the end of the semester.
Additional information Additional information: In addition to the eight art history courses, art history majors also must take two courses in cognate fields, one of which is to be chosen from the following: ASIA 140, ASIA 281, CLST 100, CLST 262, CLST 263, CLST 264, ENG 261, ENG 281, HIST 107, HIST 108, HIST 111, HIST 112, PHIL 240, REL 130, REL 130E, REL 132. The other course must be chosen from among the studio courses (any studio course). First-­year seminars on art historical topics may be counted toward an art history major or minor.
Writing in the Major The following courses provide the opportunity to satisfy the writing in the art history major requirement:
  • ARTH 310: Painting and Presence: Image Theory in Late Medieval Art
  • ARTH 327: Parisian Avant-Gardes: Matisse, Picasso, Braque
  • ARTH 330: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Post Impressionism
  • ARTH 334: Women and East Asian Art

In order to satisfy the writing in the major requirement in one of these courses, the student will produce a satisfactory 10-12 pp. paper reflective of the disciplinary standards of art history, and which meets the following requirements: the effective marshaling of evidence in support of a compelling thesis; a methodological framework; critical use of original sources; interdisciplinary bibliography; Chicago Style footnotes.

Studio Art

Total courses required Nine + 2 Art History
Core courses Three introductory courses--one from each of the following categories:
  • painting/drawing : ARTS 152, ARTS 153
  • sculpture/ceramics: ARTS 175, ARTS 170
  • photo/new media: ARTS 160, ARTS 163, ARTS 165

And Senior Projects: ARTS 491, ARTS 492

Other required courses Four additional studio art courses at the 200 or 300-level, at least one of which must be at the 300-level. Two art history courses, one survey (ARTH 131, ARTH 132, ARTH 133, ARTH 142) and one upper level course (ARTH 226 (particularly recommended), ARTH 250, ARTH 326, ARTH 225)
Number 300 and 400 level courses Three including ARTS 491 and ARTS 492
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior comprehensive requirement consists of the completion of ARTS 491, Senior Projects (fall semester senior year) and ARTS 492, Senior Projects (spring semester senior year) with a grade of C or better, and an exhibition of the student's work at the end of the senior year. Throughout this two seminar sequence, students will review the major methodologies of studio art practice through sustained exploration of ideas, continued experimentation with materials and techniques, ongoing critiques with faculty and peers and the development of a professional artist's packet. Examples of contemporary art practice will be investigated though lectures, readings, research presentations and museum visits. At the end of spring semester, students will present a cohesive, conceptually focused body of work for exhibition and a formal gallery talk at the opening reception in the Visual Arts Gallery.
Recent changes in major Effective for students entering Fall 2010 and as an option for students entering before: The number of required 100-level introductory courses is decreased from 4 to 3 and the number of 200 & 300 level courses increased to 4. Both ARTS 491 and 492 are now required.
Writing in the Major

In order to fulfill the writing in the major requirement, studio art majors enrolled in ARTS 491 will write a two to three page research-based artist statement in conversation with the artwork they are producing in their studios. Students will identify and research artistic influences as related to their studio practice, as well as contextualize that practice within art history and contemporary cultural concerns. The ideas that students explore through this writing requirement will be informed by and influence the public presentation of their artwork, which regularly happens through verbal critique and artist talks.

Requirements for a minor

Art History

Total courses required Five
Core courses Four art history courses, one of which must be ARTH 131, ARTH 132, ARTH 133, ARTH 134, or ARTH 142, and one studio art course. Students cannot receive credit for both ARTH 132 and ARTH 142.
Other required courses Of the three non-introductory art history courses, one course must be taken from each of the three groups above, A, B, and C. Students considering a minor in art history should consult with the department by the end of the sophomore year.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Studio Art

Total courses required Four + one Art History
Core courses Four studio courses. At least one 300/400 level studio course is required for all minors. Students should contact their minor advisor to enroll in a 300-level course.
Other required courses One course in Art History.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One