Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.
Art and Art History
Chair, 2011-12: John Saurer, printmaking, drawing, sculpture
Vice Chair, 2011-12: Wendell Arneson, painting, drawing
Faculty, 2011-12: Guido Alvarez, new media; Irve Dell, sculpture; Steve Edwins, architectural drawing; Jill Ewald, director, Flaten Art Museum; Kathryn Fisher, ceramics; Ron Gallas, ceramics; Mary Griep, drawing, painting; Karna Hauck, art education; Karil Kucera, art history, Asian studies; Meg Ojala, photography; Matthew Rohn, art history, environmental studies; Nancy Thompson, art history
The mission of the Department of Art and Art History at St. Olaf College is to provide liberal arts students with opportunities to experience, create, and learn about visual images so they may better understand themselves and the role of art in a global society. An outstanding, professionally-active faculty, a broad curriculum, and a fine exhibition program in Flaten Art Museum provide a wide range of experiences in studio art, art history, and art education. The department has a strong foundation program and is committed to teaching technical skills as well as critical thinking and creative innovation in visual media and in the study of art history. Graduates have received national acclaim in many professional art fields across the country, including museum and gallery administration, advertising, architecture, graphic design, illustration, animation and fimmaking, studio art, and teaching.
overview of the major
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJORS
Requirements for a Studio Art Major
Students majoring in studio art must earn a minimum of ten credits including Art 343. Students elect courses equaling two art history and eight studio. The department strongly recommends Art 252 or 253 as one of the art history courses taken. Majors must take three foundation courses (102, 103, 104). Foundation courses may be taken in any order. One level II course must be selected from each of three different areas. See course listings by areas below........AREAS
|Two-Dimensional Media||Drawing||225, 232, 233|
|Three-Dimensional Media||Ceramics||207, 234|
|New Media||Photography||205, 238|
|Digital Video||229, 239|
Majors must participate in the annual juried show. To fulfill the requirements of the studio art major and studio art education major, each student must enter at least two juried art exhibitions on or off campus by the beginning of their senior year. Students unable to meet this requirement must speak with their advisor or the department chair.
Requirements for an Art History Major
Students majoring in art history must earn nine credits in the following:
(1-2) 150, 151. It is recommended that a student take Art 150: Introduction to Art History I and Art 151: Introduction to Art History II as early as possible.
(3-7) A minimum of five courses chosen from among Art 250-275 and Art 370 and approved courses in other departments. Approved courses include: Art/Asian Studies 270, 310; Environmental Studies 270; Philosophy 243. See the department’s Web site for an updated list. A maximum of two courses in art history taken in off-campus programs may, upon approval of the department, be applied to the major. At least one of the five level II courses must concentrate on European and/or North American art, and at least one course must concentrate on Asian, African, and/or Latin American art.
(8) One credit in Studio Art.
(9) Art 350: The Methods of Art History.
(10) Majors must also successfully complete the non-credit-bearing Senior Art History colloquium or its equivalent.
Requirements for a Visual Arts Education Teaching Major
Students undertaking a visual arts education teaching major complete the graduation studio major and the required Education Department courses. Art 207: Ceramics is required as part of the Art Education major.
Information about the criteria considered in conferring distinction is available in the Department of Art and Art History.
Many students arrange for part of their work in London, Florence, Rome, New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, or Minneapolis. With departmental permission, a qualified junior or senior can enroll in specialized studio courses within the normal 14-course maximum for a major in the following independent art schools as part of their St. Olaf art major: Kansas City Art Institute, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Internship opportunities are possible in specialized fields of study that involve students in the workaday professional art world. Both art history and studio students can take advantage of the Minneapolis Art Institute, the Walker Art Center, and other Minneapolis-St. Paul art institutions. Studio majors also can gain professional experience in the Twin Cites in graphic design, illustration, architecture, and other areas.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GRADUATE OR PROFESSIONAL STUDY
Students interested in studio-related careers or study are strongly encouraged to complete extensive coursework in the medium or discipline of their choice and to develop a strong portfolio. Also recommended is participation in special programs incorporating advanced work, such as internships or one-semester study at cooperating art schools. A unique fifth-year program of apprenticeship offered by the Department of Art and Art History provides studio space to a limited number of exceptional art student applicants who wish to spend the year after graduation concentrating on building a strong portfolio in preparation for graduate studies.
The prospective graduate student, following the completion of one or two survey courses, should take at least one course each in medieval, Renaissance, modern, and a non-Western area of art and a second course in an area of interest and should at least start studying an appropriate world language. Those interested in the museum professions should also seek an internship. Art 350: The Methods of Art History is taught as a seminar with student presentations and discussions patterned on typical graduate school offerings. The department reserves the right to retain student work for its file.
Most advanced courses require the completion of one or more foundation courses.
This foundation-level studio course introduces the aesthetic, conceptual, and technical foundations of two-dimensional art-making and ways two-dimensional media inform the creation and understanding of art in cultural contexts. Students explore the form and space of two-dimensional images through a wide variety of materials and media. The course emphasizes strategies for idea generation. Students engage in dynamic activity, spirited investigation, and thoughtful creative expression. Materials fee. Offered each semester.
This foundation-level studio course introduces the aesthetic, conceptual, and technical foundations of three-dimensional art-making and ways three-dimensional media inform the creation and understanding of art in cultural contexts. Students explore the form and space of three-dimensional images through a wide variety of materials and media. The course emphasizes strategies for idea generation. Students engage in dynamic activity, spirited investigation, and thoughtful creative expression. Materials fee. Offered each semester. Counts toward biomedical studies concentration.
This foundation-level studio course introduces the aesthetic, conceptual, and technical foundations of new media art-making and ways new media inform the creation and understanding of art in cultural contexts, with special emphasis on cyberculture and hypertext. Students explore the form and space of new media images through a wide variety of materials and media. The course emphasizes strategies for idea generation. Students engage in dynamic activity, spirited investigation, and thoughtful creative expression. Materials fee. Offered each semester. Counts toward film studies concentration.
San Salvador is a small Caribbean island boasting a great diversity of marine and terrestrial habitats. Students explore intersections between art and science as they develop basic drawing skills. Emphasis is placed on observation of the natural world. Lectures and field trips are coordinated with Biology 287: Island Biology. No prerequisites. Apply through International and Off-Campus Studies. Offered during Interim in alternate years. Not open to first-year students.
LEVEL II STUDIO COURSES
This course introduces students to analog and digital photographic processes as means for creating works of art. Students learn terminology and critical approaches to photography. The course includes presentations on concepts and photographers' works, discussions of articles, and regular critiques. Students are introduced to the history of the medium through presentations, readings, and hands-on work such as constructing a camera obscura. Students develop critical skills and the ability to analyze and interpret photographic work. Materials fee. Offered each semester.
This course introduces students to the ceramic processes of wheel throwing and hand building as means for creating works of art. Students learn terminology and critical approaches to ceramics. Students develop critical skills and the ability to analyze and interpret ceramic art work. Class emphasizes creative approaches to solving visual problems through ceramic work. Slide presentations on contemporary and historical ceramics provide background for assignments and highlight the role of ceramics in various cultural contexts. Materials fee. Offered each semester. Credit will not be given for both Art 121 and Art 207. Counts toward biomedical studies concentration.
This course develops and stimulates research into the emotional/expressive properties of painting. By investigating thematic, compositional, and technical problems, students develop a personalized approach to ideas and content. Students learn the importance of process, flexibility, alternatives, and the recognition that a painting has a life of its own. Prerequisite: Art 102. Materials fee. Offered annually.
This course explores the fundamental principles of design, color, and composition through watercolor. Through advanced techniques, strong drawing, and exploration of personal ideas, students develop a personal, expressive, and visual language. Students are encouraged to move past trite and predictable solutions to seek alternatives, take initiative, and celebrate creative risk-taking. Prerequisite: Art 102. Materials fee. Offered annually.
This sculpture course introduces lost wax bronze casting, an art and industrial process that changed the course of human civilization. Students learn to cast, finish, and present cast metal work, building upon concepts from the foundation course and exploring the next level of sculpture topics, issues, and concerns. The course makes use of hands-on instruction, readings, slide talks, and discussion. Materials fee. Offered annually in the fall semester. Counts toward biomedical studies concentration.
This sculpture course introduces students to metal forming, shaping, fastening and brazing, and welding, building upon concepts from the foundation course and presenting the next level of sculpture topics, issues and concerns. Both majors and non-majors discover an art and industrial process that has great artistic and practical application The course makes use of hands-on instruction, readings, slide talks, and discussion. Materials fee. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Through a sequence of projects, architectural design students learn about drawing (hand drafting and computer-aided drawing and design) and architectural design processes that require the integration of social, artistic, technical, and environmental issues. Prerequisite: Art 102. Materials fee. Offered alternate years.
Emphasizing individual concepts, personal expression and strong composition, this course explores relief and lithography. Using large-scale, multicolor moveable block, collograph, wood or lino block techniques and lithography stones or aluminum plates in both black and white and color, students produce multiple images on one of the department's three presses. Students become familiar with the heritage of old masters as well as contemporary artists in printmaking. Prerequisite: Art 102. Materials fee. Offered annually.
This course provides a strong foundation in the array of copper plate processes of etching, aquatint, lift ground, soft ground, and polymer plate printmaking processes as well as in painterly monoprinting techniques. Students address personal sources of ideas, experimentation, drawing skills and compositional concerns and draw upon examples of master printmakers to discuss how images reflect culture. Critical thinking skills are necessary in discussion and critiques. Prerequisite: Art 102. Materials fee. Offered annually.
This course provides an introduction to the computer as a tool for creating animated art. During the semester, students utilize digital painting, drawing, scanning, image manipulation, digitized sound, stop motion animation, and video to produce a variety of animated art pieces. Class projects include stop motion animation, flash animations, video art, puppets, and toys. Students explore relationships between traditional and electronic art forms. Prerequisite: digital painting skills, Art 104 or 117; or permission of the instructor. Materials fee. Offered alternate years. Counts toward film studies concentration.
This course focuses on the development of pieces of video art. Students study the rudiments of visual storytelling by developing their own short projects. Students study all aspects of production from concept to screening, including idea generation, pre-production planning, lighting, shooting, editing, and sound mixing, with special emphasis on innovative approaches to narrative form. Prerequisites: Art 104, Art 228, and basic Photoshop skills; or permission of instructor Materials fee. Offered alternate years. Counts toward film studies concentration.
This course explores 3D computer animation as a tool for creating visual images with movement and sound. Emphasizing concept development and creative expression, students investigate time-based software, including animation and video capture programs. The course introduces students to the work of traditional and computer animators. Prerequisite: Art 104 or 117 or permission of the instructor. Materials fee. Offered alternate years.
Drawing the human form from life has been a mainstay in the training of artists since the Renaissance because of its unparalleled discipline in the training of the eye. Along with becoming better observers, students reach a personal understanding of the figure and an appreciation of its art-historical uses. Various media and techniques are explored as a means to understand the expressive possibilities of the figure. Prerequisite: Art 102 and 113. Offered annually.
This course, designed for students who want to heighten their drawing skills, emphasizes using expressive qualities of drawing by investigating various media, techniques, and content. Assignments are both traditional and nontraditional within historical and contemporary perspectives. Experimentation is encouraged. Students are encouraged to develop a personal visual language. The course culminates in the production of a series of drawings that relate thematically. Critical thinking and discussion skills are important. Prerequisite: Art 102. Materials fee. Offered annually.
This intermediate-level course assumes students have a substantial understanding of ceramic processes, plus a good awareness of their own interests in the realm of ceramic expression. The instructor helps students focus their efforts by proposing specific areas of investigation. Prerequisite: Art 103 or 207. Previous studio experience in ceramics is accepted when approved by the instructor. Materials fee. Offered annually.
In this intermediate photography course, students explore a variety of techniques and topics. Techniques include historic processes such as cyanotype and salted paper printing, digital photography, large-scale color printing, and traditional black and white photography. Students investigate experimental approaches and nontraditional forms for presentation, and they investigate photography from broad historical, aesthetic, and social perspectives. This course includes field trips, readings, discussion, and slide presentations. Prerequisite: Art 104 or 205, or permission of instructor. Materials fee. Offered annually.
This course explores video as a creative medium. Students learn basic video production and editing techniques, producing a number of individual and group projects. During the semester students examine a wide variety of videos and films, exploring experimental, documentary, and narrative approaches. The class also considers the history of video art and its relationship to other time-based and static art forms. Prerequisite: Art 104 or Art 117 or permission of the instructor. Materials fee. Offered alternate years. Counts toward film studies concentration.
The most exciting art forms today are interdisciplinary. The boundaries between the fine arts disciplines of visual art, music, dance, and theater are now seen as completely permeable. This course allows students to combine visual art making with movement, sound, and performance to create spectacle. The course emphasizes process and collaboration incorporating readings, discussion, critiques, field trips, guest artists, and studio practice. Prerequisite: one full-credit course in art, music, dance, or theatre, or the equivalent as approved by instructor. Materials/field trip fee. Offered every two to three years.
This course provides intensive exposure to career opportunities in: architecture, painting, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, photography, illustration, video, digital media, and design of all kinds (from toys to exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Working five to seven hours a day, students will interview over 25 artist professionals during the month, visit more than 100 galleries and museums, and write extensively about artists and artwork. This course does not count toward the minimum major in studio art or art history. Prerequisite: Art 253 (preferred) or Art 252. Offered during Interim.
298 Independent Study: Studio Art
Prerequisites: three foundation courses and two upper division courses in area of study.
LEVEL III: ADVANCED STUDIO COURSES
This course enables the advanced studio art student to pursue further work in any chosen two or three dimensional medium or combination of media including performance, installation, and collaborative ways of working. This course is organized around an interdisciplinary theme set each year by the instructor. Within a seminar format, students read, discuss, and write on the selected topic in conjunction with topic-driven individual studio work and critiques. Prerequisites: three foundation studio courses plus a minimum of two level II studio courses. Offered annually.
This capstone course in the studio art program consists of advanced studio work, a visiting artist series, weekly critiques, and discussions with faculty and peers. Each student's independent work with a faculty adviser culminates in a senior exhibition at Flaten Art Museum. Weekly sessions also cover such topics as preparing a resume, documenting one's work, framing, and producing exhibition announcements and posters. Offered annually.
398 Independent Research: Studio Art
Prerequisites: three foundation courses and three courses in area of study.
ART HISTORY COURSES
All art history courses except Art 298, 350 and 398 have no prerequisites and may be taken in any order.
Discussion section. This introduction to art history examines select artistic traditions among ancient and medieval cultures of Asia and Europe. Through lectures, discussions, and presentations, students develop skills in visual analysis and interpretation, as well as a broad historical exposure to a variety of major historical periods. The course considers a variety of artistic media, including painting, sculpture, and architecture, in addition to broader issues of aesthetics, function, and patronage. Offered annually. Counts towards ancient studies and medieval studies majors.
Discussion section. This introduction to art history examines select European, Native American, Euro-American, and African artistic traditions from c. 1400 to the present. Through lectures, discussions, and other activities, students develop skills in visual analysis and interpretation. The course considers a variety of artistic media, including painting, sculpture, architecture, and textiles, as well as broader issues of aesthetics, function, and patronage. Offered annually.
This course surveys the diverse arts produced by people of African descent in the Americas (U.S. and the Caribbean), from the colonial period to the present. An examination of selected West and Central African cultural practices and art forms serves as a basis for understanding creative transformations in the African Diaspora. Important issues to be addressed include art and resistance, survivals and transformations, and ideas about race and the construction of beauty. Offered occasionally. Counts towards Africa & the Americas concentration.
This lecture course surveys how art (mostly painting and sculpture) in Europe unfolded in remarkable ways relative to values signaled by the French Revolution. The course examines Neo-Classical art as it expresses Enlightenment thinking, the tumultuous Romantic and Realist imagery and times, and ends with Impressionism. Offered periodically during Interim. Open to first-year students.
This course introduces modern industrial culture and thought through a study of painting, sculpture, architecture, and related arts. Students learn about the strikingly new modes of art created in Europe and the United States after 1880, examining work by Edvard Munch, Frank Lloyd Wright, Pablo Picasso, Hannah Höch, and many others. Offered annually.
This course is an introduction to modern and postmodern art and thought after World War II through a survey of painting, sculpture, and new-media arts. Students learn about celebrated art and artists, major values such as issues of identity informing their work, and ways of analyzing and making sense of newer art. Offered annually. Prerequisite: at least one college art history or studio art course recommended. Counts towards American studies major.
This course explores painting, sculpture, architecture, and urban development in Italy from c. 1300 to c. 1600. The course focuses on the major urban centers of the period: Florence, Rome, and Venice. Students address the ways in which art functioned in its original Renaissance context and explore issues of artistic identity and the importance of patronage in the period. Offered periodically.
This course is an intensive introduction to the history of the art and architecture of Florence. Through a study of Florence's topography, its built environment, and painted and sculpted imagery, students study the history of Florence from its inception as a Roman colony through the 19th century when Florence was the capital of the newly unified Italian nation. The study of Florence is enriched by travel to other Tuscan cities such as Cortona, Siena, and Lucca. Offered during Interim in alternate years.
Art/Asian Studies 259: The Arts of China
This course is intended as an introduction to the history of Chinese art, offering a survey of major artistic developments from neolithic times to the present. Among the topics considered: ritual bronzes, funerary remains of the Qin and Han, Buddhist sculpture, and the evolution of landscape painting. Important issues discussed include production and patronage, function, and borrowing and influence in the evolution of artistic works across time and space. Offered annually.
Art/Asian Studies 260: The Arts of Japan
This course introduces the history of Japanese art, offering a survey of major artistic developments from neolithic times to the present. Among the topics considered: funerary remains of the neolithic through Kofun eras; indigenous as well as imported religious traditions and their imagery, and the secular arts. Issues discussed include production and patronage, function, and borrowing and influence in the evolution of artistic works. Offered annually.
This course examines architectural monuments and their symbolic forms combined with evidence of earthly and divine concepts. From cave dwellings to geodesic domes, from Eastern to Western systems, students review sacred and profane structures from a variety of cultures. Each student investigates a living reality of space, function, and form found in human-built environments. Offered periodically.
Art/Asian Studies 262: Sacred Sites of South Asia
This course examines art and architecture in a variety of sacred sites in India. Students investigate the development of traditional forms of architecture and imagery at Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain sites, the evolution of these forms within later constructed temple complexes, and the impact of Islam upon these earlier religious traditions. Students also explore Western involvement in the modern identities of sites and new approaches to sacred sites seen in 20th-century works. Offered in alternate years during Interim.
This course explores the arts and architecture of western Europe from c. 300 to c. 1300. Through lectures and discussions, students study paintings, sculpture, manuscripts, metalwork, and stained glass windows created by the many cultures of this rich and diverse period in the history of art. Students approach the material in a variety of ways; in addition to issues of style, technique, and iconography, students address issues of viewing, patronage, and gender. Offered periodically. Counts towards medieval studies major.
This course examines visual forms that reveal Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Islamic religious concepts in painting, sculpture, and architecture of sacred precincts and royal palaces of India. Included are monuments that incorporate the axis mundi, as well as religious images carried by monks into East Asia. Students probe into the meaning behind artistic expressions. Open to first-year students.
This course is an introductory exploration of Scandinavian visual arts and the cultural and historical forces related to them. The span of time, specific cultures covered, and art forms studied vary depending upon the instructor, but the course usually focuses on the "Modern Era" (mid-18th through early 20th centuries). Offered periodically during Interim. Open to first-year students.
This course serves as an introductory survey of the diverse arts and cultures of sub-Saharan Africa. Students investigate material culture in its original context to understand the social roles that art plays in many aspects of life. Students also learn to identify and discuss styles, materials, techniques, and the roles of artists. Special topics considered may include: contemporary versus historical art in Africa, notions of "authenticity" and tourist art, cultural heritage and repatriation of art works, and the politics and history of museum display. Offered periodically. Counts towards Africa & the Americas concentration.
Art/Asian Studies 270: Visual Culture of Modern China
This course highlights major visual arts movements within China over the last century, from the end of the imperial era to current times. Students look at a variety of issues: class and gender; China in the world art market, Chinese art past and present, and a variety of "isms" now seen as defining Chinese art. A major them is to define "visual cultural" in all its nuances.
This course treats both the art created in the Gothic period in Western Europe (c. 1140-1400) and the revival of the Gothic style in 19th-century Europe. In the later medieval world, the course focuses on the rise of the city, on the spirituality of the Franciscan and Dominican orders, and on a new class of patrons who, fueled by the new economy of Europe, commissioned art on a larger scale than ever before. The course ends with a discussion of what the Gothic came to mean in the 19th century, as European nations solidified and industrialized. Offered every three years.
This seminar-style course focuses on a specific art-historical topic, and students learn how to pursue art-historical practice beyond the introductory level. Topics change with each offering. Prerequisite: at least one art history course or permission of the instructor. Offered periodically. Counts towards ancient studies and medieval studies majors.
This course explores the roles of women as creators, subjects, and patrons of art. It helps students lean about how gender permeates culture and art. Specific topics vary. Each topic introduces a time period and place that has revealed much about gender and visual culture. Students work seminar-style yet at an introductory level for those new to art history or women's studies. Counts toward the major in women's studies and art and art history. Offered periodically.
298 Independent Study: Art History
Prerequisites: two upper-division courses in area of study.
Art/Asian Studies 310 Buddhism through Text and Image
This course examines Buddhist images and their relationship to textual sources. Beginning with a close reading of Buddhist texts in translation, students study how Buddhist images and architecture derive from textual sources -- and often move beyond them. The course considers the interrelatedness of text and image in Buddhist practice. Attention is also paid to Western notions of Buddhism and the development of Buddhist art studies in the West.
This seminar explores methods by which art historians and curators analyze works of art. Students develop an advanced understanding of these methods by application of various methods to works of art, by examining historical factors surrounding principle movements in the study of art history and by engaging in lively class debates about them. Readings, discussions, and presentations culminate in an independent research project that allows each student to find his or her own place in the discipline. Prerequisite: two upper-division courses in art history.
This course is for experienced studio and art history students and those interested in contemporary theory. Students directly encounter art and new theory, explore art criticism (in part through practicing it) and learn about ethics to help think about value judgments. Recommended for students contemplating art history or studio graduate work. Prerequisite: completion of BTS-T and at least one studio and/or one art history course recommended.
This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the instructor and may relate to his/her research interests. Prerequisite: determined by individual instructor. Offered based on department decision.
398 Independent Research: Art History
Prerequisites: three courses in area of study.
Courses IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS APPROVED FOR ART HISTORY CREDIT
American Racial and Multicultural Studies 253: Topic: Art, Civil Rights, & Identity - not offered 2011-12
Environmental Studies 270: Nature and American Landscapes