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The MFA Art Practice program’s course of study addresses a wide range of intellectual, aesthetic, technical and practical concerns. An underlying thread across the curriculum is the ability to situate one’s creative practice within a thoroughly considered social context.

The program’s low-residency framework comprises three intensive summer residency periods on SVA’s campus in the heart of Chelsea in New York City, and four semesters of rigorous, highly interactive rich-media coursework that can be completed from anywhere in the world. Throughout the program, each artist also works under the close guidance of an assigned mentor.

Artists in the program engage in research-based practices, and are encouraged to converse and collaborate across subject matters using a combination of traditional and non-traditional media, technologies and techniques. Students combine personal narrative with critical theory to create works that comment on societal issues. The atmosphere is one that promotes experimentation without fear of failure.

Degree candidates must successfully complete 60 credits, including all required courses. The final summer semester includes the public presentation of a thesis project and accompanying written thesis document.

First Year Requirements

SUMMER SEMESTER
APG-5020     Graduate Seminar I                
APG-5110     Studio Practice I
A
PG-5140     Lunchtime Lecture Series

A
PG-5231     Beginning Video and Sound Editing Workshop 
or
APG-5232     Intermediate Through Advanced Video and Sound Editing Workshop

Two of the following workshops:
APG-5278     Studio Workshop: Ceramics
APG-5279     Studio Workshop: Fibers                   
APG-5282     Studio Workshop: Nature and Technology Lab            
APG-5289     Studio Workshop: Digital Sculpture        

FALL SEMESTER
APG-5320      Foundations of Criticism I
APG-5350      Autobiography of Place I
APG-5390      Studio Practice Review I       

SPRING SEMESTER
APG-5355      Autobiography of Place II                  
APG-5395      Studio Practice Review II                   
APG-5420      Art History I                                

 

Second Year Requirements

SUMMER SEMESTER
APG-6020/6022   Graduate Seminar II 
APG-6110/6113   Studio Practice II                     
APG-6130 Art Law Workshop                   
APG-6140 Art Business Workshop                     
APG-6220     Performance Workshop                 
APG-6230 Participant Symposium                      

FALL SEMESTER
APG-6310 Art History II                                          
APG-6340 Artists’ Writing                          
APG-6390 Studio Practice Review III                  

SPRING SEMESTER
APG-6395 Studio Practice Review IV                 
APG-6410 Foundations of Criticism II                 
APG-6480     Thesis Preparation

 

Third Year Requirements

SUMMER SEMESTER
APG-6600     Graduate Seminar III                      
APG-6620     Studio Practice III                
APG-6640     Thesis                        

General Course Listing

FIRST YEAR

APG-5020
Graduate Seminar I
Summer 2017 semester: 3 credits
In this foundational seminar students develop their own art practice in conjunction with a deeper understanding of contemporary issues in art, theory and politics. Topics of special attention include social engagement, collaboration, transdisciplinary practice and personal narrative. Through class discussions, group critiques and one-one-one studio visits, students will work with both core faculty and a robust roster of visiting artists. 

APG-5110
Studio Practice I
Summer 2017 semester: 6 credits
The core of the summer sessions is studio practice. The objective is to produce original, advanced work with instruction and support from faculty and under the guidance of an individual mentor, who will offer ongoing critical evaluation. Reviews will primarily take place from Monday through Friday, with weekly group critiques on Tuesdays. Studio Practice is the central element and primary requirement of the program. As such, it is expected that students will make notable progress in their individual practice. Studios are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

APG-5140
Lunchtime Lecture Series
Summer 2017 semester: no credit
The Lunchtime Lecture Series explores visual representation in myriad forms as modes of inquiry for artists, writers, and other creative professionals. The series invites internationally recognized artists, curators, critics and scholars to give presentations to the MFA Art Practice community.

APG-5231
Beginning Video and Sound Editing Workshop
Summer 2017 semester: 1 credit
Through various methods including instructor-led workshops, field experiments, studio production and group critique, students will explore practices for creating audio and video projects, possibilities for installation, multichannel works and performance. Students will learn about high-definition video and proper compression for projection, web and DVD, and become familiar with basic editing software including Apple Final Cut Pro X. The workshop includes screenings of film, video and sound work from modern and contemporary artists. It considers the use of media as both a document and final product.

APG-5232
Intermediate Through Advanced Video and Sound Editing Workshop
Summer 2017 semester: 1 credit
Through various methods including instructor-led workshops, field experiments, studio production and group critique, students will explore the best practices for creating audio and video projects, possibilities for installation, multichannel works and performance. This workshop will assist students in mastering advanced video and audio editing techniques, as well as the opportunity for critical dialogue about video works in production. Students may work with Apple Final Cut Pro 7 or Apple Final Cut Pro X, Adobe After Effects, Sound Track Pro and/or Pro Tools to create a video or sound installation. The course includes screenings of film, video and sound work from modern and contemporary artists. It considers the use of media as both a document and final product.

APG-5278
Studio Workshop: Ceramics
Summer 2017 semester: 1 credit
Participants in this workshop will have the opportunity to explore ceramics as a tool for their individual practice. We will cover practical hand building, mold-making and cast ceramics, among other techniques.

APG-5279
Studio Workshop: Fibers
Summer 2017 semester: 1 credit
Participants in this workshop will have the opportunity to explore fibers as tools for their individual practice. A series of demonstrations that explore 2D and 3D surfaces will introduce the traditional methods of sewing, felting, dyeing, knotting and weaving. Digital demonstrations will explore pattern design for laser cutting, digital embroidery and textile design that can be outsourced to print. Students will also learn techniques for designing and creating costumes and wearable art for performances, videos and photographic works, and using soft sculpture and fiber projects for installations. Current trends and historical examples of fiber art and costumes will be discussed.

APG-5282
Studio Workshop: Nature and Technology Lab
Summer 2017 semester: 1 credit
Students in this workshop will have the opportunity to explore the biological realm as it relates to art practice. Demonstrations include microscopy, plant tissue engineering, molecular cuisine and the production of micro ecosystems. Students will be encouraged to discuss and explore how biomedical sciences alter social, ethical and cultural values in society. The workshop will take place in the Nature and Technology (NAT) Lab, which houses microscopes for photo and video, skeleton collections, specimen collections, slide collections, an herbarium and an aquarium as well as a library.

APG-5289
Studio Workshop: Digital Sculpture
Summer 2017 semester: 1 credit
Making sculptures using computer-aided fabrication and rapid prototyping machines is the focus of this workshop. Students will learn how to make templates for sculptures using Adobe Illustrator and SolidWorks, and how to use machines like the Epilog laser cutter and the CNC router “ShopBot” to create fully realized 3D objects from their designs.

APG-5320
Foundations of Criticism I
Fall semester: 3 credits
Understanding prominent theoretical positions within art criticism—past and present—is the focus of this course. We will begin with theories of the image from cave paintings to advertising, film theory to the comic strip, video to the digital image and current debates in animation studies. Classical writings from philosophy (e.g., Plato), art history (Panofsky, Greenberg, W.J.T. Mitchell) and film theory (Eisenstein, Bazin), as well as writers such as Apollinaire and DeLillo will be examined. We will also cover semiotics, feminist theory and institutional critique, reading key theorists such as Barthes, Benjamin, Baudrillard and Debord, among others.

APG-5350 / APG-5355
Autobiography of Place I and II
Fall and spring semesters: 1.5 credits per semester
Through a series of interviews with artists and other creative professionals, as well as related reading and viewing materials, students explore the notion of place: where and how we live, how we connect to various communities and how we situate creative practice into daily life. Students also complete a series of short production assignments and engage in group critiques via online learning environments. In the spring semester, students will create their own autobiographies of place—robust personal works with accompanying written components. Students will be divided into groups for discussion, analysis and critique of their works in progress.

APG-5390 / APG-5395
Studio Practice Review I and II
Fall and spring semesters: 1.5 credits per semester
During Studio Practice Review, online study sessions will take place and students are expected to continue studio work from their home location. Students are required to post and comment on one another’s work online, on a weekly basis. Periodically, guest reviewers, including artists, curators cand critics, will also give feedback. In the spring semester, students will also begin planning their summer group exhibition.

APG-5420
Art History I: Exploring the Interdisciplinary
Spring semester: 3 credits
To better understand the role of art history in preparing and developing one’s own artistic direction, this course will explore and critique the conventional masterpiece-based notion of art history from several perspectives. We will trace the history of modernism in relation to the notion of interdisciplinary art. Starting in the mid-19th century with examples of gesamtkunstwerk, the course examines the impact of this kind of thinking through an exploration of key examples of contemporary interdisciplinary art. In response to a wide range of primary source readings, audiotapes, video and film, students will write a series of critical responses to the readings, and participate in online group sessions and discussions.

SECOND YEAR

APG-6020 through APG-6022
Graduate Seminar II
Summer 2017 semester: 1 credit per section
In this foundational seminar students develop their own art practice in conjunction with a deeper understanding of contemporary issues in art, theory and politics. Topics of special attention include social engagement, collaboration, transdisciplinary practice and personal narrative. Through class discussions, group critiques and one-one-one studio visits, students will work with both core faculty and a robust roster of visiting artists. 

APG-6110 through APG-6113
Studio Practice II
Summer 2017 semester: 6 credits
This is the second part of a three-semester course in which original, advanced work will be produced with instruction and support from faculty and under the guidance of an individual mentor, who will offer ongoing critical evaluation. Reviews will primarily take place from Monday through Friday, with weekly group critiques on Tuesdays. Studio Practice is the central element and primary requirement of the program. As such, it is expected that students will make notable progress in their individual practice. Students will present proposals for their thesis projects for feedback and approval. Once the project has been approved, it will be the focus of each student’s studio practice for the final year of the program. Studios are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

APG-6130
Art Law Workshop
Summer 2017 semester: no credit
It is increasingly necessary for artists to have a solid understanding of the legal and fundamental business practices central to an independent art practice. This workshop will provide an overview of current art law, with an emphasis on intellectual property rights and basic contract law.

APG-6140
Art Business Workshop
Summer 2017 semester: no credit
It is critically important that artists have a firm grasp of the basic business principles and procedures necessary to manage and maintain an independent artist’s studio practice. An overview of studio management, creating a budget, and an understanding of buying real estate will be addressed.

APG-6220
Performance Workshop
Summer 2017 semester: 3 credits
Formally born in the early 20th century—as a critique of the economic engineering of the art world through the European painting salons for the bourgeoisie—and influenced by cabaret, theater, dance, psychodrama, feminist, queer, civil rights, political and environmental activism, performance practice has many traditions. Until recently, it was an alternative practice that offered few collectibles. Participants in this workshop will explore silence and walking as public performance art following Buddhist notions of mindful presence, engaging the city as laboratory. The group will function like an ephemeral company of soloists and collaborators in which students will perform and discuss a series of daily exercises.

APG-6230
Participant Symposium
Summer 2017 semester: no credit
Students will work with the Art Practice staff to create the programming for this symposium. Programming may include guest lectures, panel discussions, student presentations and/or an exhibition. Under the guidance of the Art Practice staff, students will work with each other to secure appropriate venues, create any announcements, and create and follow a detailed budget, including speaker fees, technical fees, documentation fees and promotional fees.

APG-6310
Art History II: Challenging the Conventional
Fall semester: 2 credits
Looking at the history of modern art from a non-Western perspective requires the complete suspension of several commonly held assumptions about art history. That would not make any more sense than a blind acceptance of the prevailing historical paradigm. This course will contrast the canonical history of modernism with the emerging histories that rely upon a very different reading of the social and political context in which art history is conventionally taught. In response to a wide range of primary source readings, audiotapes, video and film, students will write a series of critical responses to the readings, and participate in online group sessions and discussions.

APG-6340
Artists’ Writing
Fall semester: 2 credits
The significant interventions that visual artists have made through their own writing into the art criticism of their time will be the focus of this course. We will also explore a range of artists’ writing forms such as journalism, manifestos, poetry, theoretical writing, letters, artists’ books and artist-run publications. The course will also examine some key artists’ writings from Russian constructivism to the Bauhaus, surrealism, abstract expressionism, minimalism, conceptual art and feminism. Assigned readings, writings and online group discussions are included. The role of social engagement in the production of individual (or collective) practice will be emphasized, and students will acquire an understanding of the influence of artists’ writings on various forms of art criticism. A deeper understanding of one’s own writing in relation to the development of one’s practice will be underscored throughout the semester.

APG-6390 / APG-6395
Studio Practice Review III and IV
Fall and spring semesters: 2 credits per semester
During the fall and spring semesters, online study sessions will take place, and students are expected to continue their studio work from their home location. Students and mentors will remain in contact, via email, video conferencing, phone calls, and/or in person meetings. At least five reviews of work-in-progress during each semester will take place, either virtually or in person, depending upon the locations of the student and his or her mentor. Students are also required to post and comment on one another’s work online.

APG-6410
Foundations of Criticism II
Spring semester: 2 credits
This is the second part of a two-semester course. The spring semester will focus on interdisciplinary concerns, particularly the intersection of art and music history, art and the history of science, as well as the relationship of critical theory to changes in technology, and evolving concepts of authorship, originality and ownership. There will be assigned readings, writings and weekly web-based group discussions.

APG-6480
Thesis Preparation
Spring semester: 2 credits
A thesis project and accompanying written thesis are graduation requirements for the MFA Art Practice program. Under the guidance of the instructor and an individual thesis advisor, students will work to formulate the central ideas that will become their theses, and will consider appropriate strategies for the research, form, presentation and distribution of their ideas.

APG-6600
Graduate Seminar III
Summer 2017 semester: 3 credits
In this foundational seminar students develop their own art practice in conjunction with a deeper understanding of contemporary issues in art, theory and politics. Topics of special attention include social engagement, collaboration, transdisciplinary practice and personal narrative. Through class discussions, group critiques and one-one-one studio visits, students will work with both core faculty and a robust roster of visiting artists. 

APG-6620
Studio Practice III
Summer 2017 semester: 6 credits
This is the final part of a three-semester course in which original, advanced work will be produced with instruction and support from faculty and under the guidance of an individual mentor, who will offer ongoing critical evaluation. Reviews will primarily take place from Monday through Friday, with weekly group critiques on Tuesdays. Studio Practice is the central element and primary requirement of the program. As such, it is expected that students will make notable progress in their individual practice. Students will present proposals for their thesis projects for feedback and approval. Once the project has been approved, it will be the focus of each student’s studio practice for the final year of the program. Studios are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

APG-6640
Thesis
Summer 2017 semester: 3 credits
Each student will produce a complete body of new work with guidance and support from faculty and under the guidance of an individual mentor. MFA Art Practice students are required to produce a thesis project and a thesis document, and create an archive of each. The thesis represents the culmination of each student’s work in the program, and is a central requirement for the completion of the degree. During the final week of the course, each student will present his or her thesis project and accompanying written thesis document before a Thesis Committee.

 

 








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