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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 Requirements 

• Successful completion of 60 credits, including all required courses and the thesis project and written thesis document approved by the Thesis Committee. Documentation of all thesis components must be on file in the Art Practice Department to be eligible for degree conferral. 

• A matriculation of three summers on-site and four semesters (fall and spring)
of low residency. Students must complete their degree within six years, unless given an official extension by the provost. 

• Art Practice grades on a pass/fail system. Students are required to remain in good academic standing.

First Year Requirements

SUMMER SEMESTER 
APG-5022-5027  Graduate Seminar I
APG-5112-5118  Studio Practice I
APG-5140 Lunchtime Lecture Series

APG-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-5330  Artists’ Writing
APG-5390  Studio Practice Review I 

SPRING SEMESTER
APG-5350  Autobiography of Place I 
APG-5395  Studio Practice Review II
APG-5420  Art History I: Exploring the Interdisciplinary


                               

 

Second Year Requirements

SUMMER SEMESTER
APG-6020/6022 Graduate Seminar II
APG-6110/6113 Studio Practice II
APG-6150  Professional Development
APG-6220 Performance Workshop
APG-6230  Participant Symposium 

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

SPRING SEMESTER
APG-6395  Studio Practice Review IV
APG-6420  Art and Politics
APG-6430  Art and Pedagogy
APG-6480  Thesis Preparation                      

Third Year Requirements

SUMMER SEMESTER
APG-6600/6602  Graduate Seminar III
APG-6620/6622  Studio Practice III
APG-6640 Thesis 

General Course Listing

First Year

APG-5022 through APG-5027
Graduate Seminar I
Summer semester: .5 credits 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 discussion include social engagement, collaboration, transdisciplinary practice and personal narrative. 

APG-5112 through APG-5118
Studio Practice I
Summer semester: 6 credits
The core of the summer session is studio practice. The objective is to produce original advanced work with instruction and support from faculty and a robust roster of individual artists. Individual studio visits 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. Studios are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

APG-5140
Lunchtime Lecture Series
Summer 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 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 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 semester: 1 credit
Students 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 semester: 1 credit
Students 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 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 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: 2 credits
Through the revision of material pertaining to different disciplines, this course provides a panoramic view of some fundamental conceptual and critical issues that have arisen in the last two centuries or so in the spheres of art, the world and the individual. Through close examination of texts by Hegel, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Barthe, Foster, Rancière, Jameson, Freud and Lacan, we will consider how the emergence of a ‘new’ conception of the world and of a globalized economic system have imploded into transformations of the consideration of ourselves, of privacy and intimacy, of our relationships and of our location in an increasingly accelerated but also close and ‘familiar’ world. Most importantly, we’ll consider how such fundamental transformations affect art production. 

APG-5330
Artists’ Writings
Fall semester: 2 credits
This course will explore a range of artists’ writing forms, including journalism, manifestos, poetry, theoretical writing, letters, artists’ books and artist-run publications. Students will develop an understanding of the research process, including finding sources, organization, and proper academic formatting and citation. A deeper appreciation of one’s own writing in relation to the development of one’s artistic practice will be underscored throughout the semester. 

APG-5350
Autobiography of Place I
Spring semester: 2 credits
Through a series of interviews with artists and other creative professionals, students explore the notion of place: where and how we live, how we connect to various communities and how we situate creative practice in daily life. Students also complete robust personal works with accompanying written components, including an abstract, a personal statement, a project description, documentation, a resource list, and a statement about process and methodology. 

APG-5390
Studio Practice Review I
Fall semester: 2 credits
During Studio Practice Review, online study sessions will take place and students are expected to continue studio work from their home location. On a weekly basis students are required to post and comment on one another’s work online, and will collaborate with one another on a publication. Periodically, guest reviewers, including artists, curators and critics, will also give feedback. 

APG-5395
Studio Practice Review II
Spring semester: 2 credits
This course is a continuation of APG-5390, Studio Practice Review I. Students will continue to participate in online group critiques of their studio work. They will also begin planning their summer group exhibition. 

APG-5420
Art History I: Exploring the Interdisciplinary
Spring semester: 2 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. The second half of the course will explore how cultural shifts are articulated through the intersection of art, politics and pop culture. 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 semester: 1 credit per section
This is the second part of a three-semester course. See APG-5020 for course description. 

APG-6110 through APG-6113
Studio Practice II
Summer 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 a robust roster of individual artists. Studio visits 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. 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-6150
Professional Development
Summer semester: no credit
It is increasingly important for artists to have a solid understanding of the legal and fundamental business practices central to an independent art practice. This series of professional development workshops will address areas such as copyright and intellectual property laws, financial literacy for artists, grant writing, marketing and networking. 

APG-6220
Performance Workshop
Summer 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 semester: no credit
Under the guidance of a faculty member, students work to develop and install an exhibition with an accompanying publication. They also develop and participate in skill-share workshops, organize a panel discussion and go on guided field trips to artist studios, art centers and cultural institutions. 

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
This course will explore a range of artists’ writing forms, including journalism, manifestos, poetry, theoretical writing, letters, artists’ books and artist-run publications. Students will develop an understanding of the research process, including finding sources, organization, and proper academic formatting and citation. A deeper appreciation of one’s own writing in relation to the development of one’s artistic 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, students will work with a thesis advisor on their thesis project and document in addition to maintaining a studio practice and receiving regular feedback from a mentor. Students are required to meet project and document deadlines, and regularly post and comment on one another’s work. 

APG-6420
Art and Politics
Spring semester: 1 credit
Drawing on art history, philosophy and political theory, this course will explore strategies for creative interventions in the political arena. Topics of discussion will include race, gender, bio-politics, identity, power structures, public space, cultural policy, censorship and social justice. 

APG-6430
Art and Pedagogy
Spring semester: 1 credit
This course will explore pedagogical strategies for art practice, including collaborative dialogues, action research and experiential learning. Topics of discussion will include the role of art in society, aesthetic inquiry into social systems, institutional critique, artist accountability and evaluation of social practice projects. 

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. 

Third Year

APG-6600 through APG-6602
Graduate Seminar III
Summer semester: 1 credit per section
This is the third part of a three-semester course. See APG-5020 for course description. 

APG-6620 through APG-6622
Studio Practice III
Summer semester: 2 credits per section
This is the third part of a three-semester course. See APG-5110 for course description.

APG-6640
Thesis
Summer 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.

 

 

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587