MCAD emphasizes a collaborative process and working with students from all majors. For this Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, you will take courses in several different areas, including a core focus, adding up to 120 total credits required for graduation.
Required Courses - These are the core courses that every Print Paper Book student takes.
Foundation Studies - These classes help you become a well-rounded student; they build a solid art background.
Studio Electives - Throughout your studies you can choose from several studio electives that give you hands-on creative time.
Humanities and Sciences Electives - These classes round out your experience at MCAD, deepen your creative practice, and fulfill non-studio requirements for a degree.
This course introduces students to the interrelated fields of printmaking, papermaking, and bookbinding. Class topics include: basic printmaking techniques, such as screenprinting and relief; Western papermaking, along with commercial printing papers and nontraditional materials; and basic bookbinding techniques, including accordion, stab binding, and single-signature pamphlet binding. While subsequent courses explore each field separately and in-depth, this introductory course provides an opportunity to study all three areas as an integrated whole.
In this course students explore a variety of textures, mark-making, and image techniques in the direct and versatile mediums of relief printmaking and monotype. Media include linoleum and wood block, collographs, pressure printing and embossing, painting with printmaking ink, stenciling, and trace monotypes. Technical information on cutting techniques, printing by hand and press, reduction, multi-block and combination prints, overprinting, and color layering are all covered. Demonstrations, lectures, and field trips support class material.
Screenprinting is a direct printmaking technique that builds images from layers of color. Students in this class explore photographic, computer-generated, hand-drawn, and painted stencil techniques. Through field trips, slide lectures, print samples, and critiques, the class provides an overview of the wide range of historical and contemporary approaches to screenprinting. Students complete a portfolio of editioned and non-editioned prints using nontoxic, water-based inks.
This course nurtures concepts and strategies for approaching installation, constructed objects, or wearable art through a print-based lens. Printmaking is ubiquitous in contemporary culture and therefore uniquely positioned to address personal, social, and political concerns in an endless variety of forms, both referential and invented. Students will be introduced to designing and printing repeat patterns for paper and fabric through the creation of modular systems, motifs, networks, and non-repeating repeats, in addition to large-scale printing techniques and surface printing for unique three-dimensional forms and site-specific environments. Students will apply basic screen printing and relief techniques in the production of works that interrogate notions of place, identity, and the everyday. Artists’ books and paper as art will be discussed.
Through experimentation with process and practice, including the editioning of copper plates, students use different grounds, aquatints, acids, and dry-point techniques to gain an understanding of the intaglio process. Line and tonal work, transfers, chine colle, viscosity, and color printing are all possibilities. Both historical and contemporary applications are explored.
The process of lithography allows the artist to draw directly on grained lithographic limestone and aluminum plates to create printable matrices. Students experience both the graphic capacity and painterly possibilities of this medium through a wide range of dry and wet lithographic drawing materials. Students develop a portfolio of print-based work emphasizing personal imagery using plate and stone lithography while incorporating drawing, transfer, and digital processes. Historical and contemporary contexts are explored through lectures and field trips to museums and/or print studios.
This course enables students to gain working knowledge of a variety of printmaking techniques that involve photographic and digitally generated images. Students explore photo-plate processes such as Z*Acryl etching, photolithography, and photopolymer gravure plates. Techniques include working with halftones, four-color separation, combining photographic and hand-drawn imagery, and more advanced color printing work for students who have already studied lithography or intaglio. Students are encouraged to experiment within a wide range of possibilities and forms while exploring the conceptual and aesthetic exchange between printmaking and photography.
This course introduces students to contemporary printmaking trends and concepts in relation to digital technology. Emphasis is placed on experimentation and discovery through various techniques, including exposure to CNC and laser cutter technology for making printable matrices, the inkjet printer as a painting tool, the scanner as a camera, and the production of hybrid prints that combine digital printing, papers, and fabrics with traditional print. Through screenprinting, relief, artists’ books, and digital output, this class considers the shift and overlap of old and new techniques as a vital investigation of contemporary visual culture. Contemporary artists working in digital and print-based media are discussed.
In this class, students broaden their understanding and practice of printmaking to consider the public sphere as a source of inspiration and site for engagement. Students will be introduced to various print-based approaches to investigating place, from travelogues to capturing trace impressions, from political posters to community-based projects. Beginning with research, interviews, and observation, students will begin to define the parameters and possibilities of art in relationship to everyday life, through simple books, zines and printed documents. As the semester progresses, students will conceive and realize more in-depth projects that utilize and build upon print-based strategies of their own choosing. Students can expect to work collaboratively and gain experience with MCAD’s mobile printing unit.
Traditional and sculptural books provide exciting options for artistic expression. This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of art in the book form, ranging from one-of-a-kind books to printed multiples and sculptural works. Individual projects focus on the relationship of form and content and employ a wide range of media and materials for text and/or images. Contemporary and historical artists’ books are explored through critique, samples, slide lectures, and field trips.
In this course, students explore the materials and techniques of book construction through a variety of forms, from simple pamphlets to hardcover multiple-section books. Adhesive and non-adhesive bindings and covers, folded and sewn structures, and Japanese and Western styles are examined. Additional projects include presentation cases, envelopes, and box-making. Integration of contents with outer wrapping is discussed as it relates to self-promotion and to client presentations. Demonstrations, material exploration, and class discussions complement student projects.
This class explores the internal structure and content of the book form. The relationships between image and text and the development of voice, rhythm, and timing are examined as components of narrative structure. Although simple bookbinding is incorporated, the class concentrates on developing subject matter and ways of telling. Assignments include small editions and collaborative and student-proposed projects. Work may be produced using the student’s choice of medium, including photo, illustration, digital, printmaking, and drawing. Lectures, films, and readings complement course material.
This class examines the traditional forms and contemporary possibilities of the printed book. From one-page poetry and political broadsides to multi-page books, students explore a range of printing and distribution methods. Text and image, page layout, and overall book design are discussed. Print technologies covered include letterpress with handset type and photopolymer plate, relief and collagraph techniques, and the wood-type poster press. Projects may be one-of-a-kind, editioned, or collaborative. Basic bookbinding appropriate to the projects is covered.
In this course students learn how to make artwork with handmade paper from recycled materials, botanical fibers, and imported fiber. The class covers sheet formation for drawing, painting, and printmaking purposes, as well as three-dimensional applications in sculpture or lighting projects. Work in related areas such as bookbinding, surface applications, and paper uses in other disciplines is encouraged. Students are expected to experiment with the technical information presented and develop new work.
In this course students are introduced to Western and Eastern fiber techniques of making three-dimensional paper works. Students are encouraged to investigate experimental methods of production in order to develop their own working methods and projects. Students experiment with scale and materials to produce works ranging from the sculptural form to textured drawings and collage.
This course provides students with an overview of graphic design practice. Students concentrate on building visual and typographic communication skills as well as the vocabulary necessary for critical analysis. These introductory level skills are explored through static, static-narrative, interactive, and time-based media. Topics covered include basic visual and typographic principles, composition, type and image integration, sequence, and craft. Students are also introduced to the design process, which includes research, ideation, iteration, refinement, and implementation. Image/image-series, logotypes, mark-making, digital presentations, and booklets are possible outcomes of this course.
Critical Studies examines the relationship between art, culture, and student work. This examination is related to many forms, including the aesthetic, political, social, and philosophical components that exist within works of art. Students focus on making work in the context of cultural issues. The cross-disciplinary composition of this course increases the depth of discussions and critiques. May be repeated for elective credit with a different instructor.
This course addresses the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the contemporary art world. Topics include writing for professional opportunities, exhibitions, the documenting and marketing of work, website development, residencies and graduate schools, copyright and tax issues, jobs in education, and studio/business startup concerns. Students engage in a variety of individual and group projects, including curating an off-campus exhibition. Course faculty, guest lecturers, and visiting artist presentations connect abstract information with real-world experience.
Choose to pursue an internship or an additional studio elective
In this course, students develop imagery and content through studio work and discussions of contemporary print, paper, and book media. By examining their own studio practice in relation to current topics in the field, students expand their perspectives while developing new work. This course is for the advanced student who is interested in developing a self-motivated, sustained body of work and an understanding of the relationships between the formal, conceptual, and historical aspects of print, paper, and book. Studio practice is supported by development of critical thinking skills, individual and group critiques, guest critiques, writing exercises, and readings covering artists, criticism, and theory.
During their senior year, every print paper book major is required to develop and complete a substantial body of work in a specific field. This course provides a forum for the critical evaluation of this work and curatorial guidance in preparation for the Commencement Exhibition. Course content includes critical readings, position paper, individual and group discussion, and informational meetings.
Foundation: 2D is an introduction to creative thinking that develops students’ skills in research, observation, interpretation, and self-expression. An emphasis is placed on exploring new ways to read and see the world, as well as new ways to report on it. Students learn basic two-dimensional principles through the use of various media, tools, materials, and processes. As a result, students develop a visual and verbal language for analyzing, organizing, shaping, and communicating two-dimensional form and meaning.
This course is an introduction to understanding of visual creation for the development of knowledge, imagination, and perception. Students are introduced to basic three-dimensional concepts as well as materials and technical production processes. Classroom activities include shop demonstrations of tools and techniques, information, lectures, and discussions appropriate to promote the balanced fusion of practice and theory.
Foundation: Drawing 1 is an introductory drawing course designed to prepare students for study in all majors of the college. Students develop basic drawing skills, including the ability to perceive and express visual relationships, organize a two-dimensional composition, and depict and manipulate form, space, and light. Students work from direct observation of still life, interior space, and landscape.
Foundation: Drawing 2 is an observationally based drawing course designed to reinforce and develop the basic drawing skills established in Foundation: Drawing 1. Students work with a variety of subjects, including a substantial amount of drawing from the figure. In addition to working from direct observation, students explore drawing as a tool for invention, conceptualization, and idea development. The course also affords students an opportunity to investigate drawing materials in more breadth and depth than in Foundation: Drawing 1.
Students are introduced to digital resources at MCAD while exploring digital media. Areas covered include the Service Bureau, Gray Studio, and Media Center, along with other digital resources. Students use a variety of software and hardware to learn the basics of working with recorded media, including video, sound, and photography, as well as developing critical language for discussing media and media artists.
Everything we make has its beginning as an idea, which takes form as an artist/designer makes a series of decisions to guide its creative evolution. This course is designed to help students explore the development of new ideas and their own process of making. Students also create visual tools to track their creative process from idea through construction and then to post production analysis. The course consists of discussions, critiques, exercises, and visual logs.
Practice is more than working methods: it’s the context, marketing, and creative space that maintain creative work. Contemporary Practice introduces students to the foundations, variety, and tools of a professional practice. Students upgrade websites and documentation, enter contests, and create professional presentations of their work. Classes consist of lectures, student presentations, and guest speakers from a wide range of disciplines.
Choose BFA studio courses to take as electives; amount determined by your major.
The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the major stylistic, thematic, cultural, and historical transformations in art history from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century. This course helps students develop critical tools for the interpretation and understanding of the meaning and function of art objects, architecture, and design artifacts within their original historical contexts. Class sessions consist primarily of lecture with some discussion.
This course introduces students to issues in modern art, popular culture, and contemporary art and design. Topics may include the expanding audience for art, the transformation of the art market, the impact of new technologies, the changing status of the artist, and the role of art in society. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture.
Key to the creative and critical growth of the engaged, successful artist is participation in a culture of writing and inquiry. Students in this course focus on the kinds of writing they will encounter and produce in their coursework at MCAD and as creative professionals. Regular writing workshops allow students to concentrate on experiential and practical approaches to writing. Students explore a variety of texts and objects through class assignments, and then develop clear compelling essays employing a variety of rhetorical and narrative strategies.
Creative or professional writing elective
Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning classes increase students’ appreciation for the power of scientific and quantitative approaches to knowing the world.
6 credits of histories, places, philosophies electives
The Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar enables students to pursue their own research and writing goals within a seminar setting. Projects are student-originated and consist of both a written piece and a public presentation. Class sessions are discussion-based and interactive. Group learning is emphasized
Using a global and historical perspective, this course examines the rise and spread of European colonialism and its impact on artistic practices in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Through a series of case studies, students will explore the ways in which European forms of image-making underwrote and facilitated the colonial project and the multiple modes through which picturing practices oﬀered a venue for both colonizer and colonized to articulate, define, and forge political and social relationships. In each case, indigenous and hybrid forms of art-making will be highlighted alongside European forms in order to understand how the visual arts served as an expression of identity, cultural belonging, and self-fashioning. Topics will be explored by urban centers: Paris, Algiers, Shanghai,
Mumbai (Bombay), Cairo, Istanbul, Port-au-Prince, New Orleans, and other sites.
Most Native American tribes do not have a word in their languages for “artist,” yet the arts are a living part of both daily life and ceremonial tradition. Focusing on the works of selected tribes, students in this course look at Native American art, architecture, and aesthetics. Emphasis is placed on the nineteenth century to the present. The impact of outside forces on continuities and changes in traditional forms is also explored. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion.
This course examines the art of Asia from its beginnings to the present day. It involves a regional approach, focusing on representative works from India, Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. While regional characteristics are emphasized, cross-cultural influences are also studied. Through a variety of media, including sculpture, architecture, and painting, students gain an understanding of the broad themes and concepts that run throughout Asian art. Students consider the role of religion, for example, and gain a basic comprehension of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Islam, Taoism, and Shinto. The structure of the class includes lectures, large and small group discussions, and visits to the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
This course will examine Islamic art and architecture through religious, historical, political, and cultural practices from the seventh century to the present. Combining a thematic approach (such as kingship, gift exchange, identity, etc.) with the more traditional chronological and geographical approaches, this course will trace the visual and material culture of Islam and its global influence
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the visual art of African Americans from the Colonial period to the present. The course examines a variety of visual media from painting, sculpture, and photography to popular culture objects and mass media images. In addition, students critically examine the ways in which the constructed meanings of "blackness" intersect with representational practices of gender, sexuality, and class, as well as the training and education of artists, public and private patronage, and the history of arts criticism and art history. Class sessions include both lectures and discussions.
This course examines the impact and effects of globalization on the visual culture of the Atlantic world (defined by Europe, Africa, and the Americas) from the period of the Columbian encounter to the contemporary moment. Students examine the circulation and exchange of goods, ideas, knowledge, culture, and peoples across the Atlantic world through an investigation of visual representations, performance, and collecting practices. The course narrative is guided by thematic issues of gender, race, the politics of display, and national and cultural identities, tracing the movement of visual cultures across the Atlantic through individual case studies. This course fulfills a Histories, Places and Philosophies requirement for Humanities and Sciences.
Duke Ellington once said, “the pull of jazz music in American culture is so strong that no one can resist it.” Jazz is truly an American treasure that has influenced other cultures around the globe. Yet most Americans know very little about its history. This class explores jazz from its roots to its most current forms. Hear the music, study its contributions, and explore the cultural patterns and trends that surround its development. Class sessions are a mix of lecture and discussion, with some demonstrations of performance styles.
This course uses standards for information and media literacy (from the Association of College and Research Libraries and others) to explore issues related to queer identities, representations, methodologies, theoretical applications, and interpretations. Using the framework of literacy as a benchmark, students learn how to read "for and from the queer" in a variety of media.
Race and ethnicity have played significant, complicated, and more often than not misunderstood roles in the United States’ history. This course surveys the ways race and ethnicity have been constructed and understood by Americans from the colonial era to the present, focusing on the ways that class, gender, culture, and politics, as well as biology, have defined race and the way race and ethnicity have supported ideologies that have been used to both empower and subordinate the peoples of the United States.
This course offers students a hemispheric perspective on the study of literature, focusing on a range of works from underrepresented, marginalized, and outsider authors in the Americas from the nineteenth century to the present. Students have an opportunity to challenge conventional categorizations of writers from across the Americas—not just in the United States—by fostering transnational and transhistorical perspectives while considering concepts including identity, race, citizenship, hybridity, and nationhood.
This course introduces students to global fine arts production (drawing, painting, sculpture, artists’ books, performance, public, and socially engaged) since 1945. Using a series of case studies this class examines the historical, theoretical, and aesthetic developments in and relationships between fine arts media. Students engage with a combination of primary and secondary texts, apply visual analysis skills, contextualize artworks, and investigate various political and aesthetic points of view.
This course traces the history of applied arts and designed objects through furniture, products, packaging, and multidimensional forms of graphic design. Students examine applied arts and designed objects as part of an evolving human culture of habit, convenience, and status. Various movements and styles within the histories of design genres, as well as the processes and manufacturing of consumer objects are considered.
Since the advent of print and the printing press, text, image, graphic design, comics, and advertising have played significant roles in cultural formation. This course examines the history of mass reproduction of printed matter from the advent of modernity, including books and periodical designs, to the present.
The production and reproduction of static, moving, and digital images have grown from work produced by an exotic technology used only by specialists to a socially ubiquitous representational form that generates millions of images, clips, cartoons, gifs, shorts, and films daily. This course surveys the development of (re)produced and moving images from their commercial applications, entertainments, and art to the all-pervasive media in which our popular cultures and artistic cultures exist. Individual artists and makers, as well as their works and contextualized movements within changing technological, economic, and institutional frameworks, are considered.
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