MCAD emphasizes a collaborative process and working with students from all majors. For this Bachelor of Fine Arts minor, you will take courses in several different areas, including a core focus, adding up to 15 total credits required for graduation.
Required Courses - These are the core courses that every drawing and painting student takes.
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.
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.
Cultural definitions of art shift from one historical moment to the next. The practice of research in art history can help make these transformations explicit, understandable, and in some cases predictable. This course introduces the practice of art history through some of the significant theories, methodologies, and key concepts that inform contemporary and historical art criticism. In completing this course, students conduct their own research in an art history topic and gain familiarity with the historical and theoretical frameworks within which to place art and artistic practice.
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.
This seminar-style course explores photographic culture through focused readings in the theory and history of photography, covering the period from 1839 to the present. These texts facilitate discussions of the ways in which technological transformations and concepts like truthfulness, documentary ethics, and authorship are presented and negotiated in the work of photographers. This course is an opportunity for students to discuss the historical and changing philosophical nature of the photographic medium.
In this course students consider major issues in contemporary design across a range of design fields as articulated through critical texts and contemporary developments. Students examine contemporary design theory along with related work and processes. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture.
The graphic novel is an art form that oﬀers the best of both worlds. While gaining legitimacy as a literary/art form, it retains the excitement and unique properties of reading a comic book. Students in this course read, discuss, and analyze graphic novels, as well as engage in critical scholarship on and about the graphic novel form. Looking at graphic novels in genres like mystery, superhero, manga, memoir, history and politics, or works beyond categorization, students examine how these stories are structured: the forms of novel, novella, and short story help diﬀerentiate and explain the subtleties of these forms. The class focuses on social, structural, and thematic issues of these specific texts and explores the possibilities of the form itself.
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.
Visual perspectives are systems for creating space and distance on a flat surface. Different cultures position the viewer in varied ways that condition what they see and the way they see it. Linear perspective is a seminal event in Western art history in which the position of the individual observer became an engine for the development of Modernity. This course focuses on the historical development of various visual perspective systems and their impact on conceptions of space and time. Class sessions are an equal mix of lecture and discussion. This course fulfills the Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning requirement for Humanities and Sciences.
For the last half-century, the look, language, and subject matter of film have been blown wide-open. This change is the work of dedicated and curious cinematic visionaries from every continent, and this course explores several of their works, beginning with the 1950s and advancing to the present day. The ultimate goal is to see how these artists have challenged expectations of classical form or appropriated themes and how a globally interconnected world cinema has developed. Works by acclaimed directors are shown and compared to lesser-known filmmakers’ equally vital and influential works. Classes are primarily lecture and discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments.
This course examines U.S. film directors, from the dawn of the talkies to the present day, and explores what made these particular individuals great filmmakers. Each week students study the work of a U.S. director from seminal decades in filmmaking, from the emergence of the old studio system to its breakdown, from the new generation of filmmakers that emerged after the studio system to the leaders in the current transformations in the film industry. Directors’ works are studied technically, structurally, thematically, and as cultural artifacts of the times in which they were made. The course may focus on directors from particular eras, for example the 1980s to the present, or on particular genres such as the Western or the Musical. Class sessions are primarily lecture-based with some discussion. Students take a midterm and final exam and complete a fifteen-page research paper.
This course focuses on the idea of gender and its impact on the production, consumption, and analysis of art. Course topics may include gender and gender ambiguity in art and visual culture, the shifting definition of the artist in history, institutions that shape artists' outlooks, and feminist and postmodern theories of gender. The relationships among gender, art, and society are examined by focusing on particular topics, such as fetishism and fashion, and these topics are analyzed from historical, theoretical, and cultural perspectives.
Art in the Cities explores the relationship between art and urban space with the Twin Cities as its primary site of investigation. This seminar-style course focuses on current exhibitions and curatorial practices in museums, galleries, artist-run spaces, and other project spaces located throughout the Twin Cities. In-class discussions examining the history and contemporary practice and politics of display in urban contexts with some emphasis on social, public, interventionist, and community-based practices is equally balanced with activities outside the classroom such as exhibition visits, artist talks, and performances.
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.
In this course students critically examine the cultural meanings of representations of the body in art and visual culture. Organized in roughly chronological order, the course comprises a series of case studies in the history of representation of the body in art, science, and popular culture. Topics that may be addressed include the classical nude in Greek sculpture, female saints, mystical visions of the body, aesthetic dismemberment of the body in modern and contemporary art, the transgender body, and cyber bodies.
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