This graduate seminar presents a survey of practices related to contemporary art and exhibition making. It is organized to provide valuable context, framework, and history for students studying fine art, curatorial practice, film, theory, and writing. Students engage with a recent critical discourse in contemporary art, representing a broad range of strategies for cultural production. Classes have visiting practitioners, area field trips, and student-led discussions with readings.
Professor: Christina Linden Convenes: Wed, 8:30–11:30 am CCA Enrollment: Talking Contemporary Art (CURPR-630)
This seminar takes up a series of case studies in order to consider the ways in which exhibitions make history and define creative fields. The course introduces students to a variety of formats for curating, including museum and gallery exhibitions, biennials, blogs, collection installations, performance, discursive events, curatorial texts, and catalogs. Readings, in-class lectures, discussions, and assignments encourage critical reflection on theme, thesis, juxtaposition, and association, as well as logistical, intellectual, and political aspects of making, viewing, and inserting work and ideas into the public realm.
Professor: Christina Linden Convenes: Tue, 12–3 pm CCA Enrollment: Exhibition Form (CURPR-604)
Art and Experiences
Emphasizing firsthand encounters with artworks through visits to local collections and current exhibitions, this seminar imparts techniques of formal observation, conceptual understanding, and verbal argumentation about individual works of art. Through constant engagement with a range of art objects, students will establish a familiarity with the tools of both textual and verbal art analysis, and the confidence to share this knowledge through public address.
Professor: Dena Beard Convenes: Thu, 12–3 pm CCA Enrollment: Art and Experiences (CURPR-605)
Exhibition Project 1
This course is the first in a two-part seminar extending over both semesters of the second year of graduate studies in curatorial practice, culminating in the production of a thesis exhibition. Through readings, visits to exhibitions, and discussions with faculty (including the program’s Curator-in-Residence) about current discourses and topics in contemporary art and curating, students develop a proposal for an exhibition and public program for presentation at CCA’s Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in April 2019.
Professor: James Voorhies Convenes: Wed, 12–2 pm, and by arrangement with professor CCA Enrollment: Exhibition Project 1 (CURPR-624)
The Art of Criticism
Why are you here? What are you values, your ethics, your politics, your agendas, your limitations, your beliefs, your blind spots, your fears, your loves? These are big and changeable areas for investigation — people spend their whole lives tangling and untangling their answers. If these people are writers, they do it, in part, on the page. And for the purposes of this course, you are all writers; your subject is art, which, really, means the world. Criticism is a powerful, deeply human tool; i.e. flawed and fraught and full of contradictions. It is also an art form in its own right. Let’s explore.
Professor: Claudia La Rocco Convenes: Tue, 4–7 pm CCA Enrollment: The Art of Criticism (CURPR-628)
Contemporary Art History and Theory
This course is a series of lectures exploring diverse episodes in art since 1960. Both art historical and discursive in nature, the course offers incoming students a body of shared knowledge and common language for talking about contemporary art. The course presents an array of ideas, artists, artworks, and theoretical frameworks with particular focus on how artworks of various media are engaged with their social, political, and cultural contexts. Team-taught by CCA faculty, each class consists of a 90-minute lecture, followed by hour-long discussion sessions among smaller groups of students and faculty.
Professors: Nil Bayraktar, Karen Fiss, and Frances Richard Convenes: Thu, 8:30–11:30 am Location: Timken Lecture Hall, CCA SF campus CCA Enrollment: Contemporary Art History and Theory (FINAR 600)
Artists and Designers: Publishing as Practice
This course is a practicum concentrated on real-world engagement with artists, with a focus on the formats of the studio visit and the interview. Students conduct, document, and present studio visits and interviews with artists, with a view to accumulating a substantial body of knowledge about contemporary artistic practice.
Professor: Michele Carlson Convenes: Tue, 1–4 pm Location: Room GC12, CCA SF campus CCA Enrollment: Artists and Designers (CURPR-606)
This class positions exhibition-making as an interdisciplinary practice that lies at the heart of institutional design and programming. In addition to surveying the contemporary landscape of institutional structures, students will engage in the discourse around exhibition design and undertake collaborative, project-based opportunities to develop installation strategies, as well as consider techniques of visual and spatial design across all aspects of an exhibition’s manifestation, from display furniture and materials to the catalogue and publication.
Professor: Sara Dean Convenes: Mon, 12–3 pm CCA Enrollment: Exhibition Design (CURPR-615)
Global Art Worlds
Through selected readings and discussions, this seminar course includes critical analyses of artworks and exhibitions from late modernism to the present by artists and curators whose practices engage with questions of nation-state, immigration, and colonialism. The course includes close studies of recent editions of perennial exhibitions—such as documenta and Skulptur Projekte Münster—organized by institutions in the West with satellite or branch components in non-Western parts of the world. Overall, studies in this course seek to define an aesthetic of the colonial in contemporary artistic practices and exhibitions in order to consider the efficacy of critical positions within the context of globalized contemporary art and visual culture.
Professor: Christina Linden Convenes: Tue, 8:30–11:30 am CCA Enrollment: Global Art Worlds (CURPR-602)
Exhibition Project 2
In this second of a two-part seminar extending over both semesters of the second year of graduate studies in curatorial practice, students focus on the production and final realization of an exhibition and public program for presentation at CCA’s Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in April 2019. Having developed and refined much of the content during the first semester, this course concentrates on practicalities of form, design, communication, marketing, printed matter, and documentation related to their culminating thesis exhibition. Stewarded by the director of the course and the program’s curator-in-residence, students gain firsthand experience in both conceiving an exhibition and inserting it into the public realm.
Professor: James Voorhies Convenes: Wed, 12–2 pm, and by arrangement with professor CCA Enrollment: Exhibition Project 2 (CURPR-626)