Artists to Watch Today
ARH 2198-01 Dr. Betsy Towns
Office: Workplace West III, room 109
Office Hours: by arrangement
"From early on, very early on, I understood that art is not about what you say. It’s about these other things that you don’t say." Cai Guo-Qiang
This active upper-level, content-, composition-, and conversation-intensive course explores artists working today who appear poised to have significant impact on our culture. We’ll engage with visual art from around the world, most from the 21st century, and fiction, criticism, theory, philosophy and multimedia responses to Art Today, working to determine what we each find important to watch.
● Journal notebook or sketchbook.
o Minimum 8 inches in any direction
o dedicated to this class
● At least 100 4x 6 index cards
● Scotch tape
● 24 pack crayons, or colored pencils, or, if you’re good with ‘em, markers
● 6 mixed line pens, pref all black; pencils
● Readings will be available via email, on our blog, or on Blackboard. Assigned materials will include non-fiction, fiction, poetry, films, songs, ads, blogs; in short, a variety of forms. I will frequently ask you to print the readings and mark them up.
● Access to functional printer with paper and ink
● Class Blog: http://artisanlab.blogspot.com/
● Films: (Both available on Netflix streaming as of 1/5/2016)
o Matthew Akers and Jeff Dupre, Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, 2012
o Alison Klaiman, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, 2012
● We will be reading very significant chunks from Sarah Thornton, 33 Artists in 3 Acts. I recommend that you get a copy! but…. I will provide chapters on blackboard as needed
● Facebook: I have group for the class to share links, UNCSA Artists to Watch Today; I encourage but don’t require you to join.
Student Responsibilities –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
● To Learn is a verb…. come to class ready to think, build bridges, make knowledge. Learning takes root in play, experimentation and reflection. Find time and space for those
● Come to class on-time, prepared, and ready to engage. Complete all assignments and bring a notebook and writing/drawing tools.
● You are responsible for all the material in this syllabus. If you lose your syllabus, you can find it online. Print any syllabus updates and keep them handy.
● You are responsible for your education. Manage your schedule, act professionally, and contact me about any concerns you may have.
● Your behavior affects the experience and education of your colleagues, negatively or positively. Someone checked out or not prepared drains energy from the class. One engaged with the material and actively participating adds value for all.
● Above all: Be Curious. Take interest. Ask questions
This course introduces you to practices of examining, analyzing, and interpreting images and articulating your responses to them in speech and in writing. Your questions, insights, and energy will drive the course and what you learn. Contribute to discussion each day. Please prepare homework carefully so that you are ready to contribute effectively in class.
At this point, you are likely familiar with the conventions of participation in college courses, but for the record: success in this course necessitates a community ethos – requiring active, sustained, purposeful engagement. Building and sustaining the community of this class is each of our shared obligation and responsibility.
We must engage with each other seriously, substantively, respectfully, and carefully. I work to structure and sustain a safe environment for creative and intellectual risk and practice respect for class members as well as their work at all times. I expect you to meet these same standards for professionalism. We will all:
● Take each other seriously, even (perhaps especially) if you disagree.
● Meet deadlines
● When confused: ASK QUESTIONS.
Major Assignments –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
In addition to completing the assigned readings and class and homework assignments, major course requirements consist of
● Composition & Response book, including 3 small comp responses 30%
● 3 compositions 30%
● a final project. 20%
● Participation, presentation critiques, responses, etc. 20%
With each, seek the most appropriate form for the content you’re working with; this may be an essay (from formal to experimental to playful to…), a photo essay, a video, a performance, a work of art, a multimedia extravaganza. For all of these, the key elements are the same, and they include: a clearly articulated central idea, substantive development, coherent structure with an inviting opening and convincing finale, and form and presentation that suits the material and reveals your commitment to your work and your audience. You’ll evaluate the work of your peers on a variety of standards, and I’ll evaluate work in terms of content, craft, and creativity.
Acknowledgements: You will use a variety of sources to gain knowledge about your subjects; always acknowledge those who have contributed to your understanding by providing sources and citations for information in the appropriate format
Major Grades take into account Craft (care and attention to detail, unity of work), Creativity (inventive solutions to assignments and original and critical thinking), and Content (accuracy and substance of material created).
Major Due Dates:
2/9 Composition #1 and response due on blackboard and in book- notebooks due in class
3/17 Composition #2 and response due on blackboard and in book
4/7Composition #3 and response due on blackboard and in book
3/29 Catalogue Entry/ Museum Label
Presentation : sign up
5/4, 1:00-3:00 Final Project Exhibit and Critique – notebooks due
Course Calendar –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
This calendar outlines the course generally. I will introduce much more material in class, and assignments and due dates are subject to change given caprices of weather, health, and the culture of the classroom. You are responsible for being up to date so watch for any syllabus updates on the course blog and via blackboard.
For every reading/viewing assignment, you must either answer specific questions I pose or write a half page response to the aspects that interest in your journal before class.
2/25 Presentation Madeleine
2/26 last day to withdraw
3/3 Presentation Katia
3/5-3/13 Spring Break
3/15 Presentation Trent
3/22 Presentation Chelsea
4/5 . Presentation Chandler
4/12 Presentation Giselle
4/19 Presentation Russel
In twenty minutes, teach us something substantive about a contemporary artist to watch, or a group of artists or artworks you see as connected. Consider the best way to deliver the information so that it is unforgettable, and uniquely connects form and content.
Structure your information in some way – a handout, a Powerpoint, prezi, a blog are the traditional ways; a monologue, a performance a film also work. Do not try to wing it. Avoid relying on others’ material (video, for example) too much Twenty minutes is a long time. Be prepared and have something substantive to teach.