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Courses / Degree Requirements for the BFA in Art

The following is projected for students entering the university in 2021-22 and is subject to change.

To graduate with a BFA in Art, students must successfully complete:

12 credits from the following:

This course provides the knowledge and practical experience of how visual elements are organized by principles universal to the fine and applied arts. Topics include: examining and applying design principles and vocabulary such as figure/ground, interdependence, symmetry, rhythm, shape, and texture; understanding how these principles and their components apply to the scope of the visual arts, including drawing, sculpture, ceramics, photography, graphic design, architecture, fabric design, and landscaping; and understanding and expressing how design principles can be correlated to the balance and order of nature, the universe, individual and societal life. Materials fee: $45 (4 credits)
In this course, students develop powers of observation and imagination, abilities that are vital for all the arts. Students focus on establishing the use of principles of drawing through observational methods. Topics include: still life, figure drawing, interior and landscape. Art majors take drawing courses as they advance through the curriculum. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor. Materials fee: $35. (1-4 credits)
Painting expresses the artist’s connection with the deep laws fundamental to seeing and creating visual images. Students are immersed in the fundamentals of drawing and painting from nature and a variety of other subject matter. The curriculum addresses the students’ development of formal and technical skills along with a conceptual and critical understanding of the language of painting as preparation for independent studio work. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor. Prerequisite: a previous art course and consent of the instructor. (1–4 credits)

12 credits from the following:

Students explore the great achievements of art and architecture in prehistoric cultures and in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, and the European Middle Ages. In each of these cultures, the quest for the divine created art that continues to 2016/17 53 inspire human consciousness. Students explore how contemporary artists have been influenced by art from these periods. Topics include: sacred sites that connected humanity with the cosmos, images of the sacred feminine from Mother Goddesses to Mother Mary to a modern return to Goddess imagery, the development of styles in Greek art and how they mirror stages in the evolution of consciousness, and the creation of a heavenly kingdom on Earth in Christian art and architecture. A highlight of the course is a 4-5 day field trip to an art center such as New York, or St. Louis/Kansas City. Field trip fee: $200-250 (4 credits)
Delve into the most inspiring creations of Western art and architecture from the 1400s to the present. Discover how artists have expressed both sacred and secular values in their quest for perfection in art and fulfillment in life. We will look at this epoch’s art in terms of four cultural worldviews and visual paradigms: Idealism/Naturalism (as begun in the Renaissance), Modernism, Deconstructive Postmodernism, and Revisionary Postmodernism—an art of expanded awareness. We will explore these questions: How are art and consciousness transformed in each paradigm? What artists, styles, symbols, cultural values, and aspects of awareness typify these major paradigms? How has the art of the past influenced modern artists? A highlight of the course is a 4–5 day field trip to a major art center such as Chicago. Field trip fee: $200-250 (4 credits)
This class is about fascinating stories, key works, and iconic figures of modern art, from its origins in Post-Impressionism to the beginnings of the New York School. Moving chronologically students will explore an array of renowned and provocative objects— from paintings that challenged the official Academy and revolutionized the conventions of representation to works that are completely abstract—by such artists as Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Georgia O’Keefe. Each style is related to the consciousness of the artist and the audience, and the collective consciousness of the culture. Course fee: $125. Field trip fee: $25. (4 credits)
This course is a guided experience examining major artists, artworks, and movements in Western art after World War II. Students explore the emergence of the New York School and its links to a new global economy centered in New York, Dada’s revival, Pop art’s flowering in mass consumer society, and Minimalism’s formal refinement and emphasis on spatial context. The course then considers Conceptual art’s fundamental questioning of art, the development of multimedia artistic practices and performance art, and the influence of identity politics on art. Each phase of art is interpreted in terms of the consciousness of the artist and the audience, and the collective consciousness of the culture. Course fee: $125. Field trip fee: $25. (4 credits)

8 credits of:

  • Topic 1: Hand-building in low-fire earthenware clay, drawing inspiration from ancient origins to contemporary masters
  • Topic 2: Exploring the relationship between surface and form in thrown and hand-built forms using high-fire stoneware clay
  • Topic 3: Addressing the image on hand-built, low-fire earthenware forms
  • Topic 4: Exploring the limits of function in hand-built and thrown high-fire stoneware forms

Students at all levels in ceramics will increase their studio skills related to forming, understanding glazes and other surface possibilities, plus various firing methods. Faculty and peer interaction is structured to support the integration of method, meaning, and function (depending on the individual student’s need) to express the inner value of consciousness in matter in this medium. In some studios, wheel-throwing opens a new dimension of experience for the student potter. The challenge to center and form a pot while the clay is spinning through the hands leads to synchronicity that powerfully connects potter and pot, awareness and matter, in the process of creation. Students are exposed to the traditions and history of ceramics that continue to emerge worldwide. Lab Fee $40 (4 credits) Prerequisite: Suggested one of these but not required: FA 301 or FA 311 or FA 353 (4 credits)

By exploring organic forms and creating designs from imagination, students make original sculptural surfaces that emerge from a two-dimensional plane. Exercises that expand the capacity to envision and create give students a deeper appreciation of the 2016/17 51 nature, creation, and function of sculpture, and thus the opportunity to express the fundamental laws that structure form in the natural world. Topics include: low, middle and high relief; organizing principles of two and three-dimensional design (balance, rhythm, economy, etc.); light and shadow; transforming clay reliefs into plaster reliefs; the history of relief sculpture. Materials: paper/cardboard, clay and plaster. Materials fee: $40. (4 credits)

8 credits of:

Prerequisites: at least one of the following courses: FA 205, FA 301, FA 302, FA 311, FA 312, FA 353 and consent of instructor. (4 credits)
Painting expresses the artist’s connection with the deep laws fundamental to seeing and creating visual images. Students are immersed in the fundamentals of drawing and painting from observation, with a focus on moving fluidly between painting outdoors in the landscape, and then applying ideas and observations gathered outdoors to studio-based paintings (and vice versa). The curriculum addresses the students’ development of formal and technical skills along with a conceptual and critical understanding of the language of painting, as well as the particular issues, philosophies, and history associated with landscape painting. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor, subject to satisfactory progress in the previous course and a clear plan for the progression of learning in the subsequent course. Prerequisites: a previous art course and consent of the instructor (4 credits)

4 credits of:

Students learn to critically analyze, interpret, and contextualize art in terms of the history of art, art theory, and culture while studying some of the most significant writings by modern critics, theorists, and artists—responding to them through writing exercises and classroom discussion. Students apply skills and knowledge gained by formulating, refining, and completing a research essay that involves a modern artist or contemporary issue, as related to the larger context of philosophical ideas and consciousness. Textbook fee: $25 Prerequisite: Senior BFA student, MA students who do not have a BFA from MIU, or consent of Instructor (4 credits)

16 credits of:

Advanced students work with an idea-based structure that allows them to go deeply into their work at the final stage of their degree requirements. This course is designed to forward studio work by capitalizing on students’ strengths through intensified pure studio time coupled with personal contact with faculty. During these months the student connects thinking with action in the artist’s statement and receives direct support for presentation, installation, and documentation of thesis work. Required for the degree. Materials costs will vary with the student. This course is repeated for credit. Prerequisite: For BFA students only or with specific consent from the professor. (16 credits)

Electives (20 credits)

20 credits of electives may include up to 8 credits from courses in Cinematic Arts & New Media, as approved by the Art Department undergraduate academic advisor.