Visual Arts

Departmental Office: 310 Dodge; 212-854-4065
http://arts.columbia.edu/visual-arts

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Associate Prof. Nicola López, ngl1@columbia.edu

Director of Academic Administration: Carrie Gundersdorf; cg2817@columbia.edu

Manager of Academic Administration: Laura Mosquera; lm3004@columbia.edu

The Visual Arts Program in the School of the Arts offers studio art classes as a component of a liberal arts education and as a means to an art major, concentration, and joint major with the Art History and Archaeology Department.

Registration

Please Note: Visual Arts courses are currently closed for registration. If you are interested in taking a Visual Arts class, please add your name to the waitlist of the course and attend the first day of the class via Zoom. If a Visual Arts class is full, visit arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

Declaring a Major in Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Undergraduate Program requires a departmental signature when declaring a major. After meeting with their college academic adviser, students should set up a meeting to consult with the director of undergraduate studies, Associate Professor Nicola Lopez. Please email Carrie Gundersdorf (cg2817@columbia.edu) or Laura Mosquera (lm3004@columbia.edu) for the current Requirements Worksheet for the Visual Arts Major, Art History and Visual Arts Interdepartmental Major or Visual Arts Concentration.

Professors

  • Gregory Amenoff
  • Susanna Coffey (1 Year Appointment for 2020-21)
  • Jon Kessler
  • Sarah Sze
  • Rirkrit Tiravanija
  • Tomas Vu-Daniel

Associate Professors

  • Matthew Buckingham (Chair)
  • Shelly Silver
  • Nicola López (Director of Undergraduate Studies)
  • Leeza Meksin (Director of Graduate Studies)

Assistant Professors

  • Aliza Nisenbaum
  • Sable Elyse Smith

Guidelines for all Visual Arts Majors, Concentrators, and Interdepartmental Majors

A maximum of 12 credits from other degree-granting institutions may be counted toward the major, only with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies.


Major in Visual Arts

A total of 35 points are required as follows:

Visual Arts (32 points)
VIAR UN1000BASIC DRAWING (formerly VIAR R1001)
VIAR UN2300Sculpture I
or VIAR UN2200 Ceramics I
Five additional VIAR 3-point studio courses (15 points)
VIAR UN3800Seminar in Contemporary Art Practice
Senior Thesis consists of the following four courses:
VIAR UN3900
 - VIAR UN3910
Senior Thesis I
and Visiting Critic I (formerly VIAR R3901 and VIAR R3921)
VIAR UN3901
 - VIAR UN3911
Senior Thesis II
and Visiting Critic II
Art History (3 points)
One 20th-century Art History 3-point course or equivalent, such as:
AHIS UN2405Twentieth-Century Art (formerly AHIS W3650)

Senior Thesis

Before taking the Senior Thesis, majors are advised to complete 18 points of required Visual Arts courses. Senior Thesis consists of four 2-point courses taken over two semesters: VIAR UN3900 Senior Thesis I-VIAR UN3901 Senior Thesis II (4 points) and VIAR UN3910 Visiting Critic I-VIAR UN3911 Visiting Critic II (4 points). (Senior Thesis I and Visiting Critic I run concurrently and Senior Thesis II and Visiting Critic II run concurrently).

Visual arts majors must sign up for a portfolio review to enroll in Senior Thesis. Portfolio reviews are scheduled in April preceding the semester for which students seek entry. Portfolios are evaluated by the director of undergraduate studies and a faculty committee. After each semester of Senior Thesis, a faculty committee evaluates the work and performance completed.


Major in Art History and Visual Arts

The combined major requires the completion of sixteen or seventeen courses. Up to two 3-point courses in art history may be replaced by a related course in another department, with approval of the adviser.  It is recommended that students interested in this major begin the requirements in their sophomore year.  The requirements for the major are as follows :

Art History (25 points)
AHIS UN3000Majors' Colloquium: the Literature and Methods of Art History (formerly VIAR W3895)
Seven additional art history (AHIS) 3-point lecture courses:
At least one course in three of four historical periods, as listed below
An additional two courses drawn from at least two different world regions, as listed below
Two additional lectures of the student's choice
Visual Arts (21 points)
VIAR UN1000BASIC DRAWING (formerly VIAR R1001)
VIAR UN2300Sculpture I (formerly VIAR R3330)
or VIAR UN2200 Ceramics I
Five additional VIAR 3-point studio courses (15 points)
In the senior year, students must complete either a seminar in the Department of Art History and Archaeology or a senior project in visual arts (pending approval by the Visual Arts Department).

Students electing the combined major should consult with the director of undergraduate studies in Visual Arts, as well as with the undergraduate program coordinator in the Art History and Archaeology Department.

NOTE: Chronological divisions are approximate. In case of ambiguities about course eligibility to fill the requirement, consult the director of undergraduate studies in Art History and Archaeology.

Historical Periods

  • Ancient (up to 400 CE/AD)
  • 400 - 1400
  • 1400 - 1700
  • 1700 - present

World Regions

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe, North America, Australia
  • Latin America
  • Middle East

Concentration in Visual Arts

A total of 21 points are required as follows:

Visual Arts (18 points)
VIAR UN1000BASIC DRAWING (formerly VIAR R1001)
VIAR UN2300Sculpture I (formerly VIAR R3330)
or VIAR UN2200 Ceramics I
Four additional VIAR 3-point studio courses (12 points)
Art History (3 points)
One 20th-century Art History 3-point course or equivalent, such as:
AHIS UN2405Twentieth-Century Art (formerly AHIS W3650)

Drawing 

VIAR UN1000 BASIC DRAWING. 3.00 points.

(Formerly R1001) The fundamentals of visual vocabulary and handling of drawing materials including charcoal, compressed charcoal, pencil, pen, ink, and brushes. Various conceptual and practical approaches to image-making are explored as formal issues such as line, volume, contrast, and composition are emphasized. Class assignments are accompanied by discussions and critiques. Students draw largely from observation, working with a variety of sources that may include still-life objects and the human figure. Portfolio required at the end. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program

Fall 2020: VIAR UN1000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 1000 001/13605 T Th 5:00pm - 7:30pm
Online Only
Carolyn Hulbert 3.00 19/19
VIAR 1000 002/13609 T 10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Only
Victoria Roth 3.00 12/19

VIAR UN2001 Drawing II. 3 points.

Prerequisites: (VIAR UN1000)

Examines the potential of drawing as an expressive tool elaborating on the concepts and techniques presented in VIAR UN1001. Studio practice emphasizes individual attitudes toward drawing while acquiring knowledge and skills from historical and cultural precedents. Portfolio required at the end.

Fall 2020: VIAR UN2001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 2001 001/13616 F 10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Only
Diana Cooper 3 17/19

VIAR UN3010 Collage: Mixed Media. 3 points.

Prerequisites: (VIAR UN1000)

(Formerly R3515) This course approaches drawing as an experimental and expressive tool. Students will explore the boundaries between drawing and sculpture and will be encouraged to push the parameters of drawing. Collage, assemblage and photomontage will be used in combination with more traditional approaches to drawing. The class will explore the role of the imagination, improvisation, 3-dimensional forms, observation, memory, language, mapping, and text. Field trips to artists’ studios as well as critiques will play an important role in the course. The course will culminate in a final project in which each student will choose one or more of the themes explored during the semester and create a series of artworks. This course is often taught under the nomenclature Drawing II - Mixed Media.

VIAR UN3011 Problems in Drawing. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR R1000.

(Formerly R4005) Students will connect with the very heart of the Western Art tradition, engaging in this critical activity that was the pillar of draftsmanship training from the Renaissance on through the early Modern Era. This pursuit is the common thread that links artists from Michelangelo and Rubens to Van Gogh and Picasso. Rigorous studies will be executed from plaster casts of antique sculptures, and pedagogical engravings. Students will confront foundational issues of academic training; assessing proportion and tonal value, structure and form. Hours will be spent on a single drawing pushing to the highest degree of accuracy in order develop a means for looking at nature. There is a focus on precision and gaining a thorough understanding of the interaction between light and a surface. This approach emphasizes drawing by understanding the subject and the physical world that defines it. While this training has allowed great representational artists of the past to unlock the poetry from the world around them and continues to inspire a surging new realist movement, it can also serve as a new way of seeing and a launching point for achieving creative goals. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

Painting

VIAR UN2100 Painting I. 3 points.

Prerequisites: (VIAR UN1000)

(Formerly R3201) Introduction of the fundamental skills and concepts involved in painting. Problems are structured to provide students with a knowledge of visual language along with a development of expressive content. Individual and group critiques. Portfolio required at end. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

VIAR UN3101 Painting II: Representation into Abstraction. 3 points.

Prerequisites: (VIAR UN1000) and (VIAR UN2100)

(Formerly R3202) Painting II: Extension of VIAR UN2100 This course explores the transition of representational form towards abstraction in the early 20th century (Cubism) with full consideration to recent movements such as geometric abstraction, organic abstraction, gestural abstraction, color field and pattern painting. Students will be encouraged to find dynamic approaches to these classic tropes of 20th and 21st century abstraction.

Fall 2020: VIAR UN3101
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 3101 001/13631 W 10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Only
Susanna Coffey 3 8/14

VIAR UN3102 PAINTING III: Advanced Painting. 3 points.

Prerequisites: (VIAR UN1000) and (VIAR UN2100)

Prerequisites: (VIAR UN1000) and (VIAR UN2100) Painting III:  Advanced study in painting will be a material inquiry into the consequential concepts, histories, and critical language embedded in making painting’s historical past and its’ present.  Is painting now a singular “medium”? How do facture, scale, form and a multitude of image-making options, regardless of “style”, accrue as to create meaning?  Participants are expected to present work weekly, as Individual studio or group critiques. These will be augmented by readings of selected historical essays and contemporaneous writings, as well as visual presentations on a rotating basis. 

VIAR UN3103 Advanced Painting: Process. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR UN1000 and VIAR UN2100

In this advanced course, students develop their own individual painting practice through experimentation, risk taking, and rigorous evaluation of the interwoven questions of material and content in their work. A special emphasis is based on what we can do with the process of painting, and its vast and ever changing array of procedures, substrates, approaches, and techniques. How can painting materialize your response to what you encounter visually, intellectually, poetically, psychologically, politically, and culturally? “Painting” is open in the class, and expansion and integration of other materials is fully acceptable. The course consists of directed but open assignments, presentations on historical and contemporary work, introduction to new materials, readings, individual and group critiques, and visits to working artists’ studios, museums/galleries.

VIAR UN3120 Figure Painting. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR R1000 and VIAR R2100.

(Formerly R3210) Course provides the experience of employing a wide range of figurative applications that serve as useful tools for the contemporary artist. Non-Western applications, icon painting, and the European/American traditions are presented. Individual and group critiques.Portfolio required at end. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

VIAR GU4704 Photo III: Photobook. 3 points.

This course will explore the photobook as a central medium of contemporary lens-based practice. Students are exposed to a variety of approaches and viewpoints through historical lectures, class trips, and presentations by guest photographers, curators, critics, editors, graphic designers, etc. Each student will propose, develop, and produce editioned books during this course. This course requires reading, independent research, and work outside of class time.

Fall 2020: VIAR GU4704
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 4704 001/20752 T Th 10:00am - 12:30pm
Online Only
Dana Buhl 3 8/15

VIAR UN3104 Painting III: Advanced Painting. 3 points.

This advanced painting class will consider contemporary painting in the context of traditional genres, exploring both continuity and discontinuity between contemporary painting and the tradition out of which it arose.  Questions considered will include:  Do traditional genres such as the history painting, the still-life, the nude, the portrait, the landscape painting have any relevance to contemporary painting?  If not, where have these genres migrated to in our contemporary culture?  Does contemporary painting exist solely as a cliché of art production, a hand-made status symbol and luxury commodity or can an argument be made for painting as an individual revolt against mass culture?  Is painting’s appeal simply due to nostalgia for a now-obsolete technology of representation or does its enduring popularity result from a desire for the physical/personal in a screen-based world?  How are contemporary artists using painting today and what critical strategies are available to painters today?


Students will be expected to present artwork weekly for individual and group critiques.  The course will use an expanded definition of painting so students should feel free to experiment with other media as desired.  Students will be required to research historical and contemporary (both art and mass culture) examples of the various genres and to create visual presentations of their research.  Supplemental readings will be assigned weekly.  Students will spend the last month working on a project of their choice.

Photography

VIAR UN1700 Photography: Photo I. 3 points.

(Formerly R3701) An introductory course in the technical, aesthetic, and conceptual foundations of photography. With an emphasis on the student’s own creative practice, this course will explore the basics of photography and its history through regular shooting assignments, demonstrations, critique, lectures, and readings. No prior photography experience is required.

Fall 2020: VIAR UN1700
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 1700 001/13614 F 10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Only
Emile Askey 3 14/13
VIAR 1700 002/13615 M W 9:30am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Rachel Stern 3 9/13

VIAR UN2701 PHOTOGRAPHY: PHOTO II. 3.00 points.

Prerequisites: (VIAR UN1700)
Prerequisites: (VIAR UN1700) (Formerly R3702) This course expands on concerns first encountered in Photography I and addresses aspects of creative photography through project development and advanced camera and lab techniques. Over the course of the semester students are introduced to color photography, the use of medium format cameras, pinhole cameras, flash and studio lighting in addition to emphasizing the refinement of black-and-white printing: contrast control, burning and dodging, and the production of larger prints. Note: Due to the necessity of placing a cap on the number of students who can register for our photography courses, the department provides a wait list to identify and give priority to students interested in openings that become available on the first day of class. If the class is full, sign up for the wait list at http://arts.columbia.edu/photolist

VIAR UN3710 Digital Documentary Photography. 3 points.

(Formerly R4702) The goal of the course is for each student to create small-scale documentary projects using photography and writing with an eye towards web publishing. Taking advantage of the ease and speed of image production and distribution, students will propose and workshop projects that can be quickly completed and uploaded to a class website. Assignments, readings and discussions will focus on the role of the documentary tradition in the history of photographic art practice. Students must provide their own laptop and digital camera. If the class is full, sign up for the wait list at http://arts.columbia.edu/photolist.

VIAR GU4702 Photography: Advanced Photo III Seminar. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR UN1700

This course will explore the Artists book as an essential medium of contemporary artistic and lens based practice. Lectures and presentations will consider the mediums historical roots in Dadaism, Constructivism and Fluxus to enliven an expansive consideration of the books essential principles — scale, material, touch and dissemination. Students are exposed to a variety of approaches and viewpoints through presentations by guest photographers, writers, curators, publishers as well as class trips to archives, museums and galleries. Using various research methodologies with a distinct focus on image and text students will explore narrative development, sequencing, repetition and pacing.  Each student will propose, develop and produce a unique editioned artists book during this course.

Printmaking

VIAR UN2420 Printmaking I: Intaglio. 3 points.

(Formerly R3401) Enables the student to realize concepts and visual ideas in a printed form. Basic techniques are introduced and utilized: the history and development of the intaglio process; demonstrations and instruction in line etching, relief, and dry point. Individual and group critiques. Portfolio required at end. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

VIAR UN2430 Printmaking I: Relief. 3 points.

(Formerly R3411) Printmaking I: Relief introduces woodcut and other relief techniques. Given the direct quality of the process, the class focuses on the student's personal vision through experimentation with this print medium. Individual and group critiques. Portfolio required at end. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

Fall 2020: VIAR UN2430
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 2430 001/13629 M W 9:30am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Nathan Catlin 3 7/9

VIAR UN3410 Printmaking I: Photogravure. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR UN1400 or VIAR UN2420 or VIAR UN1700

Prerequisites: VIAR UN1400 or VIAR UN2420 or VIAR UN1700 (Formerly R3417)


The purpose of this course is to incorporate the photomechanical intaglio printmaking process into the student’s own work, and in turn, for them to capitalize on its usage as part of their visual arts language. The students will learn the polymer plate process known as Solar Plate and structure it to the concepts they are creating and investigating. By integrating it into conventional intaglio techniques and combining them into finished works, the student’s printmaking lexicon will be expanded.


This course is a concise study and practice of the process of photoetching, also known as photoengraving, utilizing non-toxic photo-polymer plates, thus reducing the exposure to harmful chemicals used in other photomechanical printmaking processes. This also coincides with the transitioning of the print studio into a Green workplace. 

VIAR UN3412 Printmaking: Drawing Into Print. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR UN2420 or VIAR UN2430 note that VIAR UN2430 was formerly R3420.

The objective of the course is to provide students with an interdisciplinary link between drawing, photography and printmaking through an integrated studio project. Students will use drawing, printmaking and collage to create a body of work to be presented in a folio format. In the course, students develop and refine their drawing sensibility, and are encouraged to experiment with various forms of non-traditional printmaking. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

Fall 2020: VIAR UN3412
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 3412 001/13632 T 10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Only
Ivan Forde 3 4/12

VIAR UN3421 Printmaking II: Intaglio. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR UN2420

(Formerly R3402) Continues instruction and demonstration of further techniques in intaglio. Encourages students to think visually more in the character of the medium, and personal development is stressed. Individual and group critiques. Portfolio required at end. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

VIAR UN3431 Printmaking II: Relief. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR UN2430

(Formerly R3412) Printmaking II: Relief continues instruction and demonstration of further techniques in woodcut. Encourages students to think visually more in the character of the medium, and personal development is stressed. Individual and group critiques. Portfolio required at end. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

Fall 2020: VIAR UN3431
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 3431 001/13634 M W 9:30am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Nathan Catlin 3 4/3

VIAR GU4400 Advanced Printmaking. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR R2420, or VIAR R2430.

(Formerly R3415) Designed for students who have already taken one semester of a printmaking course and are interested in continuing on an upper level. Students are encouraged to work in all areas, separate or combined, using their own vocabulary and imagery to create a body of work by the end of the semester. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

Sculpture/New Genre

VIAR UN2200 Ceramics I. 3 points.

(Formerly R3130) This studio course will provide the students with a foundation in the ceramic process, its history, and its relevance to contemporary art making. The course is structured in two parts. The first centers on the fundamental and technical aspects of the material. Students will learn construction techniques, glazing and finishing methods, and particulars about firing procedures. This part of the course will move quickly in order to expose the students to a variety of ceramic processes. Weekly assignments, demonstrations, and lectures will be given. The second centers on the issue of how to integrate ceramics into the students' current practice. Asking the question of why we use ceramics as a material and, further, why we choose the materials we do to make art. Rigorous group and individual critiques focusing on the above questions will be held. The goal of this course is to supply the students with the knowledge and skill necessary to work in ceramics and enough proficiency and understanding of the material to enable them to successfully incorporate it into their practice. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

Fall 2020: VIAR UN2200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 2200 001/13626 Th 10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Only
Joseph Peet 3 8/8

VIAR UN2300 Sculpture I. 3 points.

(Formerly R3330) The fundamentals of sculpture are investigated through a series of conceptual and technical projects. Three material processes are introduced, including wood, metal, and paster casting. Issues pertinent to contemporary sculpture are introduced through lectures, group critiques, discussions, and field trips that accompany class assignments. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

Fall 2020: VIAR UN2300
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 2300 001/13627 F 10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Only
Jon Kessler 3 8/8

VIAR UN3201 Ceramics II. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR R2200.
(Formerly R3131) This course will focus on using ceramics as a primary art making machine by breaking out of the constraints wedded to this traditional material. Building on the foundation set in VIAR R2200 Ceramics I, this course will delve further into the technical and historical aspects of the ceramic process.
Students will use a self-directed working process to facilitate the incorporation of ceramics materials into their existing art making while allowing them room to go in their own conceptual direction.  Rigorous group and individual critiques will be held on a regular basis.  Content is a priority in this class, and with the further understanding of ceramic processes and materials, the goal is for the student to be fluid in producing their ideas without the obstruction of technical difficulties.  In addition to the rigorous making of objects from start to finish our technical progression will be broken down into three parts:
Part one:
Testing and understanding of ceramic materials. Students will formulate their own glazes and clay bodies from raw ceramic materials. Rigorous testing will take place throughout the semester.
Part two:
Focuses on the in-depth understanding of using kilns. Students will start with loading and unloading of their own work. Programming our electric kilns, firing the kiln and learning the different results obtained at different temperatures. The end result is for the student to have confidence in firing their own work when they leave this class.
Part thee:
Students will learn advanced building techniques such a large scale hand building, mold making, slip casting, advanced image-making such as ceramic decal production and transferware

VIAR UN3301 Sculpture II. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR UN2300 or the instructor's permission.

(Formerly R3331) Continuation of VIAR UN2300. The objective of the class is to engage in in-depth research and hands on studio projects related to a specific theme to be determined by each student. Each student is expected to complete class with four fully realized and thematically linked works. Wood, metal, and plaster will be provided for this class but video, sound, performance and various mixed media approaches are highly encouraged. In addition, lecture and field trips will be part of the course. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

VIAR UN3302 Sculpture III. 3 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR R2300.

(Formerly R3332) Sculpture III is an invitation for immersive sculpting. The class will explore the idea of experiences and construction of contexts as central research topics. The class becomes a laboratory space to explore various techniques to heighten body awareness and spatial sensibility. Through assignments and workshops, the students will practice how to digest these sensory experiences through their studio practice. Historical precedents for art outside the usual mediums and venues will be our reference points to investigate how our own work may take part in a generative process that evolves the definition of sculpture. The assignments in the first half of the semester point the students to performance, site specificity, and sound, that utilize New York City's odd spots and professionals. While building such common experiential platforms, the class will also build language for a dialogic space, through weekly in-class discussions lead by the instructor, guests, and rotating panels of the students. As the semester progresses, the emphasis will gradually be shifted from experiential learning to intensive studio work on a final project, where the students are asked to pay close attention to how various methods and fields of subjects combine. The resulting project has to be the best work you have ever done. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

VIAR GU4600 Performance Art; Developing a Visual Lexicon. 3 points.

Using a set of related interdisciplinary activities, the students in this class will discover their own vocabulary of images, a visual lexicon, to articulate new work emerging through the medium of performance art. Because art requires a temperature or a “climate” for it to developed, we will view critical film works, as well as creating new videos and live performance. We will learn about the medium of performance art to communicate to groups of people about new artistic projects and ideas. Every artist has their own vocabulary that lays dormant until it’s discovered. Then it takes time management, prioritizing, sacrifice, discipline, edification, distillation and a fun studio practice for this work to emerge. We will do this together using the medium of performance, which makes the best use of what is available; the body and other performative tools, that may be applicable as we work towards illustrating new ideas. Availabilism is a term I invented to encapsulate my philosophy around art making which is the idea that every artist should make the best use of what's available.


We will practice different experiments and performance methods using props, costumes, painting, sculpture, song writing and music. Just like theater, performance art is a medium that creates a collective atmosphere giving the student a sense of community. This is an important aspect for artists that struggle communicating and sharing their ideas. With courage and audacity, students will learn how to use their availabilism as it can help articulate their individual artistic expression. Students will write and examine their personal history and artistic goals to distill the information that compels each individual to analyze why art is such an important part of his/her life. This class will expose the student to the possibilities of live performance as not just entertainment, but another medium that an artist can access to expand their individual creative expression.

Moving Image

VIAR UN3500 Beginning Video. 3 points.

Beginning Video is an introductory class on the production and editing of digital video. Designed as an intensive hands-on production/post-production workshop, the apprehension of technical and aesthetic skills in shooting, sound and editing will be emphasized. Assignments are developed to allow students to deepen their familiarity with the language of the moving image medium. Over the course of the term, the class will explore the language and syntax of the moving image, including fiction, documentary and experimental approaches. Importance will be placed on the decision making behind the production of a work; why it was conceived of, shot, and edited in a certain way. Class time will be divided between technical workshops, viewing and discussing films and videos by independent producers/artists and discussing and critiquing students projects. Readings will be assigned on technical, aesthetic and theoretical issues. Only one section offered per semester. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

Fall 2020: VIAR UN3500
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 3500 001/13688 T 10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Only
Shelly Silver 3 2/9

VIAR GU4501 Advanced Video. 3 points.

Advanced Video is a full day class 10:00am- 4:00pm.

Prerequisites: (VIAR UN3500) VIAR UN3500 Beginning Video or prior experience in video or film production.

Advanced Video is an advanced, intensive project-based class on the production of digital video. The class is designed for advanced students to develop an ambitious project or series of projects during the course of the semester. Through this production, students will fine-tune shooting and editing skills as well as become more sophisticated in terms of their aesthetic and theoretical approach to the moving image. The class will follow each student through proposal, dailies, rough-cut and fine cut stage. The course is organized for knowledge to be shared and accumulated, so that each student will learn both from her/his own process, as well as the processes of all the other students. Additional screenings and readings will be organized around the history of video art and the problematics of the moving image in general, as well as particular issues that are raised by individual student projects. NOTE: There is only one section offered per semester. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

Visual Arts Major Requirements

VIAR UN3800 Seminar in Contemporary Art Practice. 3 points.

(Formerly R4601) New York City is the most abundant visual arts resource in the world. Visits to museums, galleries, and studios on a weekly basis. Students encounter a broad cross-section of art and are encouraged to develop ideas about what is seen. The seminar is led by a practicing artist and utilizes this perspective. Columbia College and General Studies Visual Arts Majors must take this class during their junior year. If the class is full, please visit http://arts.columbia.edu/undergraduate-visual-arts-program.

Fall 2020: VIAR UN3800
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 3800 001/13635 Th 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Elizaveta Meksin 3 9/14

VIAR UN3900 Senior Thesis I. 2 points.

Prerequisites: Department approval required. See requirements for a major in visual arts. VIAR UN3900 is the prerequisite for VIAR UN3901.
Corequisites: VIAR UN3910

(Formerly R3901) Students must enroll in both semesters of the course (VIAR UN3900 and VIAR UN3901). The student is required to produce a significant body of work in which the ideas, method of investigation, and execution are determined by the student. A plan is developed in consultation with the faculty. Seminars; presentations. At the end, an exhibition or other public venue is presented for evaluation. Studio space is provided.

VIAR UN3901 Senior Thesis II. 2 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR UN3900 Department approval required. See requirements for a major in visual arts. VIAR UN3900 is the prerequisite for VIAR UN3901.
Corequisites: VIAR UN3911

Students must enroll in both semesters of the course (VIAR UN3900 and VIAR UN3901). The student is required to produce a significant body of work in which the ideas, method of investigation, and execution are determined by the student. A plan is developed in consultation with the faculty. Seminars; presentations. At the end, an exhibition or other public venue is presented for evaluation. Studio space is provided.

VIAR UN3910 Visiting Critic I. 2 points.

Prerequisites: Department approval required. See requirements for a major in visual arts. VIAR UN3910 is the prerequisite for VIAR UN3911.
Corequisites: VIAR UN3900

(Formerly R3921) Students are required to enroll in both semesters (VIAR UN3910 and VIAR UN3911). A second opinion is provided to the senior students regarding the development of their senior project. Critics consist of distinguished visitors and faculty. Issues regarding the premise, methodology, or presentation of the student's ideas are discussed and evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Fall 2020: VIAR UN3910
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
VIAR 3910 001/13638 W 5:15pm - 10:00pm
Online Only
Emily Henretta 2 10/20

VIAR UN3911 Visiting Critic II. 2 points.

Prerequisites: VIAR UN3910 Department approval required. See requirements for a major in visual arts.
Corequisites: VIAR UN3901

(Formerly R3922) Students are required to enroll in both semesters (VIAR UN3910 and VIAR UN3911). A second opinion is provided to the senior students regarding the development of their senior project. Critics consist of distinguished visitors and faculty. Issues regarding the premise, methodology, or presentation of the student's ideas are discussed and evaluated on an ongoing basis.