Courses

ANTH 324 Ethnographic Filmmaking: Multimedia Storytelling for Social Change

This course explores documentary and ethnographic filmmaking through hands-on production and engagement with key issues in anthropology. Activities include in-class workshops and field explorations for final ethnographic film or media projects with an emphasis on activist anthropology and field recording. Students learn by doing, using ethnographic methods such as participant-observation, interviewing, data visualization, digital textual analysis, and film/audio/podcast recording. This class includes group activities, reading ethnographies, watching films/media, site visits, and guest tutorials in audio/visual media production. Students apply what they learn in class to document their cultural worlds at Bates and in Maine, taking care to mobilize anthropological tools to “situate” themselves in domains of power while creating media that examines core social issues of our time. The course concludes with presentations of multimedia projects for members of the Bates community.

AVC 202 Painting: Color and Design

An examination of color theory and its application to the art of painting. Prerequisite(s): any drawing course including AVC 205, 210, 212, 213, 312, 366, or FYS 498.

AVC 203 Ceramic Design and Techniques

Designing and sculpting of objects in clay, using such traditional techniques as coil and slab construction and throwing on the potter’s wheel. This course provides an introduction to the ceramic process covering the nature of clay, application of glazes, firing procedures and aspects of the history of pottery. Drawing is part of some assignments. There is a laboratory fee.

AVC 207 Ceramics: Making Sculptural Form

This course explores the processes, methods, and conceptual possibilities of three-dimensional making through hand-building techniques such as coil, slab, extrusion, and modeling. Emphasis is placed on developing sculptural approaches using ceramic materials with some projects based in observation. Students examine contemporary sculpture as well as the processes, methods, and theories of ceramic work, glazing, and firing. There is a laboratory fee. Recommended background: prior experience with ceramics, sculpture, or drawing.

AVC 208 Asian American Graphic Narrative

This course traces the evolution of Asian American graphic narrative. Students consider the narrative in a visual format, discussing how works created by Asian Americans combat decades of stereotypes propagated in comic books, especially as evil-genius Fu Manchu figures. Students read graphic novels, graphic memoir, and selected issues of several comics series. Topics include race, identity, family history, military history, gender performance, and sexuality. Students discuss writing practice, style, genre, research, and multimodal composition. They also workshop their writing and discuss effective revision critiques.

AVC 209 Introduction to Video Production

This course introduces video as a medium for artistic expression and social investigation. Students gain an understanding of video production, including the video camera, sound, lighting, and editing (e.g., Adobe Premiere), with emphasis placed on the relationship among the camera, the maker, and the subject. Students explore video making and its broad possibilities within contemporary art. Screenings and readings of work by filmmakers, and contemporary artists are analyzed. This course may be repeated for credit.

AVC 210 Drawing and Intention

Guided individual research into various methods practiced by contemporary artists including systemic approaches, drawing as ritual, and perceptual drawing. Consideration is given to the relationship between function, form, image, and idea. Students have the opportunity to respond to an expanding definition of drawing that could include text, movement, and sound. May be repeated for credit.

AVC 211 Animation I: Hand-Drawn Animation

An introduction to the traditional animation techniques of creating movement through successive drawings. Students explore various techniques including metamorphosis, walking cycles, holds, squash and stretch, blur, and resistance. They learn to use Dragon animation software. Students undertake weekly assignments and a final project. Class screenings and critiques supplement in-class demonstrations. Course may be repeated for credit.

AVC 212 Drawing: From Still Life to the Model

This course is a study of drawing through process and analysis. Emphasis is placed on drawing from observation and the subject matter that is addressed progresses from still life to the model. Strongly recommended for beginning students with no studio background, yet the subjects and ideas studied offer enough complexity for more advanced students.

AVC 213 Drawing: Realism to Abstraction

This course is a study of drawing through practice and analysis. Emphasis is placed on drawing from observation, alongside consideration of abstraction and its potential. Recommended for beginning students with no studio background, yet subjects and ideas studied offer enough complexity for more advanced students. May be repeated once for credit.

AVC 214 Painting I: Pictorial Structure

Problems in representation and pictorial structure. The student learns about painting by concentrated study of the works of painters from the past and present and by painting from nature. Prerequisite(s): AVC 212 or 365A.

AVC 215 Painting: Abstraction and Invention

This course is a study of contemporary painting methods, including abstraction. Working at the intersection of painting and drawing, students develop images based on close observation of fact, using a wide array of approaches to making pictures. Prerequisite(s): any drawing course including AVC 210, 211, 212, 213, 312, 366, s35, or FYS 498. May be repeated once for credit.

AVC 219 Photography: The Digital Image

A study of photographic image making using digital technology. This introductory course covers concepts and techniques of photography and the use of basic image-editing software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop). The course offers improvement in perceptual awareness and the study of expressive possibilities, especially as they pertain to digital manipulation. A DSLR or equivalent digital camera with adjustable shutter speed and aperture is required. There is a laboratory fee.

AVC 220 The Digital Composite: A Creative Process

Combining images offers many creative and expressive possibilities, from the construction of fictional narrative to the visual articulation of ideas for social or political commentary. Using image editing software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop), students gain proficiency in digital compositing techniques and develop efficient workflows to produce seamless images from multiple sources. In addition to producing and working with composite imagery, students study its historic context from early twentieth-century photomontages to digital fabrications employed by contemporary artists. There is a laboratory fee. Recommended background: AVC 219 or equivalent experience.

AVC 223 Outside the Frame: A Global History of Photography

This course is an introduction to the visual, material, and cultural debates surrounding lens-based technology from its inception in the nineteenth century to the digital age. The course explores multiple and overlapping histories of photography, tracing the medium’s adaptation in global contexts. Using images drawn from multiple contexts students consider not only what is inside the photographic frame, but also what occurs outside of it. Concerns include the materiality of photographic objects and image technologies. This is conceived as an introductory course, open to all levels.

AVC 224 The Japanese Tea Bowl

Tea and Zen Buddhism came to Japan from China in the twelfth century. The tea ceremony developed from these imports and many schools have been formed since then, but all have kept the ceramic tea bowl as one of the most important focal points. In this course, students explore the history of the ceremony by making tea bowls and related utensils. Various clays, forming methods, and styles are explored. There is a laboratory fee.

AVC 228 Connecting Image Cultures: Artistic Exchange between Islam and Europe

Through lecture, discussion, object-based learning, and digital humanities projects, this course maps image and artistic exchange between the European and Islamic worlds from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. Students explore reciprocal currents of visual and technological encounter in between imperial centers and across national borders. Taking a historical and critical view that highlights both continuities and ruptures between modernizing imperial social bodies, the course traces the ways material culture cross-pollinated Mediterranean geographies, charting how images were made and re-made beyond the prospects of national heritage. Beginning with colonial rule in India, students examine transnational dialogues across London, Mumbai, Paris, Istanbul, Vienna, Tehran, Berlin, Baghdad, London, Cairo, Rome, and Mogadishu. Through case studies, students consider relationships among artists, printers, authors, and patrons in an increasingly global world.

AVC 233 Decolonizing the Museum: Understanding Colonial Legacies, Display Practices, and Repatriation

This course introduces students to the problematic and colonial histories upon which museums were built. Beginning with an introduction to postcolonial theory and institutional critique, students critically examine the containment of colonial objects and related efforts to control colonial bodies. By acknowledging colonial records and structural racism as the foundation upon which the modern museum was built, students grapple with historic and exploitative systems of power that formed the world’s first collections and still govern modes of display and interpretation today. Through experiential learning, the class engages with cases of repatriation and the marginalization of art histories from the Global South, and analyzes museum practice in relationship to global migration, COVID-19, the racial justice movement, climate change, and wars in Syria and Ukraine. The course uses the Bates College Museum of Art and Bates College Archives as sources of study.

AVC 234 Chinese Arts and Visual Culture

This course introduces Chinese visual cultures, from the Neolithic period to the present day, focusing on a period of particular cultural significance from the Han to Qing dynasties. The course reveals interrelationships among Chinese art, literature, religious philosophy, and politics. Topics discussed include artists’ places within specific social groups, theories of arts, questions of patronage, and the relation of traditional indigenous art forms to the evolving social and cultural orders from which they draw life. Principal objects include ritual objects, bronze vessels, ceramics, porcelain, lacquer ware, sculptures, rock-cut temples, gardens, painting, calligraphy, and wood-block prints.

AVC 236 Japanese Arts and Visual Culture

This course surveys the history of Japanese art and visual culture focusing on the development of pictorial, sculptural, and architectural traditions from the Neolithic to the present time. The course explores the relationship between indigenous art forms and the foreign concepts, art forms and techniques that influenced Japanese culture, and social political and religious contexts as well as the role of patronage for artistic production. Topics include architecture, sculpture, painting, narrative handscrolls, the Zen arts, monochromatic ink painting, woodblock prints, decorative arts, contemporary architecture, photography, and fashion design.

AVC 241 The Art of Islam

Art of the Islamic world from its roots in the ancient Near East to the flowering of Safavid Persia and Mughal India in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Developments are traced through architecture, painting, ceramics, textiles, and metalwork. Consideration is given to the continuity of the Near Eastern artistic tradition and Islamic art in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

AVC 243 Buddhist Arts and Visual Cultures

The course examines the history of Buddhist visual cultures. It provides a basic introduction to a broad spectrum of Buddhist art, beginning with the emergence of early Buddhist sculpture in India and ending with modern Buddhist visual works. It examines selected works of architecture, sculpture, and paintings in their religious, social, and cultural contexts. It also briefly surveys regional Buddhism and its arts.

AVC 245 Architectural Monuments of Southeast Asia

This course examines the arts of Southeast Asia by focusing on significant monuments of the countries in the region. It examines the architecture, sculpture, and relief carvings on the ancient monuments and their relations to religious, cultural, political, and social contexts. Sites covered include Borobudur, Angkor, Pagan, Sukkhothai, and My-Son.

AVC 246 Visual Narratives: Storytelling in East Asian Art

This course examines the important artistic tradition of narrative painting in China and Japan. Through study of visually narrative presentations of religious, historical, and popular stories, the course explores different contexts in which the works-tomb, wall, and scroll paintings-were produced. The course introduces various modes of visual analysis and art-historical contexts. Topics include narrative theory, text-image relationships, elite patronage, and gender representation.

AVC 247 The Art of Zen Buddhism

The art of Zen (Chan) as the unique and unbounded expression of the liberated mind has attracted Westerners since the mid-twentieth century. But what is Zen, its art, and its culture? This course considers the historical development of Zen art and its use in several genres within monastic and lay settings. It also examines the underlying Buddhist concepts of Zen art. The course aims to help students understand the basic teachings of Zen and their expression in architecture, gardens, sculpture, painting, poetry, and calligraphy. Recommended background: AV/AS 243.

AVC 248 The Art of Rock-Cut Architecture in Asia

This course explores the art of early Buddhist rock-cut temples. These temples appeared in India during the third century B.C.E., then spread along the ancient trade routes from India to eastern Asia. The rock caves not only chart artistic development, expressed through breathtaking architecture, sculpture, reliefs, and mural paintings depicting legends and stories, they also reveal the religious practice along the trade route, as well as international and local cultures. Recommended background: AV/AS 243.

AVC 250 Vikings, Vandals, and Visigoths: Art in Early Medieval Europe

This course surveys works of art and architecture produced from ca. 500 to 1100 C.E. and explores significant visual and cultural developments of the early medieval period. Beginning with the dissolution of the Western Roman Empire, students focus on emigration of Germanic tribes into Roman territories and the subsequent periods of Christianization, conflict, and exchange. Attention is paid to the ways medieval art has been used and misused in the modern era: the rise of race studies and “culture history” in the nineteenth century, the Nazis’ use of archaeology as “evidence” for Germany’s Aryan past, and the deployment of medieval symbols by contemporary White Supremacists.

AVC 251 The Age of the Cathedrals

An investigation of medieval architecture from the Early Christian era to the end of the Gothic period in Europe, including Russia and the Byzantine East. Emphasis is placed on the development of Christian architecture and the emergence of the Gothic cathedral in the context of European political and social history before 1500. This course explores historical methodology in the field since 1800.

AVC 252 Art of the Middle Ages

In Europe from the Early Christian era to the end of the Gothic age, from 300 to 1450 C.E., precious objects, manuscripts, wall paintings, and stained glass were produced in great quantities. The course traces the development of these and other media, including tapestry and sculpture. The roles of liturgy, theology, and technological and social changes are stressed. Modes of historical analysis are investigated.

AVC 264 Leonardo and His Heirs: High Renaissance and Mannerism

This course investigates the transformation of art and architecture that began with Leonardo da Vinci and his contemporaries, and remade the visual culture of Italy and northern Europe in the urban and court settings of the sixteenth century. Using traditional and recent modes of analysis to address the effect of religion, gender, and social and political structures on visual culture, students research the works of Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Bronzino, Titian, Anguissola, Palladio, and Holbein, among others. Attention is given to the changing reputations of the artists and their clients over the last five centuries. Not open to students who have received credit for AVC s18.

AVC 265 Florence to Bruges: The Early Renaissance in Europe

This course investigates the art and architecture of Northern and Southern Europe between 1250 and 1450. Students analyze the impact of theology, liturgy, social change, urbanism, gender, and social class on visual culture. Artists considered include Cimabue, Duccio, Giotto, Fra Angelico, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Jan van Eyck, and Rogier van der Weyden.

AVC 271 Italian Baroque Art

A survey of painting, sculpture, and architecture in Italy during the seventeenth century. Artists studied include Caravaggio, the Carracci, Guercino, Bernini, and Borromini. The intent of the course is to locate these artists and their works in the complex contexts (regional, national, global, economic, sociopolitical, spiritual, and cultural) art of which they emerged.

AVC 272 Northern Baroque Art

A survey of painting, landscape design, and architecture in France and the Low Countries during the seventeenth century. Artists and places studied include Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Vaux-le-Vicomte, and Versailles. Recommended background: AVC 271.

AVC 279 Abstract Expressionism

AVC 281 Realism and Impressionism

An intensive investigation of British and French painting from 1850 to 1900. Artists and movements studied include the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Whistler, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Degas, and Renoir. The course concludes with a brief consideration of Post-Impressionism.

AVC 282 Modern European Art

An intensive investigation of European art from 1880 to 1930, with special attention to Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, Cubism, the emergence of abstraction, and Dada and Surrealism. Artists studied include Seurat, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, Munch, Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, and Mondrian.

AVC 283 Contemporary Art

This course examines the aesthetic, conceptual, and theoretical framework of contemporary art. After a brief overview of the precursors to contemporary art practices, students use critical tools to analyze global contemporary art from the 1900s to the present.

AVC 285 Renaissance and Post-Renaissance Gardens and Landscape Architecture

The course examines the development and transformation of a major art form, the landscape garden, from its beginnings in fifteenth-century Italy through its later manifestations in seventeenth-century France and eighteenth-century England. While the garden provides the visual and historical framework for the course, the pervasive theme is humanity’s changing attitudes toward and interpretations of nature and the world.

AVC 287 Gender and Visual Culture

This course concerns gender in the making and viewing of visual culture, with emphasis on the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and the roles of visual culture in the construction of gendered identities. Topics include the use of the visual in artistic, political, and historical representations of gendered people; queer and trans genderings; the visualization of gender in relation to race, ethnicity, nationality, class, age, sex, and sexuality; and matters of censorship, circulation, and resources that affect the cultural production of people oppressed and/or marginalized by sex and/or gender.

AVC 288 Visualizing Race

This course considers visual constructions of race in art and popular culture, with a focus on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. General topics include the role of visual culture in creating and sustaining racial stereotypes, racism, white supremacy, and white-skin privilege; the effects upon cultural producers of their own perceived race in terms of both their opportunities and their products; and the relations of constructions of race to those of gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality.

AVC 295 The Decorated Body

This course analyzes the arts associated with the body, using the body as subject and as lens for theoretical discussions in relation to non-Western and Western cultures. Cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary, with particular attention to the body as gendered and raced, the course addresses the ways that the body has been adorned and manipulated as an artistic medium through practices including painting, scarification, surgical manipulation, tattooing, piercing, branding, and hair adornment.

AVC 299 Gender in African Art

This course examines the complex role of gender in African art and visual culture. Focused topics include gender divisions in artistic production, women in royal traditions, gender restrictions in viewing sacred arts, arts and visual culture celebrating women’s power, performative cross-dressing, gender identities in cultural performance, the personification of spirit spouses, and cis- and transgender expressions in contemporary art.

AVC 309 Advanced Video Production

Continued exploration and practice of video production and its wide possibilities as a tool for contemporary culture production. First, students participate in workshops to deepen their knowledge of theoretical and technical video skills, including advanced video camera work, lighting, sound, and postproduction equipment and software. Then they propose and produce a video project, utilizing all stages of production (preproduction, production, and postproduction) and work with their peers to create their own production crew. Distribution for independent fiction and nonfiction video is discussed, including film festivals, gallery and museum installations, and/or performances. Class screenings and critiques supplement in class demonstrations. Prerequisite(s): AVC 209 or 311.

AVC 311 Animation II: Experimental Methods

A study of analog and digital animation techniques and materials for video. Students work with different drawing and painting materials, cut-outs, cameraless animation, under the camera destructive and constructive animation, objects, rotoscope, and compositing images in Photoshop. Basic sound design for animation are covered, including Foley and voice recording. After experimenting with these techniques, students propose and produce a short animated video. The course emphasizes the intersection among storytelling, content, and the animated image. Distribution for independent animation is discussed, including but not limited to film festivals, gallery/museum installations, and/or performances. Class screenings and critiques supplement in class demonstrations. Prerequisite(s): AVC 209 or 211.

AVC 312 Drawing the Figure

This course emphasizes drawing from the human figure, the development of conceptual drawing attitudes, and drawing as a medium of lyrical expression. Recommended background: previous drawing experience.

AVC 314 Advanced Painting

An opportunity to combine experience from other painting courses with post-1945 painting practices. Students are encouraged to develop individual responses to thematic material. Consideration is given to the interaction of image, process, and meaning. Prerequisite(s): any painting course including AVC 202 or 215.

AVC 315 Studio Pottery

This course explores work generated on the potter’s wheel through making and studying aspects of historic and contemporary pottery. Emphasis is placed on developing utilitarian pots as students examine the processes, methods, and theories of ceramic pottery work, glazing, and firing. There is a laboratory fee. Prerequisite(s): AVC 203, 224, or s21. May be repeated twice for credit.

AVC 316 Printmaking Workshop

Students develop images using printmaking techniques selected from intaglio, relief, and monoprinting methods. Course work includes color printing. Emphasis is placed on development of sustained projects with increasing independence, and critical thinking in an expanding context. There is a laboratory fee. Prerequisite(s): any studio art course. May be repeated twice for credit.

AVC 318 Photography: Perception and Expression

Continued study in film-based or digital photography, offering refinement in technical skills as introduced in AVC 219. The further development of perception and critical analysis of images is emphasized. There is a laboratory fee. Prerequisite(s): AVC 219 or equivalent experience. May be repeated once for credit.

AVC 320 Contemporary Photography: A Body of Work

The medium of photography has undergone immense changes in the recent past. How are photographers responding to those changes and how is that reflected in their work? Students view and discuss the images and methods by various contemporary photographers and within that context generate their own body of work. Students produce an extensive photographic project, engaging with one idea over a sustained period. Individual and group critiques provide frequent opportunities for reflection and feedback, valuable for advancing the work and producing visually and conceptually strong images. This course has a laboratory fee. Prerequisite(s): AVC 219 or equivalent experience. May be repeated once for credit.

AVC 324 Ethnographic Filmmaking: Multimedia Storytelling for Social Change

This course explores documentary and ethnographic filmmaking through hands-on production and engagement with key issues in anthropology. Activities include in-class workshops and field explorations for final ethnographic film or media projects with an emphasis on activist anthropology and field recording. Students learn by doing, using ethnographic methods such as participant-observation, interviewing, data visualization, digital textual analysis, and film/audio/podcast recording. This class includes group activities, reading ethnographies, watching films/media, site visits, and guest tutorials in audio/visual media production. Students apply what they learn in class to document their cultural worlds at Bates and in Maine, taking care to mobilize anthropological tools to “situate” themselves in domains of power while creating media that examines core social issues of our time. The course concludes with presentations of multimedia projects for members of the Bates community.

AVC 344 Building a Studio Practice

Choosing media they would like to investigate closely, students focus on methods and ideas in order to develop their work. Students are encouraged to investigate the possibilities that arise when they choose limitations on subjects, materials, processes, and form, and make a group of closely related works. This course offers an opportunity to maintain a regular, independent, and self-sustaining studio practice for a full semester. Access to some technical facilities may be limited. Prerequisite(s): two studio art courses in any medium. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor.

AVC 345 Trans Studies in the Politics of Visibility

Many people have welcomed the increased visibility of trans and/or gender-nonconforming people as a sign of progress. Yet who is visible, what constitutes visibility, and whom do particular visibilities benefit? This course uses a trans studies framework to consider both the products and the politics of visibility. Topics include the representation of queer gender and trans and/or gender-nonconforming people in contemporary visual culture; critiques of visibility in relation to state surveillance and white supremacy; and the interconnected roles of norms regarding race, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and ability in perceptions and practices of gender normativity and transgression. Recommended background: at least one course with substantial work in gender, queer, or trans studies or the study of visual culture.

AVC 350 Visual Meaning: Process, Material, Format

This course reflects changing concerns in the contemporary art world. Working in various media of their choice alongside each other-for example, photographers next to painters-students address similar thematic material. Topics include the potential of format and material to shape meaning, with emphasis on a process that balances critical thinking with creative generation. This course is recommended for students with a serious commitment to making studio art, especially studio art majors. Prerequisite(s): two or more previous studio art courses. May be repeated once for credit.

AVC 360 Independent Study

AVC 361 Museum Internship

Students who have arranged to participate in an unpaid internship at the Bates College Museum of Art may receive one course credit by taking this course at the same time. Depending on the needs of the museum, internships may involve collections management, exhibition development, education programming, or research. The same arrangement is possible for students who obtain internships at the Portland Museum of Art or summer internships. Students may have internships throughout their college careers, but may receive credit for one semester only.

AVC 365 Special Topics

AVC 366 Drawing the Model/Sustained Study

For a variety of reasons the human body has been and continues to be of great importance in Western art, and sustained study from the model is often central to artists’ training and practices. This seminar focuses exclusively on drawing from the model in three-hour sessions.

AVC 371 Landscape and Power

Now more than ever, nineteenth-century survey campaigns, relics of colonial enterprise, resonate as global practices that share a pictorial language or “style” used to characterize topographical space in ways that combine discourses of science and art, cultural nostalgia and modernity, as well as amateur and official practices. They turn place into property and land into landscape, shaping territorial expansion and legitimizing imperial politics in the name of (proto)national identity. This course considers the transnational and temporal dynamics of survey histories from the “majority world,” addressing the often-neglected narratives of landscape (particularly through photography) beyond the borders of Europe and North America. Prerequisite(s): two courses in the history of art and visual culture.

AVC 373 Art of the Global Middle Ages

This course examines artworks produced by diverse communities in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia from the period ca. 500-1500 C.E. Through case studies of luxury objects, iconic architecture, monuments, and paintings, students explore the ways that artists, patrons, and viewers within Islamic, Jewish, and Christian traditions articulated spiritual and intellectual values and religious and socioeconomic identities. The course focuses on visual and cultural interactions such as commerce, gift exchange, reinterpretation of visual forms, and reuse of significant objects and spaces. Attention is given to scholarly debates on the concept of a “global” Middle Ages and popular (mis)conceptions about the medieval era. Recommended background: at least one course in art history, premodern history, or religious studies.

AVC 374 Methods in the Study of Art and Visual Culture

This course considers the history and methodology of art history and visual culture studies, with an emphasis on recent theoretical strategies for understanding visual culture. Topics discussed include stylistic, iconographic, psychoanalytic, feminist, historicist, queer, antiracist, and postmodern approaches to the study of visual material. Prerequisite(s): two 200- or 300-level courses in the history of art and visual culture.

AVC 377 Seminar in Architectural History

AVC 377A Picturesque Suburbia

AVC 390 Seminar in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Art

AVC 390B Pre-Raphaelitism to Modernism

Through the second half of the nineteenth century, the stated goals of progressive painting evolved away from a commitment to pursue an objective, visual realism and toward artists’ recreation on their canvases of determinedly personal and subjective responses to the material world. This seminar traces that transformation through a focus, though not an exclusive one, on developments in the English art world. Topics and artists covered include Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Whistler, the Arts and Crafts Movement, Post-Impressionism, aestheticism, and symbolism. Prerequisite(s): one course in the history of art and visual culture.

AVC 457A Senior Thesis: Studio Art

Guidance in the development of a body of work in studio art accompanied by a short essay and culminating in an exhibition at the Bates College Museum of Art. Students majoring in art and visual culture in the studio track take 457A in the fall and 458A in the winter and must take these courses consecutively in their senior year. Students undertaking a thesis in studio art meet weekly.

AVC 457B Senior Thesis: History and Criticism

Preparation of an essay in the history or criticism of art and visual culture, conducted under the guidance of a member of the department faculty. Students may conduct a thesis in either fall or winter semester. Students conducting a senior thesis in history and criticism do not meet as a class. Students undertaking a thesis in the fall semester take 457B.

AVC 458A Senior Thesis: Studio Art

Guidance in the development of a body of work in studio art accompanied by a short essay and culminating in an exhibition presented at the Bates College Museum of Art. Students majoring in art and visual culture in the studio track take 457A in the fall and 458A in the winter and must take these courses consecutively in their senior year. Students undertaking a thesis in studio art meet weekly.

AVC 458B Senior Thesis: History and Criticism

Preparation of an essay in the history or criticism of art and visual culture, conducted under the guidance of a member of the department faculty. Students conducting a senior thesis in history and criticism do not meet as a class. Students undertaking a thesis in the winter semester take 458B.

AVC S15 Photographing the Landscape

The course provides a context for studying and analyzing images of the landscape by viewing and discussing historic and contemporary landscape photographs. Questions considered include the role of the sublime in current landscape photography, beauty as a strategy for persuasion, perceptions of “natural” versus “artificial,” and contemporary approaches in trying to affect environmental change. Students explore the depiction of the landscape by producing their own work, using “pinhole,” black-and-white film, or digital photography. There is a laboratory fee. Recommended background: AVC 219.

AVC S20 African Photography

This course examines the photography of the African continent from the mid-nineteenth century to contemporary times. Since its development, photography has served as a powerful medium to document the social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental landscapes of Africa. Indigenous and foreign photographers have focused their lenses and perceptions on the continent from the precolonial through post-independence eras. This course analyzes these photographs and the complex stories they tell, including ones of implicit bias and racism, colonial or nationalist propaganda, as well as the agency portrayed through narratives of daily life, the vibrancy of African photographic studios, and creative expressions by contemporary artists. Theories of photography, race, and gender are central to the course.

AVC S21 Soda Firing

This course focuses on using the potter’s wheel as a tool to generate functional and sculptural forms. Soda-firing glazes work in a unique way that enhances every surface. Various clays, slips, and glazes are employed in exploration of the techniques used by the pioneers of the soda-firing process, as well as its current practitioners. There is a laboratory fee.

AVC S22 Hell and Damnation: Imaging the Afterlife

This course examines works of art produced in Europe from ca. 500 to 1500 C.E. and considers the ways in which the visual arts responded to and helped to shape premodern conceptions of death and the afterlife. How did medieval thinkers and artists envision Heaven, Hell, the Apocalypse, and the Last Judgment? How did visual representations of damnation and salvation change during the medieval period? Students analyze a variety of media (sculpture, paintings, mosaics, tapestries, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, etc.) in order to gain a deeper understanding of the important and complex roles that concepts of judgment, damnation, and salvation played in the daily lives and visual environments of medieval Christians.

AVC S26 Museum Studies

Analyzing how the history and architecture of museums has influenced paradigms of display and taxonomy, and how display and taxonomy have influenced museums and architecture, this course views the past in an attempt to identify characteristics of new museum ideologies of the twenty-first century. Few institutional concepts have the fortitude and resilience to continually defend and renew themselves from external attack and self-referential lethargy. The museum “conquers” by slowly assimilating cultural challenges. In the past hundred years, the museum has met these challenges while increasing its relevance and historical importance despite architectural makeovers, financial scandal, censorship, cultural shifts, and the ever-changing demands of new media. As the work shifts from analog to digital, museums are presenting exhibitions of painting, sculpture, photography, and video to ever-increasing audiences. Field trips are planned.

AVC S29 Modern Vietnamese Culture through Film

Many people conceive of Vietnam through images of war rather than through its culture. This course offers students an opportunity to study modern Vietnamese culture through documentary and feature films produced by westerners and Vietnamese during the last fifty years. The course helps students to gain insight into a traditional culture that, in part, shaped the modern course of Vietnam’s history. The course challenges the old stereotypical views of Vietnam advanced by Hollywood movies with the new cultural images presented through Vietnamese eyes. Not open to students who have received credit for AV/AS 229.

AVC S31 Museum Internship

Students who have arranged to participate in an unpaid internship at the Bates College Museum of Art may receive one Short Term credit by taking this course at the same time. Permission may be given for internships carried out at other institutions, including the Portland Museum of Art, upon petition to the Department of Art and Visual Culture in advance. Students may have internships throughout their college careers, but may receive credit for one Short Term internship only.

AVC S34 Building a Studio Practice

Choosing media they would like to investigate closely, students focus on methods and ideas in order to develop their work. Students are encouraged to investigate the possibilities that arise when they choose limitations on subjects, materials, processes, and form and make a group of closely related works. This course offers an opportunity to try to maintain a regular, independent, and self-sustaining studio practice for five weeks. Access to some technical facilities may be limited. Prerequisite(s): one studio art course in any medium.

AVC S35 Materials and Techniques of Drawing and Painting

Guided individual research in various drawing media including etching as well as consideration of the problems of landscape painting, figure drawing, and similar genres. Each Short Term focuses on one of the above categories. The Short Term registration material includes a description of the particular focus for the Short Term course at hand, including specific prerequisites. This course may be repeated once for credit.

AVC S36 Video Installation

Video installation is an interdisciplinary art form that intersects with architecture, hybrid media, and performance practices. This studio course investigates this evolving art form that extends the conversation of cinema and video art beyond the frame into live, site-specific, and multi-channel environments. Workshops expanding technical and conceptual skills are supported by presentations, screenings, and theoretical readings. Applying their skills and interests, students work on weekly site-specific video installation projects. Prerequisite(s): AVC 209 and 211.

AVC S50 Independent Study

Independent study during the Short Term in the Department of Art and Visual Culture is available only in the history and criticism track of the department. Independent study is not available in studio art during the Short Term. Acceptance of a proposal for independent study is entirely at the discretion of the faculty member. Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study during a Short Term.

FYS 381 Visualizing Identities

This course analyzes the arts associated with the body. The cross-cultural, interdisciplinary seminar addresses the ways that the body has been adorned and manipulated as an artistic medium. Using the body as subject and lens for theoretical discussions, we will examine the arts of body painting, scarification, surgical manipulation, tattooing, piercing and branding, and hair adornment in cross-cultural contexts. Theories of gender, race and subjectivities of the body are central to the course.

FYS 498 Art and Reflection: The Commonplace Book

In the seventeenth century, commonplace books were known as a silva rerum-a forest of things-made by transcribing passages of texts into a personal book, usually with annotations. In this seminar students read, write, collect, and draw. Each student makes a commonplace book of their own by annotating, by hand, a collection of writing. They study anthologies of handwritten illustrated letters, artists’ sketchbooks and diaries, and facsimiles of commonplace books. With its emphasis on sketchbooks, drawing, and handwritten work, this seminar fulfills the drawing prerequisite for courses in studio art.