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Majors and Minors
Faculty and professional interests
Mark Holmes, chair (on leave Fall 2013)
Sculpture, ceramics, drawing
Printmaking, drawing, painting
Printmaking, sculpture, site-specific art
Gregory Gilbert, Director, Program in Art History
Art history, critical theory
Design and new media
Cooperating faculty from other programs
Stephen Fineberg, Classics
The Department of Art and Art History offers majors and minors in both Studio Art and Art History. Each is a rigorous program of study, reflecting the goals and values of liberal arts education. The members of the faculty are a diverse group of practicing artists and intellectuals, committed to representing the complex relationships which link the material and visual aspects of art-making to the full spectrum of experiences and ideas which make us human. Courses emphasize the contextual understanding of art as it shapes and reflects broader cultural realities. Knox art majors benefit from a richly challenging education, preparing them to flourish as thoughtful professionals and participants in visual culture.
The study of art provides a rich and transformative arena to understand and develop creative potential, and for many Knox students, creative work in art is central to their intellectual and personal growth. The goal of the Studio Art curriculum is to develop and activate the material, visual, and intellectual skills that are the foundations of art-making. Courses in drawing, painting, printmaking, design, ceramics, photography, and sculpture provide exposure to the methods, ideas, and visual languages of contemporary idioms and historical traditions of art-making. Through creative exploration and critical analysis, students expand and activate their knowledge. Visits to galleries and museums are part of every course, and allow students to deepen their understanding through first-hand analysis of significant works of art.
Intermediate courses deepen creative investigation of the material and visual aspects of art-making, while also developing critical understandings that will help students access the ideas of historical, modern, and contemporary art. Through intermediate courses, students come to a preliminary sense of their creative direction, and acquire critical and visual tools for self-directed work in upper-level courses. Concurrently, Art History courses consider art within a variety of theoretical, social, political, and philosophical contexts. Through Art History, critical theory, and an emphasis on discourse, students learn to think and communicate about art with clarity. Studio Art students frequently inform their work by drawing on their studies in other disciplines.
Upper level inter-media Studio Art courses provide the creative and intellectual environment necessary for aspiring artists to develop their work through increasing levels of independence. Students working in a variety of media form a challenging and supportive creative community in which to shape and further their artistic direction. Exercises and collaborative projects are used to challenge and/or disrupt creative habits and encourage experimentation outside of a student's area of competence. Class time is devoted to critiques and discussion of student work with two or more studio faculty. Through upper-level study, students begin to integrate the complex web of concepts, personal experience, and visual knowledge into a creative practice that is fully their own. Open Studio is the culminating experience of the Studio Art major, and allows seniors to intensively pursue their work in an immersive and challenging Winter Term in preparation for Senior exhibits.
The Art History program offers a comprehensive range of courses focusing on a variety of stylistic periods and cultures, which includes such multicultural offerings as Native Arts of the Americas. As a means of emphasizing art's interdisciplinary meaning and relevance, the Art History program offers multiple courses cross listed with Classics, American Studies, Latin American Studies and Film Studies. There is a strong emphasis on modern and contemporary art, along with courses on visual culture studies, art historical methodologies and critical theory. Art History majors typically begin their study with introductory survey courses and proceed through more advanced period surveys which examine art in relationship to its intellectual, cultural and social contexts. Art History courses also actively consider artistic practices in relation to issues of psychology, gender, sexuality and racial identity. The major's abilities in independent analysis and research are further developed in special topic seminars and a capstone course in Art History methodology. The Art History program culminates in a senior thesis project, which involves intensive research on a focused and original art historical topic that is formally presented in a senior symposium. Through this training, majors are not only skilled in analyzing and critiquing art historical scholarship, but are fully engaged in developing and presenting their own interpretive ideas.
The Art History program is also dedicated to various mentoring structures for pre-professional development and preparation for applying to graduate programs. Through workshops and special guest lectures, Art History majors are advised on graduate school preparation and careers in art history. For students specifically interested in museum or gallery careers, the program offers training with exhibition projects on campus and also assists students with applying to curatorial internships both nationally and abroad.
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
Departmental Learning Goals
Students completing an Art History major will be able to:
Students completing a Studio Art major should: