sculpture senior seminar

This core seminar provides grounding in concepts, histories, practices, and potentialities of the field as reflected in the department’s four curricular themes (Permanence and Ephemerality, Public Practice, Space and Place, and Systems). It is designed to help students develop their reading, interpretation and writing skills in direct relationship to their own work and with purpose of nurturing the artist’s ability to position their work to the evolving field of contemporary art. 


structure & logic of the course

Assigned readings are organized according to following inquiries: where we are (in the social, art and historical present)? who are we as artists, intellectuals and citizens? what can we do to push cultural parameters for future practice?  These inquires are explored through spatial studies, art criticism, thing theory and public practice.  The course is augmented by the Visiting Artist + Sculpture Dialogues program.


The seminar has a weekly course load of 30-40 pgs of reading per week.  Students are expected to complete all assigned readings, submit 2 writing assignments, present 2 presentations and 1 artwork distribution project due for group critique. Verbal participation during reading discussions, critiques, and visiting artist presentations is an absolute requirement.  At the conclusion of the course, distribution project documentation are due by email, saved as 2016_4145_last name.

rules & rituals

Class has a true start of 1:05PM.  We discuss readings for 1.5 hours with a 15 minute break between readings, followed by critique exercises and visiting artists.

This is a face to face encounter with your peers, NO cellular phones.

3 Absences without notice will result in an automatic non credit.  Last date for withdrawal is MARCH 30th.


reading topics

1. Power & Play (Nato Thompson & Roger Caillois)

2. Space & Place (Foucault & J.B. Jackson)

3. Intellectual & Trickster (Eagleton & Hyde)

4. Death & Desire (Krauss & Foster)

5. Magic, Mimicry & Things (Brown, Benjamin & Kubler)

6. Artistic Practice (Ostrow & Helguera)



WEEK 2 - 7 min artist presentation introducing artistic influences to the class.  

WEEK 6 - Artwork DUE for group critique

WEEK 7 - Artwork DUE for group critique

WEEK 8 -  4-5 page research paper on artistic strategies of circulation & distribution.  Students will select one model to critique, analyze and further develop into a proposal for their own method of distribution with a specific work.

WEEK 12 - 1pg artist statement DUE in print.

WEEK 13 - Artwork & Circulation project due in class critique

WEEK 14 - Artwork & Circulation project due in class critique

WEEK 15 - 12 min presentation DUE in class.




Presentation of syllabus and course requirements. Students will present an 7 minute presentation of their artistic influences.

CLASS 2: Power & play

[Systems & Practice]
Readings due on Nato Thompson’s Seeing Power in Spaces (19pgs), Roger Caillois’ The Definition of Play from Men, Play and Games (7pgs) and Heather Hart’s Artist Statement.  Discussion on regression, transgression and subversion. Critique exercise on HH’s Western Oracle Project.  



[Space & Practice] Readings due on Michel Foucault’s Different Spaces (11pgs), J.B. Jackson’s Landscape as Theater (9pgs) and Marie Lorenz’s Statement.  Discussion on landscape, heterotopia, and drift.  Critique exercise on ML’s Capsize & Drift Boat. 

CLASS 4: on practice & circulation

[Public Practice]  Readings due for class discussion on Doug Ashford’s Who Cares (17pgs) and Jan Verwoert’s Exhaustion and Exuberance (18pgs). Class discussion on artistic methods of distribution with slide lecture presentation. Guidelines to 4-5pg research paper connecting and analyzing different models of artistic circulation and distribution into a proposal for one’s own work. 

CLASS 5: project practice: process & procedure 

AM Slide Lecture on process and duration. Assignment on conceptualizing material in time; explore idea in past, present and future forms of exploration.

PM Work day with individual advising.


CLASS 6: group critique - 40min

AM & PM BASESPACE: 6 studies and models due for critique.


CLASS 7: group critique - 40min

Course progress reports due.

CLASS 8: intellectual & the trickster

[Systems]  Readings due for class discussion on Terry Eagleton’s After Theory, Losses and Gains (28pgs) and Lewis Hyde’s Introduction to Trickster Makes This World (11pgs).  Class discussion on society that wasn’t. 4-5pg Papers due in print. 

CLASS 9: on death & desire

[Systems]  Readings due on Rosalind Krauss’ Carnal Knowledge (7pgs) and Hal Foster’s Return to the Real (40pgs).  Class discussion on the body, abjection and the symbolic crisis. Critique exercise on Liz Magic Laser’s The Thought Leader, 2015. 


CLASS 10: critical practice

[Public Practice] Readings due on Saul Ostrow’s Critical Practices and Pablo Helguera’s Manual of Contemporary Art Style.  Round table discussion on critical & artistic strategies. Writing workshop on artist statements. 


CLASS 11: magic of mimesis & the social imagination of things

[Systems]  Readings due for class discussion on Walter Benjamin’s On the Mimetic Faculty (4pgs), on George Kubler’s The Propagation of Things (14pgs) & Bill Brown’s Thing Theory (23pgs).  Class discussion on convention/invention, social imaginary, fetish and mimesis.  1pg Artist Statement DUE in print. Edited papers will be returned with guidelines for their upcoming lecture on circulation/distribution and proposal for new work. 



CLASS 14: propositions in practice

Presentation DUE: Students will present a 10-12 min lecture based on their research analyzing different cultural forms of distribution and a critical model of circulation for their work.  Students will link historical models to their own artistic statement and locate their work in contemporary art. 

© 2017 LAN TUAZON.