Art History, Theory and Criticism

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History, Theory and Criticism

Paris is a city of such profound art historical significance and contemporary relevance in all creative fields that one can only envy a young student embarking on their studies here, today. The past, present and the future of art historical inquiry are all embedded in this one place.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Art History, Theory, and Criticism is designed to prepare students to enter graduate level study in art history, theory and criticism, curatorial and museum studies, studio art, and liberal arts disciplines, as well as pursue careers in museums and galleries, private foundations, magazines and publishing companies, arts and other non-profit organizations or governmental agencies.

Interdisciplinary in nature and structure, this BFA conceives of the studio and the classroom as complementary spaces for creative expression, and embraces the interaction of studio practice and academic work while emphasizing the inherent inventiveness of all research in the visual arts. Traditional studies in world art history are complemented by a special focus on modern and contemporary art and on art writing. Studio classes in art and design disciplines spotlight traditional techniques and skills, but are also informed by more current and experimental approaches to a wide range of media.

Students will benefit from the exceptional resources for art historical studies available in Paris museum collections, vast network of art galleries, publishers and research centers further afield in Europe, as well as our established partnerships with local French institutions, such as the Bibliothèque Kandinsky and the Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs as well as the Research Center of the Château de Versailles and the Université de Paris 1 Panthéon – Sorbonne.

Upon completion of this program students will be prepared to enter graduate level study in art history, theory and criticism, curatorial and museum studies, studio art, and liberal arts disciplines, as well as go on to careers in museums and galleries, private foundations, magazines and publishing companies, arts and other non-profit organizations or governmental agencies.

Faculty

kraguly_snezana

Nena Kraguly

Professor - Art History, Theory and Criticism
Barbara Portrait

Barbara Montefalcone

Chair of Liberal Studies

Curriculum

Credits

Foundation

fall

Drawing I

Code
FFND 0176
Description

Drawing–across all first year studio courses and in every progression track at PCA–is considered a fundamental discipline for creative practice. The aim is to give students both a vital course in traditional skills and an introduction to contemporary and emerging approaches to drawing. Included in this class are subject specific workshops such as: digital illustration, gesture/dance, experimental fashion drawing, drawing and film. The purpose of this course is to instill a lively and inspired discipline that students will continue to practice in many forms beyond their foundation year.

Materials and Dimensions I

Code
FFND 0110
Description

This course is an introduction to dimensions in art and design (2D, 3D, Photography and Moving Image) through material processes. Over the course of the semester students rotate for one month through three discipline areas. A common theme links the three courses and projects overlap and develop progressively. All first years take part in a joint critique of their work. Students are taught how to use practical tools and shown methods for handling materials that provide concrete starting points for creative practice. These include, but are not limited to: book-making, basic printmaking, black and white printing, sewing inductions, moving image workshops, and the operation of woodwork machinery.

City as Studio

Code
FFND 0174
Description

Students explore their immediate neighbourhood and the city at large as a site of inspiration. The city and its spaces become an extended classroom. Students respond to a theme designed to encourage interaction and integration with their surroundings and new, unexpected ways of looking at their environment. Site visits, walks, lectures, readings, and practical exercises guide students through different approaches to the creative process with the aim that they develop their own methodologies and engage with the city as potential artists and/or designers.

Introduction to Digital Media I

Code
FFND 0170
Description

This course aims to equip all first year students with the necessary skills and confidence to be able to use digital tools. The curriculum is project-led and structured so that students can apply their growing skill-set to realize their ideas. All projects are contextualized with examples of work by contemporary artists and designers who are working with digital media. Students are introduced to the possibilities for digital tools as part of their creative work.

Personal Project

Code
FFND 0175
Description

All students are given a common theme from which to design and create their own project over the course of the Spring Semester. ‘Personal Project’ is a seminar-led course where students present their ideas and the evolution of their work for critical feedback to their peers. This course is run by Instructors with specialist knowledge in areas of art and/or design and students are allocated a group according to their emerging interests.

Introduction to Art & Design

Code
FHCA 0103
Description

This course introduces students to themes and topics relevant to the production and reception of the art and design disciplines taught at PCA. Using art and design objects located in Parisian collections as the basis for visual, contextual and cultural analysis, students will develop ways of seeing, contextualizing and describing art and design, while tackling a common set of issues, including but not limited to: chronology, style, authorship, form, function, composition, originality, narrative, and the decorative. Students will be guided as to how to conduct research in local collections and libraries and will produce a short contextually-oriented research paper on an art or design object or an artist or designer based on first-hand access to the object, artist, designer and archives.

Critical Thinking & Writing I

Code
FLIB 1011
Description

This year-long course is designed to improve critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Students learn to understand the inherent argument and logic of a text, to think more systematically and critically, and to write more effectively by developing skills in the structure, grammar, and mechanics of writing. Students also work toward the more focused goal of situating design and art practices within larger intellectual, historical and philosophical frameworks by exploring the indissoluble connection between ideas and the products of human culture. This is achieved by introducing students to texts representing and describing various methodologies applicable to art and design, which can then be used to critique and analyze visual and material artifacts.

spring

Drawing II

Code
FFND 0177
Description

Students require the fluency and confidence in the act of drawing developed in Drawing I in order to engage in more ambitious work. ‘Professional’ drawing classes are designed to relate directly to art and design specialisms (Fine Art, Illustration, Fashion, Interior Design, Communication Design and Photography). Students are encouraged to take a self-motivated and questioning approach to drawing; equipped with the basic skills they become increasingly open to experimentation and the potential to communicate in many forms. Through a series of workshops stereotypical ways of thinking and seeing are challenged so that students understand drawing as an activity that continues to be relevant and re-invented.

Materials and Dimensions II

Code
FFND 0111
Description

Building on the practical knowledge acquired in in ‘Materials and Dimensions I’ students develop their ideas with more autonomy whilst being supported by the technical expertise of their instructors. In this course students focus on the relationship between design, process and final outcome in 2-Dimensions. After an introduction to color theory and symbolism, students learn about color through print. Students are taught to question and analyze the image-making process. Through set assignments students explore different media and techniques and learn how to select the most effective methods to communicate their ideas.

Introduction To Digital Media II

Code
FFND 0171
Description

Students develop projects with a growing complexity, employing the computer less as a tool and more as a medium to be manipulated with greater confidence and control. The aim of the course is to create an awareness of the potential for digital techniques to solve visual and communication problems. Advanced skills are taught during the Semester that support and encourage an ambitious approach to the digital field. Students integrate digital and non-digital practice and explore mixing different softwares and media. All projects are contextualized with examples of work by contemporary artists and designers who are working with digital media. By the end of the course all students are confident to use digital tools as part of their creative work.

Personal Project

Code
FFND 0175
Description

All students are given a common theme from which to design and create their own project over the course of the Spring Semester. ‘Personal Project’ is a seminar-led course where students present their ideas and the evolution of their work for critical feedback to their peers. This course is run by Instructors with specialist knowledge in areas of art and/or design and students are allocated a group according to their emerging interests.

Studio Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many course offerings in your department or in other departments with the approval of your department chair.

Artistic Migrations: Paris

Code
FLIB 1104
Description

This course introduces students to the notion of the city as palimpsest and the center of cultural and social exchanges. It will expose them to a selection of writers and artists who have travelled to and from Paris, and help them understand the role played by this city in relation to cultural and political capitals throughout the world. The city itself will be the subject of a visual and intellectual inquiry via themes that focus on Paris as a historically significant urban social, political and cultural center past and present.

Students will learn about key moments in French history, from the Romans on, via the Middle Ages and the Revolution, they will be introduced to such themes as political migrations and colonialism, and will explore the city from a variety of points of views including literary and artistic exchanges, urban history, architecture, and ecology. Active exploration of the environment is strongly encouraged and students are asked to observe and analyze phenomena of the city through site visits, the examination of texts and images, and first-hand encounters with museums, galleries, and libraries, as well as other art and design-related resources in the city.

Critical Thinking & Writing II

Code
FLIB 1012
Description

This year-long course is designed to improve critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Students learn to understand the inherent argument and logic of a text, to think more systematically and critically, and to write more effectively by developing skills in the structure, grammar, and mechanics of writing. Students also work toward the more focused goal of situating design and art practices within larger intellectual, historical and philosophical frameworks by exploring the indissoluble connection between ideas and the products of human culture. This is achieved by introducing students to texts representing and describing various methodologies applicable to art and design, which can then be used to critique and analyze visual and material artifacts.

Sophomore Year

fall

Sophomore Drawing I

Code
FFAR 0207
Description

This course is designed to build on existing technical knowledge and skills, facilitating a more focused approach to the relationship between creative technology and practice. The course seeks to explore drawing within contemporary fine art practice. The workshops will focus on the process of drawing as concept, drawing as subject matter, drawing to create or define context, drawing as source and resource to develop a personal expressive language.
The aims of the course are to extend advanced and technical knowledge, to encourage a broad range of unfamiliar materials, process and to facilitate experimentation. Research methods will be introduced to support your projects and to encourage a critical approach/response to ideas.

Instruction is delivered through studio sessions, site work, teaching events and demonstrations, and coordinates thematically with other coursework in the sophomore year curriculum.

Prerequisites : Foundation Core studios

Studio Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many course offerings in your department or in other departments with the approval of your department chair.

Modernity & Modernisms

Code
FHCA 0221
Description

If modernity can be understood as the distinctive set social, political, economic, and technological conditions that both shape and respond to the needs of a new form of human existence and that begin to emerge in the late 18th century, then modernism can be taken as critical literary, artistic, and architectural responses to those conditions and their consequences. The responses are therefore plural, and as such, we must speak of modernisms, some of which celebrate and make use of the advances offered by modernity, while others call them into question. This course will inquire into the distinctive features that characterize modernity and explore the various aesthetic responses to them in tune with technological advances such as photography and film.

spring

Pop & Around

Code
FHCA 0222
Description

The industrial revolution made new forms of technology and mass communication possible, allowing not only for the mechanical reproduction of the image and its circulation on a large scale, but also new materials, new processes, and new media. These developments have had a decisive impact on visual culture, on aesthetic categories, and on the status of the image. The aesthetic revolution began in Montmartre in the 1880s, reached a climax in SoHo in the 1960s, and continues to shape visual culture and aesthetic debates today. What status does the image have? What is the difference between a Brillo box produced by industrial means and one produced by Andy Warhol? Does a distinction between high art and kitsch still matter in the age of Pop? How have the transformations in visual and material culture affected the productive activity of artists, or conversely, how does artists’ activity take up and critically remark upon these transformations? How has the Pop aesthetic translated and transmuted in contemporary global culture? These are the kinds of questions that this course will explore.

Primitivism Revisted

Code
FHCA 0224
Description

While searching for alternative styles and means of expression, modern artists were attracted to the unusual and exotic. Both pre-historic art, early ancient, and “primitive” art (the traditional indigenous products of Africa, Oceania and North America) penetrated the western artistic world and had a determining impact on the aesthetic of the 20th century. The purpose of the course is to contextualize and analyze art and architecture from these cultures, and to describe their afterlife in modernist production. It will also describe the social changes associated with this attraction to “primitive” art forms. Key aesthetic discourses of the period will be articulated, offering crucial insight into the complex and always changing nexus between culture, politics and representation. The course will include field trips to the antiquities collections at the Louvre, to Musée du Quai Branly, and the Centre Pompidou to examine both primitive and ancient objects and images together. Students will be exposed to art historical and post-colonial critiques of the appropriation of past forms and the complex visual and ideological implications of the wholesale designation of cultures as “other”.

Liberal Studies Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Liberal Studies Program page for more information.

Junior Year

fall

Artists On Art

Code
FHCA 0305
Description

This course will examine how artists from the mid-19th to the early 21st Centuries conceive of and talk about their own artistic practice. While artists’ works are frequently viewed through the lens of art history or criticism, students will consider how artists present, engage with and develop further levels of inquiry into their work. Topics covered will include artists’ published writings, their notebooks, the artist’s statement versus the manifesto, and their teachings. The course will also offer the opportunity to explore the relationships between artistic identity and art work, ranging from analysis of self-portraits to their performance on screen. Students will discover the extent to which artists’ practice depends upon a critical awareness of the cultural, theoretical, and historical matrix in which they operate. Assignments will include research projects on artists and the preparation of a statement that defines the students’ own self-conception of their studio practice or area of study.

Liberal Studies Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Liberal Studies Program page for more information.

spring

Studio Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many course offerings in your department or in other departments with the approval of your department chair.

Art History Electives

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Art History Program page for more information.

Art Criticism Practicum

Code
FLIB 3002
Description

This course promises a hands-on and entirely practical, perhaps even actively enjoyable, exploration of writing about art. Though there will of course be some ‘conceptual underpinning,’ as it were, of the foundations of the trade, from Vasari to Winckelmann, the emphasis will be less on any soi disant theory than on actual zesty practice.
We will be dealing with a wide variety of writing on art, starting from the basic question of the why and wherefore of such work, from the initial inspiration of any aesthetic reaction to the very real issues of publication, participation and payment even.
There will be exercises, games, working trips to exhibitions, visiting expert speakers and varied challenges, all with the aim of not only producing actual texts but more importantly students who understand how and what writing can add to their understanding of art and the symbiotic importance of these two long entwined practices.
Radio, TV, the lecture, the documentary film.

Online publications, blogs and Social Media.

The First Book !

Liberal Studies Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Liberal Studies Program page for more information.

Senior Year

fall

Studio Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many course offerings in your department or in other departments with the approval of your department chair.

Liberal Studies Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Liberal Studies Program page for more information.

spring

Studio Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many course offerings in your department or in other departments with the approval of your department chair.

Art History Electives

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Art History Program page for more information.

Liberal Studies Elective

Description

You may select an elective from the many liberal studies course offerings. Go to the Liberal Studies Program page for more information.

Senior Thesis 1 & 2

Code
FFAR 0405 & FFAR 0406
Description

The Fine Arts Senior Thesis course teaches students to conduct appropriate research that will improve their capacity to express the relationship between that research and their developing studio practice, in order to clearly contextualize their work in relation to a larger art historical, theoretical or technical narrative. In the Fall semester the course offers more workshops, introducing research methods, exploring language and writing through material or visual propositions, using language as a “medium”. During the Spring semester the students will focus on the actual research for and writing of their thesis paper. Developing effective research and writing methods, producing an artist’s manifesto, a statement of intent, an artist’s statement and their final thesis.

Senior studio 1 & 2

Code
FCMD0401
Description

This year long senior studio continues the exploration of topics broached in Collab Studios. Students expand their design methodology through system-level assignments (such as environmental graphics, corporate identity, packaging, distribution tracking or information systems) that push their design thinking skills to new levels. The spring semester is devoted to an industry-sponsored project in the student’s chosen field, with the aim of leading to strong portfolio pieces and job opportunities. Prerequisites: Collab 1 + 2 (FCMD 0300, FCMD 0301). Semester 1 or equivalent are prerequisite for semester 2.

Overall Credits Total
136