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Art & Art History Courses

Course information found here includes all permanent offerings and is updated regularly whenever Academic Senate approves changes. For historical information, see the Course Catalogs. For actual course availability in any given term, use Course Search in the Portal.

Art Courses

ART 103. Introduction to Sculpture (1). This studio course introduces the fundamentals of three-dimensional design. It stresses line, plane, and volume and the ways these elements occupy and activate space. Additionally, principles that transform viewers’ interpretations and realize artistic intent are addressed through the use of unifiers, modifiers, symbols, metaphors, and embellishments. This course combines studio projects, class discussions, readings, and slide lectures with group critiques. Art appreciation is also a component of this course. Prerequisite: First-year standing or declared Studio Art or Art History major or minor. (2A) Offered each semester.

ART 115. Introduction to Drawing and Design (1). This studio course introduces the basic concepts, techniques, and processes of design and drawing. Pencil, ink, collage, charcoal, and other media are used to foster a comprehensive understanding of the descriptive, formal, and expressive possibilities of drawing and design. Group and individual critiques. (2A) Offered each semester.

ART 117. Introduction to Digital Photography (1). This studio course introduces the basic techniques, processes, and creative possibilities of digital photography. Students will learn the expressive potential of light, composition, contrast, focus, and perspective. We will examine both the historical and aesthetic issues associated with the practice. Includes studio projects, lectures, assigned readings, class discussions, field trips, and individual and group critiques. Offered each semester. (2A) Prerequisite: continuous access to a digital camera with exposure controls and 5 megapixels.

ART 125. Introduction to New Media (1). This course is designed to investigate the basic techniques, concepts, and practices of digital imaging, as well as to support students’ conceptual development. The application of photographic and graphic-related software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator Creative Suite, are introduced in this course. It is also intended to strengthen critical and research skills through students’ artistic productions. The course includes readings, class discussions, writing, slide presentations, individual projects, and group and individual critiques. (2A)

ART 135. Figure Drawing (1). This course focuses on observational drawing, particularly of the human figure. Working from live models, a diverse range of drawing processes and media are utilized in the development of a figurative vocabulary. Slides, critiques, and discussions center on figurative themes in art. (2A) Offered occasionally.

ART 150. Specialized Media (.25 - 1). A studio course covering the techniques and concepts of media not included in the regular offerings of the art department, such as collage, installation, and performance art. Topics course. Offered occasionally.

ART 200. Etching (1). A studio course that introduces the techniques, history, and concepts of intaglio printing (or etching) as a visual medium of expression. Emphasis is on idea development and visual representation of specific concepts. This course challenges students conceptually, theoretically, and technically through provocative readings, slide talks, class discussions, and individual projects. Instruction includes all aspects of the print studio, health concerns, editioning, and care and presentation of prints. (2A) Normally offered each fall. Prerequisite: Art 103, 115, 135, or Interdisciplinary Studies 140.

ART 201. Screen Printing (1). This course serves as an introduction to the techniques, history, and concepts of screen printing (aka serigraphy) as a visual medium of expression. Class time is devoted to demonstrations of processes, lectures, discussions, critiques, and studio time with instructor feedback. Students learn safety and maintenance procedures of the printmaking studio. Course emphasis is on developing a body of work through critiques and discussions of screen printing in a contemporary art context. Prerequisite: any 100-level studio art course.

ART 202. Relief Printmaking (1). This course serves as an introduction to the techniques, history, and concepts of relief printmaking as a visual medium of expression. Class time is devoted to demonstrations of processes, lectures, discussions, critiques, and studio time with instructor feedback. Students learn safety and maintenance procedures of the printmaking studio. Course emphasis is on developing a body of work through critiques and discussions of relief printmaking in a contemporary art context. Prerequisite: any 100-level studio art course.

ART 205. Introduction to Painting (1). A studio course covering the materials, processes, and procedures of painting with acrylics. Descriptive, formal, decorative, and expressive modes are explored. (2A) Normally offered each semester. Prerequisite: Art 115 or 135.

ART 210. Intermediate Sculpture (1). This studio course emphasizes development of the student’s own artistic voice through the creation of three-dimensional objects. Projects are structured to inspire conceptual development. Students learn to understand and situate their work within the context of contemporary art and theory while also learning about diverse materials and processes including mold-making, woodworking, and metalworking. Emphasis is on safe, efficient, and productive studio practices and tool usage in a working sculpture shop. Includes readings, slide talks, class discussions, writings, and critiques. (2A) Normally offered each fall. Prerequisite: Art 103, 115, or 135.

ART 215. Intermediate Drawing (1). The emphasis of this course is placed squarely upon investigating a variety of drawing approaches, attitudes, processes, and materials. Students are challenged to create a visual vocabulary that explores the expressive, descriptive qualities of line, value, space, and media. We interrogate notions of drawing by confronting idea development, conceptual ways of knowing, and the development of skills and techniques. This is not an independent study course, thus the interaction found in presentations, demonstrations, lectures, and critiques addressing issues of content and structure is vital. (2A) Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite: Art 115 or 135.

ART 230. Intermediate Black and White Photography (1). This studio course challenges students conceptually and technically to develop and express ideas through the photographic medium. Emphasis is upon the techniques, processes, and creative possibilities of black-and-white photography, including alternative darkroom techniques and holga cameras. It also addresses some of the historical and aesthetic issues associated with the practice. Includes lectures, slides, assigned readings, class discussions, individual and group critiques. (2A) Prerequisite: one course chosen from Art 103, 115, 117, 135, or Interdisciplinary Studies 140 and continuous access to a 35mm camera with manually adjustable shutter and aperture.

ART 250. Book Arts (1). This course explores the complex, interdisciplinary processes of bookmaking and bookbinding as an art form. Students learn about visual aspects and processes of book structures and their content. We talk explicitly about the relationships between structure, content, text, and image. Additionally, students are challenged with the processes of bookmaking through their personal exploration of themes. The content of the books may be explored through multiple media such as photography, writing, drawing, and/or collage. We also discuss histories and theories about how information can be structured and the status of the book in contemporary society. Prerequisite: any 100-level studio art course.

ART 270. Topics in New Media (1). Selected topics of focused interest or special interest in the area of new media. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. (2A)

ART 280. Intermediate Topics in Specialized Media (.5, 1). A studio course covering techniques and concepts of media not included in the regular offerings of the art department. Course may include demonstrations, slide lectures, readings, critiques, and independent research. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Prerequisite: one 100-level studio art course.

ART 300. Advanced Topics in Printmaking (1). In this course, students will utilize multiple printmaking processes in developing a body of work that explores the language of print media. Techniques such as relief, silkscreen, and monoprint will be demonstrated. Class will include slides, readings, and discussions of printmaking in relation to contemporary art practice. Students will be expected to provide independent creative direction to class projects and toward the conceptual development of their work. Offered each year. Prerequisite: Art 200 or consent of instructor.

ART 305. Advanced Painting (1). This course places an emphasis on the synergy between individual and group exploration in the student’s media of choice. We identify and investigate the creation of individual expression and the cognitive structure of a visual vocabulary. The course asks students to challenge their perceptions and definitions of art in context of the contemporary art world. This is not an independent study course, thus the verbal and visual dialogue between students and professor is essential. Offered each year. Prerequisite: Art 205.

ART 310. Advanced Topics in Sculpture (1). This studio course builds on conceptual, theoretical, and technical principles covered in Art 210. Students have greater latitude to explore their own concepts and media in individually directed projects through additional projects and exercises and through discussion and written work. This course also includes demonstrations of processes and individual research. Offered each year. Prerequisite: Art 210.

ART 325. Graphic Design: Commercial Exploration and Experimentation (1). This course examines the visual relationship of content, aesthetics, and design for effective two-dimensional advertising and introduces students to the fundamentals and cultural ramifications of graphic design. Students use various programs in the art department computer laboratory as tools in assigned projects; they also research and study the historical/creative process of advertising. Course includes field trips to galleries, graphic design companies, and product manufacturers. (2A) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Art 115.

ART 330. Advanced Topics in Photography (1). This studio course offers a critical understanding of both the technical and aesthetic nature of photography beyond the basics covered in Art 117 and 230. Students will explore their own creative direction in projects and written work with emphasis upon conceptual development. Course includes demonstrations of techniques, slides, readings, individual and group critiques. Prerequisite: Art 230.

ART 380. Advanced Topics in Specialized Media (.5, 1). A studio course covering the advanced techniques and concepts of media not included in the regular offerings of the art department. Course may include demonstrations, slide lectures, readings, critiques, and independent research. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: at least one 200-level studio art course.

ART 384. Senior Seminar in Art 1 (.5). A course concerned with theoretical and practical issues related to the senior art exhibition, including installation practices and publicity. The course also covers career issues such as artist résumés, graduate school portfolio applications, and copyright law. A portion of the course addresses recent developments in art through guest lectures, discussions, and field trips. Offered each fall. Prerequisite: senior standing.

ART 385. Senior Seminar in Art 2 (.5). A course concerned with theoretical and practical issues related to the senior art exhibition, including installation practices and publicity. The course also covers career issues such as artist résumés, graduate school portfolio applications, and copyright law. A portion of the course addresses recent developments in art through guest lectures, discussions, and field trips. Offered each spring. Prerequisite: senior standing.

ART 390. Special Projects (.25 - 1). Individual work outside the scope of the regular course offerings of the art department. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

ART 395. Teaching Assistant (.5). Work with faculty in classroom instruction. Graded credit/no credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

ART 396. Teaching Assistant Research (.5).

Art History Courses

ARTH 120. Art, History, and Culture to 1300 (1). This chronological and thematic survey introduces art and visual culture from prehistoric times to c. 1400 C.E. Works of art and objects of visual culture are considered in depth, with close attention to social and historical contexts and through comparative cultural study. Slide lectures and discussions, extensive readings and field trips to Milwaukee and Chicago. (3B) Offered each fall. Prerequisite: first-year or sophomore standing or consent of instructor

ARTH 125. Art in Europe and the Americas Since 1300 (1). A continuation of Art History 120 focusing on art and architecture from the Renaissance to the present, this course emphasizes social, economic, and historical settings. Course includes slide lectures with discussion and field trips to Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison. The Beloit College Wright Museum of Art is also used as a laboratory for close study of original works of art. (5T) Offered each spring. Prerequisite: first-year or sophomore standing or consent of instructor; Art History 120 recommended.

ARTH 130. Arts of Asia: Survey (1). This course provides a survey of the arts of Asia including India, Korea, China, and Japan. The material is arranged chronologically and covers the periods beginning with the Neolithic period and ending with the present. The course is organized around a series of questions as a way of highlighting the continuities and discontinuities of art produced in Asia. Through a study of the historical and religious contexts of works of architecture, sculpture, and painting, the course attempts to discover the themes that unify the artistic traditions of Asia and those that set them apart and covers topics including the development of images of the Buddha in India, landscape painting in China and Japan, and Japanese woodblock prints. (5T) Offered every year.

ARTH 210. Ancient Greco-Italian Art and Architecture. (1). This course explores the art and architecture of Ancient Greek, Etruscan, and Roman societies. In addition to the study of material remains from the ancient Mediterranean, students also participate in project-based exercises (sculpture, bridge-building, and community exploration), all of which aid in a deeper appreciation of the design and construction of monumental spaces, sculptures, and utilitarian structures. Finally, students are expected to write a research paper on an object of their choosing - ideally an item from the museum collections at Beloit or the Art Institute of Chicago. (2A) (Also listed as Classics 230)

ARTH 211. Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture (1). The principal accent is on the comparative and sequential presentations of the major art styles and stylistic areas of Central and South America before European intervention. The special background of the archaeologist is used to supply chronological control and overview. In particular, the historical sequence of style will be used as an example of the development of locally determined forms as vehicles to convey universally sacred or tabooed themes. (Also listed as Anthropology 256.) Offered even years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Anthropology 110, a previous art history course, or consent of instructor.

ARTH 220. Arts of China (1). This course examines the arts of China from the Neolithic period through the 20th century. Different media are studied in the context of concurrent literature, politics, philosophies, and religions, as well as in the context of China’s engagement with cultures beyond its borders. Broader topics include the artist’s place in society, intellectual theories of the arts, and questions of patronage. No previous exposure to Chinese art or culture is required.

ARTH 231. History of Photography (1). This course addresses the evolution of the photographic image from its introduction in 1839 to the present. Within a loose chronological organization, broader themes and social and historical contexts are emphasized. The course also introduces critical approaches to photographs as art. A substantial portion is devoted to contemporary photographic activity. Field trips supplement regular class meetings. (5T)

ARTH 238. Topics in Greek and Roman Art (1). Study of selected topics in the arts and culture of ancient Greece and Rome c. 800 B.C.E. to 476 C.E. Topics in ancient art might be: representing the body in ancient Greece and Rome; women in ancient art; Augustan Rome. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. (Appropriate topics will be cross-listed with critical identity studies.) Prerequisite: Art History 120 or consent of instructor.

ARTH 240. Art and Revolution: the Nineteenth Century (1). This course offers an introduction to the art and culture of 19th-century Europe and America. Through slide lectures and discussion of key works of art and visual culture, students study a lively, critical period in which the claims and priorities of Modernism emerged. Art historical scholarship, primary-source documents, literary works, and museum field trips aid in understanding such movements as Romanticism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism, among others. Prerequisite: Art History 125 or consent of instructor.

ARTH 245. Modernism and Postmodernism: Art Since 1900 (1). This course offers an introduction to developments in 20th- and 21st-century art. Within a loose chronological organization, broader themes are emphasized, social and historical contexts considered. Slide lectures and discussion are enriched with readings in critical and cultural theory and field trips to area art museums. (5T) Offered each year.

ARTH 250. The Visual Culture of Medieval Europe (1). Is medieval art “art”? Was the visual culture of the Middle Ages somehow fundamentally different from that of other times? How did medieval art work visually and culturally to create meaning? What functions and goals did this creation of meaning serve? Who was the audience for these images and ideas? This course considers these questions, among others, through examination of key moments, objects, and monuments in the visual culture of Europe from the third to the 14th centuries, the so-called medieval millennium.

ARTH 252. Art and Identity: Postcolonial Theory and Contemporary Native American Art (1). This course provides an introduction to a rich but often overlooked body of art being made today by a very diverse group of Native American artists. Drawing upon readings in postcolonial theory, the course considers how identity is inscribed. It also considers how Native artists working today engage multiple histories (Native and non-Native). The rich collections of the Logan Museum of Anthropology are utilized for historical, “artifactual” context, and as a springboard for discussion about representation and the politics of identity. But the primary focus is upon contemporary avant-garde art practices (i.e., artists making paintings, sculpture, videos, and installations, as well as fine art prints—of which the Wright Museum of Art has a growing collection), and thus offers a revealing perspective on some of the artistic and cultural preoccupations (and oversights) of Modernism and Postmodernism. (5T) Offered occasionally. Open to first-year students.

ARTH 255. Contemporary Art in an Age of Global Warming (1). What role, if any, can art play in solving current environmental challenges? Is it ethical for artists to make more objects in a world already littered with too many? What would an art based on a true integration of ecological, aesthetic and ethical consciousness look like? This course explores artist-based perspectives on building a more sustainable future -- exciting territory where the very purpose and practice of art are being redefined. We examine a range of contemporary art practices and pressing environmental concerns. Through historical and contemporary readings and field trips, we consider artists’ initiatives within the context and history of environmental thought and contemporary art theory. Scientific labs and fieldwork allow us to test the viability and ethics of key artworks. Additionally, the Science Center building serves as a case study of green architecture. A strong interest art, art history and/or environmental studies are required. (5T) Prerequisite: sophomore standing

ARTH 285. Topics in the History of Art (1). Selected topics of focused interest or special importance in the history of art. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Offered each year.

ARTH 335. Advanced Topics in the History of Art (1). Selected topics of focused interest or special importance in the history of art. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Offered each year. Prerequisite: junior standing and two 100-level art history courses, or junior standing and one 100-level and one 200-level art history course.

ARTH 337. Art History: Theory and Methods (1). This seminar offers a historiography of the discipline of art history and an introduction to the methods of research used to analyze, interpret, and understand art and visual culture. Class sessions are devoted to the critical analysis of formalist, iconographic, feminist, Marxist, and semiotic approaches, among others. A significant portion of the course is dedicated to current art historical theory and practice. (5T) Offered every year. Prerequisite: junior standing and two 100-level art history courses, or junior standing and one 100-level and one 200-level art history course.

ARTH 390. Special Projects (.25 - 1). Individual work outside the scope of the regular course offerings of the art department. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

ARTH 392. Honors Thesis in Art History (.5, 1). The writing of a substantial paper based on an independent project. Qualified students may apply; departmental faculty will select a limited number of honors candidates each year. Prerequisite: declared art history major, senior standing, and approved departmental honors application, recommendation of the department.

ARTH 395. Teaching Assistant (.5). Graded credit/no credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

ARTH 396. Teaching Assistant Research (.5). Course and curriculum development projects with faculty.

ARTH 397. Research Assistant in Art History (.25 - 1). Assistance to an art history faculty member in scholarly research. Prerequisite: art history major; junior standing; B+ grade point average in art history courses; consent of instructor.