Fine Arts 3D Courses

Required Courses

FA3D-601 to -702  Fine Arts 3-D Major Studio I, II, III, and IV  The 3-D Graduate Studio is designed to specifically support students in the development of studio work, leading up to and culminating in the Thesis Exhibition.  First and second year grads from the areas of Ceramics, Fibers, Glass, Metals and Sculpture will meet together for this class, in both Fall and Spring semesters.  This course is a companion to the Graduate Seminar.  There will be particular emphasis on discussions and critique of studio work.  There will be several forms of critique each semester, including those in the graduate studio, individual discussions with faculty and guest critics. Each semester there will be a final Review Board. In the fourth semester, there will be a Thesis Review following a Thesis Talk, which is attended by faculty, Graduate Students, Deans and invited Guest Critics. The program requires a successful completion of all Review Boards, and the Thesis Talk and Thesis Review. Full participation is required in all class discussions and critiques. Formerly FA3D-501, -502, -503, -504.

GRAD-601 and 602 Graduate Seminar I and II This required two-semester course brings together students from all of the fine arts graduate departments to consider contemporary art practice from a variety of perspectives. Students interact with assorted practitioners including critics, curators and artists, and discuss the relationship between visual practice and theory. The class provides the opportunity for discussions of contemporary issues that have a discernible impact on the art world. Many of the artists and topics discussed possess an interdisciplinary relevance, affecting artists from assorted fields. Formerly GRAD-501 and -502.

HART-680 Graduate Contemporary Art  Students explore issues of theory, interpretation and criticism of contemporary art, focusing on developments since 1980. Extensive out-of-class readings and subsequent in-class discussions and group presentations provide an in-depth grounding in a wide range of critical perspectives. Previous study of major developments in 20th century art is expected of students taking this course. This required course is given in the fall. Formerly HART-585.


MassArt graduate students may choose to register for MassArt graduate-only courses or mixed courses (by permission) composed of graduate and undergraduate students (see undergraduate catalog), or they may cross-register for graduate-level courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology or University of Massachusetts Boston. Graduate students may also develop their own syllabus for an independent study with a faculty member or other approved person.

Following is a list of graduate electives offered at MassArt in recent semesters.    

2DPM-524 Printmaking Portfolio This is an advanced printmaking course that enables students to explore image /concept development through a variety of printmaking processes and printing techniques. Students will propose, plan, execute and present a portfolio of a series of prints that are linked by a conceptual thread based on a major theme, which may include a written text. Experimentation through practice with intaglio/etching, silkscreen, plastic plate lithography, computer generated photo processes and printing techniques will guide students through a range of image possibilities. Concepts will be presented and assessed individually and as a group. In addition, students will document the process and outcomes photographically and create a digital portfolio presentation. Experience with printmaking is helpful but not required.  

2DPA-555 Painted Object This course will investigate the intersection of painting and sculpture through a series of interactions. Working initially from two-dimensional materials that are physically and coloristically altered, students progress to objects that fully incorporate color. This course recognizes 2013 exhibitions devoted to recent developments in this field including Paint Things at the DeCordova Museum and Expanding the Field of Painting at the ICA. This class is open to undergraduate and graduate students by permission of the instructor.  

2DPM-610 Handmade Paper, Book and Object Paper as a medium serves as the focus of this course. Assorted handmade paper, artists' books, and paper objects will be studied and created.  Students will learn how to make Western-style paper using natural fibers and inclusions. Japanese stab, accordion, and pamphlet stylebooks will be made using handmade papers.  In addition, paper objects, including, structures and vessels, will be created. Some projects will explore paper's distinctive properties, through the use of handmade, archival fine arts, and repurposed paper. The context of this course will acknowledge the diverse historical and cultural impact of artist books and paper objects. Artists, both traditional and contemporary, will be studied, including many in MassArt's extensive collection.  

AETE-524 Studio Teaching in College Settings This course is an intensive, condensed examination of teaching, from a wide range of perspectives, directed to the MFA artist who finds him/herself with the opportunity to teach in an art/design context. Through discussions, demonstrations, presentations, hands-on experiences, classroom critique, research, readings, and writing, we will explore the ways an Artist/Educator can create a natural and critical learning environment.  

AETE 527 Principles of Pedagogy for the Studio Art Educator Either by accident or design, at some point during their post-graduate school professional lives many artists find themselves engaged in rewarding work as educators. Whether one views the prospects of teaching as an exciting new career track-or a more meaningful alternative to waiting tables-it is important for an educator in the arts to balance his/her studio practice with a deep understanding of the structures that support effective arts teaching and learning. Principles of Pedagogy for the Studio Art Educator is designed to equip MassArt MFA students with the tools and techniques they will need to design and facilitate productive learning experiences for a variety of students-in a variety of settings. Through hands-on workshop activities, classroom discussions, site visits, and interactions with guest arts educators, students in this course will grapple with the primary "principles of pedagogy" of teaching and learning in the arts. The final outcome of students' work in this course will be (a) a carefully considered teaching philosophy, (b) a curricular outline specifically designed to suit the arts learning environment of each student's choice, and (c) the foundational elements of a multi-purpose teaching portfolio. While the ultimate goal of this course is to provide students with the practical skills they will need to succeed as educators in the arts, the content of this course also promises to bring new dimensionality to students' work as professional artists.   

AETE-534 Teaching on the College Level This course is an intensive, condensed examination of teaching from a wide range of perspectives, directed to the MFA artist who finds him/herself with the opportunity to teach in an art/design context. Through discussions, presentations, hands-on experiences, classroom critique, research, readings, writing, guest speakers and class trips, we will explore the ways an Artist/Educator can create a natural and critical learning environment.   

AETE-627 Contemporary Pedagogy This is a graduate level course designed to provide the theoretical context and practical application of sound and meaningful pedagogy in the visual arts.  Students will be introduced to educational theory and contemporary models of instruction, and will be expected to critically deconstruct and apply this content to their own formative pedagogy.  Projects will be individually designed to meet individual student goals.  Upon successful completion of the course, students will craft a teaching philosophy and a syllabus for a context of their choice.  Course content will be enriched by guest lecturers as well as a collaborative project with the ICA, Boston in association with the exhibition Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College, 1933-1957.   

EDAD-504 Light as a Sculptural Element This course introduces students across departments interested in light to the practice of lighting design and augmentation for both buildings and site-specific installation art, with an emphasis on issues of social and community impact and considerations. Design and construction contracts, fiduciary responsibilities, regulations and codes governing design and construction, ethics, sustainability and environmental issues and requirements are covered. Some field trips to professional companies such as Color Kinetics and downtown sites are included. Students also complete lighting assignments in relation to their own art making practices as well as an off-campus group project.  

EDAD-561 Form, Material and Place This course introduces students to concepts related to the nature of materials and design principles that guide the development of habitable form. Three dimensional craft skills, studio practice, and idea development through form making is the framework through which we evaluate and advance projects. Students gain experience with assembly techniques, hand and power tools as well as best practices in a studio setting. In addition, students research artists and designers in related fields as a way to expand their understanding of the meanings informs, material behavior and the historical/social relevance to the work completed in class. Students work with wood, plaster and paper.  

GRAD-503 Artist's Professional Practice: History and Practicum This course explores the relationship between art and commerce and the overlapping spheres of the "art world," exploring how the artist situates their practice in relation to these spheres.   How does an art-maker become a professional artist? Using a framework of readings about historic and contemporary studio and professional practice combined with practicum, this course develops competency in managing time and finance necessary to sustain a professional art practice, recognition and understanding of the overlapping spheres of the "art world" and how to present work in those different contexts, and strategies for establishing and sustaining professional relationships  

GRAD-504 Curatorial Practice This course examines curatorial practice as an artistic, social, and critical pursuit, looking at the expanding role of the curator as well as the expanding definition of the exhibition, and engaging in critical dialogue and assessment of exhibition development in the context of today's broader cultural, social, and political conversations. A laboratory for critical thinking about the history, process and working methods of contemporary exhibition making is fueled by diverse and rigorous reading, practical discussion, constructive critique of current exhibitions, and guest speakers from a variety of arts institutions.  Students gain hands-on experience in all aspects of the art presentation process, collectively planning and executing a public exhibition from the initial conceptual framework to the studio visit, wall label, press release, installation and catalogue content and design.  

GRAD-505 Artist as Curator/Curator as Artist This course addresses contemporary curatorial strategies and the history of exhibition-making through readings, conversations, and practical exercises.  Learn to develop an exhibition, turn a concept into a project, and effectively communicate ideas.  The course will allow students to explore a variety of methods of exhibition presentation and provide them with practical, behind-the-scenes insight into the way curators approach exhibition development, from the studio visit to the wall label, from the press release to institutional collecting strategies, and from installation design to catalog design. It will also provide hands-on experience in all aspects of the art presentation process as students will collectively plan and execute an exhibition in a public Boston-area venue.  

GRAD-525 Public Space This interdisciplinary course explores the social role of art and design, examines new forms and strategies of spatial art, and provides an opportunity to produce work in the public space and interest. In addition, this course introduces a number of related art practices and discourses, such as intervention art, social sculpture, relational aesthetics, creative economy, site-specificity, psychogeography, locational identity, and the everyday. This course employs creative research practice, a site-responsive approach, an iterative design process, and mapping. Each individual is expected to research, develop, propose and install a project in the public realm; and is required to participate in presentations, discussions, critiques, readings, writings, excursions, and engagements with the public.  

GRAD-621 Drawing in the Third Dimension Drawing has emerged as a new force in the contemporary art world.  It has begun to take on new status as artists now use drawing as their primary medium as opposed to the more traditional approach:  that of drawing as a preliminary step toward a more finished work.  Painters, sculptors and architects alike are moving into new explorations where the drawing is the final act of their particular chosen project. Likewise, with this new approach, comes the exploration into new mediums that are stretching the traditional boundaries of what constitutes a drawing.  Three dimensional works are beginning to emerge as well. This class will be concerned with exploring these new strategies with exercises in drawing that reach beyond the expected two dimensional surface into a more fully realized three dimensional realm.  

GRAD-623 How and Why Exhibitions Are Made This course will examine the practice of organizing exhibitions and the ever-changing role of the curator as organizer, impresario, artist, therapist, director, fundraiser, and gofer. Through the process of conceiving, planning, and organizing a theoretical (although feasible) exhibition, students will learn the steps and history of exhibition-making within the context of 20th frameworks. Through readings and intensive class discussion, the course will analyze the challenges and politics inherent to the display and interpretation of artwork for a public. Topics to be covered will include the growing role of artists as curators of their own or others' works; socially-engaged art practices within the institution; and alternative exhibition formats from pop-up galleries to digital exhibitions.  

GRAD-624 Handmade Paper Handmade paper is used in studio and teaching practices across many disciplines, including fibers, painting, printmaking, photography, artist's books and illustration. The class will begin with the study of traditional and contemporary artists throughout the world who create handmade paper. Because the course speaks to the 'holistic' nature of paper, students will then learn how to make their own paper pulp, using common natural fibers, with or without traditional papermaking equipment. Ultimately, students will produce of body of work in their preferred media using their handmade papers.  

GRAD-625 The Artist Lecture This course structures a series of interactions that ask students to contextualize themselves with respect to history and current trends in art practice. This includes reading, viewing, and discussing the written and visual work of contemporary artists. The presentation of these works is foremost in our consideration. The culminating project for this class is the creation and presentation of an artist lecture by each student in the class using Powerpoint or other presentation software. These lectures will be advertised to the MassArt community to provide a larger audience for the presentation of each student's work. This ongoing project is the major requirement for this class. This class intends to complement the more studio-based courses that comprise the majority of the MFA Program curriculum. In addition, it attempts to use the cultural institutions of Boston as a site for many of the class' interactions.  

GRAD-626 Bio-Aesthetics: Evolutionary Biology and Creativity in Nature and Humans This course explores aesthetics in nature and the evolutionary processes of sensory drive and natural and sexual selection. The course will critically examine both anthropocentric and biological schemes on the aesthetic diversity of nature and the creative agency of non-human  organisms.  The course evaluates and challenges historical, contemporary and emerging perspectives on what art is and who/what can create it.  Through a combination of discussion, guest lectures and collaborative projects students will explore various topics focused around the biological and evolutionary bases of creativity, art and design.  

GRAD-627 Human Codes and Cultural Maps With the ability to learn about our history through a scientific test, we now can understand our physical selves in a new historical context. This course will use the tool of DNA testing as a way of understanding our cultural, experiential and aspirational selves as artists. Students will be invited to have their DNA mapped and that data will be the vantage point from which a body of work will be produced. If a student chooses not to have a DNA test, research and work will focus on "cultural DNA" and personal narratives. Studio topics encourage cultural, ancestral and biological research. Students survey diverse interdisciplinary studio traditions, and investigate ancient and contemporary creative practices and cultural artifacts. Sharon Dunn is an artist and educator whose work has focused on her own cultural DNA for over 30 years. She will share her work and her family's contribution to the cultural fabric of the United States over three generations as an example for students as they discover their own historic context.  Students from all disciplines are encouraged to enroll in this studio course.   

GRAD-656 Aftermath: Performance Resulting in Installation This course provides a critical and specific focus upon the complex relationship of performance to installation art, sharing a genealogy, as they do, in early conceptual and post-object art. Aftermath: Performance Resulting in Installation centers on the installation 'aftermath' of performance, or conversely, performance as a strategy for creating material environments - the interrelation and bleeding back and forth of active models of performance and its post-life.  

GRAD-658 Grad Interdisciplinary Studio This will be an interdisciplinary studio course in which students can work on, discuss and critique their work. It will include discussions and presentations related to the contemporary art context with a particular focus on topics and techniques related to the Internet.  

MPPH-512 Advanced Digital Printing This course is designed to develop a comprehensive understanding of the current digital tools available to photographers. While studying these tools in detail, we will also step back and look at the themes of digital photography, trying to unpack how technology shapes picture making. We will focus on refining the skills used for inkjet printing, with an emphasis on color management, camera raw and large format scanning. We will also look at the myriad of forms digital images take and discuss how the perception and understanding of photography changes when images flow among walls, screens, phones and books. For this class you will learn advanced techniques that will enable you to better execute the ideas and aesthetics you pursue this semester. The emphasis will be on your production of new images - more proficiently using digital tools, more cognizant of your technique.  

MPSM-670 Performance Studies This course functions as an investigation of performativity as a practical, conceptual and theoretical strategy within contemporary art practices. Performativity in contemporary practice may be related to considering how marks and images are produced in drawing, printmaking or painting, generating content for the production of video or photography, the interrelation of active models of mediated performance and its ongoing life as video, web based, multimedia or photographic document, performative strategies for creation of material environments that form the public interface with sculptures, installations, applications, websites, interventions, directly engaging in public or private actions and social and research based practices. Students will explore the use of performative strategies as both a tool and a product.