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COURSE NAME: "Special Topics in Studio Art: Beyond the frame - HONORS (This course carries 4 semester hours of credits. A minimum CUM GPA of 3.5 is required)"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: James Gardner
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: M 9:00-11:45 AM
PREREQUISITES: One previous course in a relevant Studio Art field

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of studio arts. Courses are normally topics on an area of current artistic or technical concern led by a specialist in the field.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.


When does a painting become a sculpture? When does video art become installation art? When does the 'viewer' become the 'maker?'

Analyzing contemporary art’s relationship to painting, photography, video, sound, installation and performance, this advanced level course will encourage students to question the limits, edges and visual frames of individual mediums and foster an ability to move fluidly across them within a spatial setting. Building on prior experience of medium specific courses, students will be encouraged to apply an interdisciplinary approach to contemporary art practice, culminating in an enhanced understanding of students individual artistic practice - evidenced through a portfolio of work, exhibition proposal and artists statement. The course will allow students to engage with the Roman contemporary art scene, via visits, workshops and lectures from artists, museum curators and non-profit spaces. Issues such as the expanded field, curation and display, temporal, site-specific and ‘audience’ will be elaborated on through technical demonstrations, theory, studio practice and group critique. Concentrating on the boundaries and spaces between media, the course will encourage students to explore exhibition-making as an integral component of contemporary art practice.


Via a series of exercises, guest lectures, briefs, exhibition visits and self-motivated projects the course intends to facilitate a progressive awareness of a broad range of approaches and stimuli, which transcend a fixed set of materials and conventions.

Moving beyond singular mediums, the course encourages students to develop a personal approach to artistic research and project development.

Projects will encourage students to think spatially, whilst exploring the readymade and handmade, the constructed and found object as well as analogue and digital production. Following an initial stage of theoretical and material introductions, students will engage in projects and briefs which provide a flexible opportunity to explore and interrogate a range fundamental studio, workshop and conceptual skills, whilst harnessing individual artistic agency.

This course is particularly aimed at students who have previously taken Art, Design or Digital Media courses.

  • Demonstrate the ability to engage with increasing independence in the critical, conceptual and imaginative generation, exploration and development of a range of related ideas.

  • Demonstrate increasing autonomy, participation and commitment to sustained independent practice through the production of a range of increasingly resolved artworks to a professional standard for exhibition.

  • Demonstrate an increased sensitivity to interdisciplinary approaches within contemporary art practice.

  • Demonstrate a developing personal artistic vision through the production of artworks and an understanding of exhibition making as an integral part of contemporary art practice.


Attendance and Participation 15
Mid Term Critique of workEvaluation of all work produced in class.30
Final Project Research ProposalA 500-word artist statement, which clearly defines areas of research. This should be accompanied with visual references.15
Final Project ZineStudents must produce an artist book / zine in relation to the workshop in week 10. The publication should document their artistic research related to final major project.10
Final Project Evidence of idea development, which may take the form of your visualizations & thoughts on how you can apply your ideas to the development of your studio work, your research into the series of works you produce, or photographs taken during the process of making the finished works. Consideration will be given to material development and final execution within a spatial setting. 30
HONORS PROJECT Honors students are required to produce an extended portfolio of work, which includes a professionally presented exhibition proposal. Individual guidelines and feedback will be issued to each student. 100

AWork of this quality shows excellent mastery of the course content along with exceptional levels of technical skill, artistic awareness, originality, resourcefulness, commitment, quantity of work and improvement. There has been excellent collaboration and leadership in group projects, and there have been no attendance problems.
BA highly competent level of performance with work that directly addresses the content of the course, with a good quantity of work produced.
CAn acceptable level of performance: the work shows awareness of the course content, but is very limited in quantity, quality, commitment and skill.
DThe student lacks a coherent grasp of the course material and has failed to produce much work.
FNegligent in attendance, academic honesty, engagement with the course content, or production of work.

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of studio arts. Courses are normally topics on an area of current artistic or technical concern led by a specialist in the field.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Week 1
Introduction to project and lecture on the Expanded Field.
Project 1 ‘Beyond the Edge of the Frame.’ Make a painting, drawing, photograph or any other 2D medium that goes around a corner’
Krauss, Rosalind “Sculpture in the Expanded Field” 
October, Vol. 8 (Spring, 1979), pp. 30-44 Harris, Jonathan (ed.) ‘Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Painting: Hybridity, Hegemony, Historicism’. (Page 75-85)

Week 2
Group Project
‘Useful Art: A proposal for an alternative life of an artwork.’
Working in groups, students will create a collaborative proposal and artwork which responds to functionality and art. Students will transform reproductions and physical artworks into new pieces of hybrid art and design. Students will be introduced to methods of collaborative research and material development.
Artist Martino Gamper will discuss his practice and relationship to ‘readymade and handmade.’ With a particular emphasis on his project ‘100 chairs in 100 days.

Week 3
Group Project continued
Editing, selecting and display. Students will be tasked to display their work in a professional manner, within the Art Studios. Consideration of context, spatial dynamics and visual framing documentation will be considered.

Week 4
Explorations of relationships between light, color and object.
Through a series of technical and experimental introductions students will explore the potential these mediums within a spatial environment.

Week 5
Explorations of relationships between photography, video and sound.
Through a series of technical and experimental introductions students will explore the relationship between still and moving image within a spatial environment.

Week 6
Exhibition Visit – MAXXI MUSEUM.
Students will meet curator of MAXXI museum and discuss the role of exhibition making / curation as a creative practice. Students will explore the MAXXI of Contemporary Art. Students will explore how artists have used analogue and digital media within their work.
Brian O’Doherty, 
‘Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space’, University of California Press; 1 edition (2000) (Page 65-86)

Week 7
Mid-term Critique of all work.
These will take the format of ‘a studio visit,’ at Castro Projects in Rome. This will prepare students to discuss their practice within a broader sense and to a public audience. Invited critics from the Contemporary Art scene in Rome will be present to simulate a professional studio crit environment.

Week 8
Artist Jacopo Miliani will discuss his practice with an emphasis on the ‘object’ and ‘performance. Project - Performed object. Students will be tasked to create a 60 second performance inspired by or related to specific objects.

Week 9
Self-Motivated Project
Building on prior projects, and in discussion with the professor, students will be tasked to compose a series of art works, which explore their individual research. Emphasis within the lesson will be placed upon research methods - how to explore aesthetic and conceptual approaches to making.
Allan Kapprow, ‘Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life.’ of California Press (2003) (Page 59-80) Tom Holert ‘Knowledge Beside Itself – Contemporary Art’s Epistemic Politics (2020) (Page 62- 85)

Week 10
Technical Demo - Zines and Artist Publications.
Students will be encouraged to explore various modes of self-publishing, printing and binding as an artistic practice. Students must submit one completed zine as a component of their final project.
Lorenzo Gigiotti, Editor of Nero Magazine and publishing house will discuss the role of the artist book in contemporary art. Emphasis will be placed upon editing, sequencing and layout.

Week 11
Research Presentations
Students will present their project proposals to the class.

Week 12
In studio development.
Via individual tutorials, students will be encouraged to explore their research proposals and develop a sustained body of work.

Week 13
Continued development of project.

Week 14
Display and context.
Students will complete the series of works required for the project and pay consideration to placement and context.

Week 15
Final Critique and Exhibition.