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Final Piece: Your call

October 31, 2016

ARTS 372 Intermediate Sculpture ~ Fire Arts

ARTS 670-02 Advanced Sculpture ~ Fire Arts


Final Piece


Drawings and written statement /description of the problem due: TBA

Pours: See course schedule

This piece is due at our class final

The intermediate level studio courses in our department usually begin with structured assignments  that model the rigor of creating and solving a conceptual problem. I’m sure you’ve gathered this in the first two assignments I’ve given you. By the end of the semester, you need to work on deepening your art practice through finding your own sensibilities and languages. As a means towards this end, it’s useful to learn to pose your own assignments. In so doing, you should confront your own blind spots, your strengths and weaknesses. The next problem will require you to take stock of your imagery, your mindset, your way of being in the world and move things forward in the form of a work of art that addresses the questions you have been investigating. The juicy problems — the ones that take us places we didn’t think we could go, the ones that we don’t know the answers to until we begin — are the most rewarding.

I am placing the book, “Photographer’s Handbook” on reserve in the Ira Latour Resource Library. Although this book is written primarily for photographers, its 307 assignments will be of great assistance to you in modeling how to lay out the beginnings of a problem. Most of them require, imply or emphasize the role of RESEARCH in creating a pathway for your thinking. You won’t have to use an exact assignment from the book, but DO notice how many of these can help you to ask significant questions and go about developing your project.

Look through the assignments in“Photographer’s Handbook”, liberally substituting sculptural solutions for photographic ones. Mainly, you will see that most of the assignments demand a leap of faith — going into unfamiliar thought-territory. You can choose one of these assignments, altered for your purposes, or use the format of research that they propose and write your own. Give credit where credit is due.

Do not spend more than 24 hours to decide the direction for your project!!! The details will come as you start to draw and collect information/research. Do this immediately. On the assigned date, hand in a copy of the description of your approach, a statement of concept, how you will go about researching your ideas and the drawings that you’ve done in preparation for beginning the work. In order to go forward, I require a minimum of 10 pages in your drawing book. The 307 examples should give you an idea as to how you might organize this inquiry! Your piece should pull you out of your comfort zone. If you already know the conclusion, why ask the question?

In addition to the “Photographer’s Handbook”, as a source of inspiration, I am requiring that you read the writing of Rob Walker in the following:

Rob Walker is an author and journalist who has a vast and oblique vision. Read his recent posts in Hypothetical. They stand to invert your thinking. And, isn’t that why you are here? We will meet to discuss your direction(s) by the second week of class.

Below are a few prompts/general topics from which you can feel free to use  but you must still encase these in your personal swarm of questions — i.e., if you are working with a body protection/extension idea, you might ask what it means to be made out of flesh and then research the ensuing fragility that it therefore dictates in our daily lives… and on from there. Your piece can be mixed media. So many options… but remember to think of the bigger questions that you can pose when your push on!

  • Strap on/body piece w/ carrying case
  • Body protection, extension, enhancement
  • A “working” useless machine
  • Useless things and the usefulness of them (!)
  • Obsolescence: what in life that is/will be useless
  • Significant Objects (see author Rob Walker’s writing on this)
  • Soft to hart to soft/hard reversals
  • The humble, everyday object seen with loving attention
  • Addressing the anxiety of decay/impermanence by casting it in metal
  • The fragment
  • 15 weeks in your life
  • two part object studying opposites; twins; tension

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