Critical Focus on the Visual Arts
Level: Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in fall 2013.
Session: I, June 24-July 12, 2013
Days & Time: Monday-Friday, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM and 2:00-4:00 PM
Instructor(s): Mark Christopher, Anna Hetherington,
Related Courses: Students interested in this course might also be interested in Digital Filmmaking: From Initial Concept to Final Edit, Introduction to Architectural Design and Theory, Painting: The Painted Image, or Photography: The Camera Craft.
"I loved how we were able to cover so many different genres, directors, and the characteristics that made each director distinct. The movies we watched spanned almost 40 years and were extremely engaging in their own way."
- From a 2012 Student Program Evaluation
"I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to learn how to think critically about art."
- Isabel Fattal, 2012
A two-course curricular option that provides a concentrated study of aesthetic concepts for students interested in the visual arts. Both courses meet daily, one in the morning, one in the afternoon.
Exploring Cinema: Directors and Genres
Students explore the feature film as a serious mode of artistic expression through the work of some of cinema’s most accomplished directors and the genres on which they focused. By screening classic films, students compare and contrast artists’ work in terms of cinematic elements (camera, sound, design, editing, and music) and through the lens of each director as auteur. The historical movements that shaped these artists and their favorite genres are examined, giving students an appreciation of the many influences on the evolution of film as art. Each class involves a brief lecture, a screening, and class discussion. Student participation in class discussions is essential, and all assignments are presented orally with students showing film clips (readily available) to support their observations and arguments.
Problems in the History of Art
This course covers selected monuments of painting, sculpture, and architecture as well as basic trends and concepts in the history of art. Students learn about art from both the artist's perspective (focusing on materials and technique) and the art historian's perspective (focusing on issues of patronage, context and interpretation), with both ultimately impacting how we view these objects in the modern world.
The goal of this class is to examine specific objects and encourage students to think about formal analysis—understanding the choices artists make, as well as how these objects reflect upon their specific culture and era. Rather than addressing the subject of art history in the traditional survey fashion, this course will be topic-based, examining how different artists in different cultures and time periods treat various subject matter and media.
Class trips include visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art.
Mark Christopher wrote and directed Miramax's 54, set at New York's Studio 54 and starring Ryan Phillippe, Mike Myers, and Salma Hayek. His IFC film Pizza won a 2006 Independent Spirit Award, and his award-winning short films have screened at all major international film festivals, with Alkali, Iowa being short-listed for the Academy Award. His first television series, Real Life: The Musical, premiered in 2012 on OWN, and he is currently creating a new scripted series, The Echo Parkers. Christopher is an adjunct professor in the Carnegie Mellon M.B.A. film program in Los Angeles, where he also volunteers for Inner City Filmmakers and continues his work as a writer, director, and producer. He received an M.F.A. in film from Columbia's School of the Arts in 1995.
Anna Hetherington holds a Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University and a B.A. in psychology and art history from the University of California, Berkeley. Her focus is the Italian Renaissance, but she has taught in a variety of fields ranging from 20th century American art to German art in the age of the Reformation. She has taught psychology in the Pre-College Academy at the University of California, Berkeley, and worked as a consultant for a contemporary art gallery. She is presently focused on understanding artistic melancholy and its representation by artists such as Bosch, Bruegel, Michelangelo, and Titian.
Specific course information, such as hours and instructors, are subject to change at the discretion of the University.