Week 1

Monday January 10:

Course Information: SART 2800

Welcome back to school everyone, I’m very happy to have a way to come together to learn about contemporary experimental art practices. During the pandemic, we will engage in weekly exercises, demos, readings and videos to learn some of the historic, theoretical, and technical aspects of working in experimental media forms.

Our virtual course will emphasize ideas, research, regular exercises and practices, as opposed to more developed and resolved artworks.

Students will perform and create studio exercises at home and in the world – within strict adherence to public health guidelines at all times – using materials and situations at hand. Together we will practice being resourceful and creative within the limits of any given situation. We will explore how to be an artist now – using aspects of performance, snapshot photography, video, audio, and artist multiples – in this unique and challenging historical moment.

Every week we will have Monday class meetings – and then you will do the week’s homework (things to read, write and create) posted under Weekly Assignments.

All work is due for the following Tuesday class. If you are finished your work many of you will have an opportunity to share and get feedback. You will need approximately 4-6 hours to complete your work for this course every week in addition to class meeting time.

Schedule your work and you will be able to keep up with your assignments!

All your notes, images and videos must be on the class BLOG – under your name. ONLY edit your own page – do not edit anything else on the blog. I will periodically read and evaluate your work on the BLOG and we will occasionally look at examples of works by students together in our class HUDDLE.

See course information, and evaluation for details.

See tentative schedule for deadlines and in-class activities:

Wednesday January 12:

1. Lecture: Intro to Key Figures in Western Conceptual Art

In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work.  When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art. This kind of art is not theoretical or illustrative of theories; it is intuitive, it is involved with all types of mental processes and it is purposeless. It is usually free from the dependence on the skill of the artist as a craftsman.” SL from Paragraphs on Conceptual Art.

“Incomplete Open Cubes demonstrates an artistic technique integral to the art of the 1960s: seriality. Generally speaking, serial art is generated through the application of premeditated rules or plans. In this case, LeWitt systematically explored the 122 ways of “not making a cube, all the ways of the cube not being complete,” per the artist. LeWitt might have taken all the necessary steps to realize each of the 122 solutions to his query, as seen here, but the work can hardly be understood as finished in the conventional sense. It would be more precise to say, according to LeWitt, that  Incomplete Open Cubes “[runs] its course,” ending abruptly. Moreover, to the extent that the cubes frame and, by extension, incorporate elements from the surrounding space, they muddy the boundary between art and world.” From the Met Museum

WRITE NOTES: What does Sol Lewitt mean when he says that “the idea becomes the machine that makes the art” in his work? What does the artist’s actual hand have to do with the final work in a conceptual art context?


WRITE NOTES: Where do you draw the boundaries around the artworks in this video? What are the artworks? What strategies and tools does Ono use to challenge the viewer? Do you like any of these concept-works? Discuss.


This ART 21 video is very useful:


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is nauman_walking-469x352-1.jpg
Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square
Bruce Nauman
(American, born 1941)
1968. 16mm film transferred to video (black and white, silent), 10 min.
Bruce Nauman, Thank You, 1992

WRITE NOTES: Describe two works by Bruce Nauman (include images) where he frames every day actions (non-heroic, banal) as art. How are they “framed” as art, and what does the framing do to our understanding and experience of the actions?


A kilometre is a concept. Make a kilometre in any medium – photo, video, found object, text etc.

Post documentation of your kilometre, and a description of your work on your blog page.

It could be a walk down the street, a path down an intestine, a line going up into the air, a kilometre’s worth of rocks. It can be a kilometre made of chewing gum. Made of telephone conversations. Made of complaints. Made of a walk with a cat.  Made with light. It can be a distance between two points. It can be imagined, traced, documented, listed, performed, evidenced on the bottom of your shoe, rolled up into a ball.

Make sure to make precisely a kilometre, be prepared to prove it!

Make sure not to decorate or draw all over your kilometre – just give us what is essential. Make sure not to decorate or draw all over your kilometre – just give us what is essential. It may or may not be art. Be ready to discuss it.

Summary of WEEK 1 work due on the blog on MONDAY:

  1. Notes on Conceptual Art icons
  2. Kilomtre assignment, documentation and description

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