Course Lists

Interdisciplinary Sculpture Course List

IS 200 Introduction to Sculpture

Introduces the 3D format and exposes students to an overview of processes, tools, and materials used in sculpture. Students explore the relationship of ideas to materials and construction techniques.

Prerequisite: FF 130 A/B

IS 202 Introduction to Wood

Presents an opportunity to manipulate wood as a sculptural material. Slides, photographs, and books of contemporary wood sculpture are presented and discussed. Exercises in scale drawings and models help to understand and realize projects. Quick fastening and building construction techniques are covered as well as experiments with shaping, laminating, and finishing wood. The goal is to further individual creativity.

Prerequisite: FF 130 A/B

IS 206 Material Transmutation

Uses evolution as a metaphor for a particular process of working through materials. “A periodic table” of elemental techniques particular to each material is discovered/uncovered. Then these techniques are used “molecularly,” in combination to make forms that as the weeks go on become more and more complex. The work is evolved over many generations through the selection and reproduction of “accidents.” Craft, for the purposes of this class, is defined by the ability to reproduce accidents. As the work evolves and fluency is established with the material, intention and accident become confused and it is more difficult to distinguish at any given moment between which aspects of the work are the result of the artist’s hand and which are the way they are due to the qualities/limitations of the ever-changing material.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

IS 207 Projecting Space

This workshop will focus on exploring the projected image and its relationship to the construction of expressive space. Students will create spatial artworks and architectural interventions using the projected and moving image.

Prerequisite: Introductory 3D course (CE 200, CE 201, FB 200, IS 200, or IS 202)

IS 225 Wood Carving as Social Pract

The course will be taught by visiting artist, Senior Lecturer and former Head of the Sculpture Department in the School of Industrial and Fine Arts (CEDAT), Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. Professor Dr. Lilian Nabulime holds a Fine Art PhD (Newcastle University 2007). Her research is on the role of sculptural forms as a communication tool in relation to the lives and experiences of women with HIV/AIDS in Uganda. She uses everyday objects (for example, soap, sieves, cloth, mirror, metal cans, car metal parts, found objects) to embody a specific social agenda that attempts to raise awareness and promote discussion as well as moving the meaning of art beyond the visual.

IS 240 Social Practice Studio

What is now called "social practice" in contemporary art has a long history rooted in the late 1960s, when artists like Allan Kaprow created participatory events called Happenings and Joseph Beuys coined the term "social sculpture." Both were inspired by the utopian desire to blur the boundaries between art and everyday life, as well as the democratic belief that everyone is an artist. As Beuys said, "every sphere of human activity, even peeling a potato, can be a work of art as long as it is a conscious act." These ideas have been elaborated by generations of artists associated with Fluxus, conceptual art, performance, site-specificity, and institutional critique. Since the 1970s, the legacy of social practice has been significantly shaped by the feminist politics of many women artists including Suzanne Lacy, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and Martha Rosler. Reaching beyond the traditional studio production of objects, these artists aspire to transform social relationships, constructing aesthetic experiences and situations that use food, self-organized education, alternative economies, walking, conversation, and other forms of social cooperation as the material of art. This class will introduce students to the theory and practice of socially engaged art through a participatory process of research and co-learning. Working individually or in small groups, students will produce a series of projects that are informed by weekly readings, screenings, discussions, and field trips.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

IS 266 Introduction to Newer Genres

Offers a studio-laboratory environment for transdisciplinary, cross-media experimentations in time-based, performance, relational, video/electronic arts, installation, light/space, and locational/spatial practices. Students are encouraged to develop new methods and sites to realize their ideas and concepts through material, process, form, and technology. Through rigorous critiques, students investigate their artistic intentions and how these are executed through the work to create meaning. The objective of this course is to guide students toward a thorough understanding and articulation of their work within larger cultural, theoretical, and historical contexts. Importance is also placed on developing skills to documenting these genres through photographs, video, and other techniques.

Prerequisite: FF 130A/B and FF 140A/B

IS 272 Intro to Figure Sculpture

An introduction to the fundamentals of making both figures and portrait heads from models. Small quick clay sketches, bas-relief, and plaster waste mold techniques are covered. At the end of each exercise students are encouraged to photograph their work.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

IS 275 Metal Casting/Foundry Process

In this metal casting course we will concentrate on the casting of Aluminum, Bronze, and possibly Iron. We will utilize several different types of processes: rubber molds, ceramic shell molds, resin bonded sand molds, and green sand molds. We will discuss the benefits of each and when it is appropriate to use a particular method over another. Pattern making in wax, wood, and rapid prototypes will be discussed, demonstrated, and used. The history of metal casting as it applies to art and industry will also be discussed, along with various chasing (finishing) techniques and patinas. Material expenses are to be paid by the student and can range anywhere from $150 to several hundred dollars, depending on the nature and scale of the student’s work.

Prerequisite: IS 200

IS 285 Metalworking

Introduces students to various metal working processes and materials where students develop their technique by exploring steel fabrication, welding, and various other hot and cold metal working skills. It is expected that through mastery and the application of these processes as a means to an end, students combine formal and conceptual subject matter to articulate their own artistic direction. For students enrolled in a second or third instance, it is an expansion upon the knowledge and techniques learned during their first completion of the course. Students become an integral part of the studio and are expected to work toward developing a more cohesive body of work through more specific investigation and research.

Prerequisite: IS 200

IS 286 Intro to Biofabrication

In the thousands of years since humans left the stone age, we have developed an astounding collection of skills and technologies for fabrication. Nature, however, has employed billions of years of R&D to develop far more sophisticated means of making things. Biofabrication is the combination of these technologies. In this course, students learn about natural growth systems and explore ways of making, not just from, but with nature. Through visiting scientists, visiting artists, readings, and hands-on experimentation, students gain a scientific understanding of fundamental principles of biological materials. Students use a variety of organisms, such as bacteria and fungi; combine these with different biotechnologies, like genetic modification, and fabrication processes. This allows students to create objects in a range of materials such as bio cement, microbial cellulose nanofibers, fluorescent proteins, or mycelium-based composites. These complex technological practices are driven by artistic sensibilities and put into action through material exploration and studio projects.

Prerequisite: FF 111/112

IS 287 Sustainable & Recyclable Mtrls

The act of consuming is fundamental to living in a culture that thrives on capitalist ideals. In our society, consumer culture has had a negative effect on the natural environment and human well being due to irresponsible design. Eco-logical design can play a part in restoring our interconnectedness with the natural world. The Recyclable and Sustainable Materials workshop will explore materials and methods that promote sustainable and eco-logical solutions in art, design, architecture and fashion. We will examine designers and artists who play an integral role in promoting environmentally conscious products and concepts.

Prerequisite: FF 130A/B Form & Space

IS 308 Installations

Focuses on the multiple histories involved in site-specific works that include architecture, media, and landscape, among others. Consideration is given to aesthetic, political, and poetic concerns that are part of the creation of “place”. Students are encouraged to explore beyond traditional art exhibition sites in order to understand how the content of work cannot be separated from its context. Model making and drawing are used as tools in the development of ideas and processes before full-scale work is created. Students need to be highly motivated and use their initiative in order to work in this context where focus is on creating a spatial experience rather than an individual object.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

IS 316 Baltimore Urban Farming

This course focuses on the artistic, social, political and ecological issues of growing food in the city. Mid-winter seeds are prepared indoors. A seminar on historical and present day issues of food production is conducted to evaluate how this activity has been approached by artists historically and look at the vast amount of new work in this area. This project-based course asks students to respond to the information with either a single or series of projects. With a partnership between 6 and 8 urban farms, students have an opportunity to learn practical gardening skills and each farms unique strengths and challenges.

IS 319 Public Art & Art Intervention

Creative disruption of everyday life is inherent in the exploration of public art and art intervention. The creative process is affected by working outside of the privacy of one’s studio in a social sphere. These issues raise inherent questions: How does the artwork address situations and issues of concern to those who experience it? Does the work encourage wide-ranging conversations and collaborations while taking risks? Is critical reflection a priority? Students have the opportunity to consider this as they develop a series of unrelated works or a body of related ones. Individual interests determine the direction and content of the work. Slide lectures, readings, and class discussions complement individual investigations.

Prerequisite: 3.00 earned credits of 200-level 3D coursework

IS 320 Intro to Digital Fabrication

Digital fabrication is literally reshaping the our world. Digital modes of designing, thinking, and making are embodied the buildings we inhabit, the clothes we wear, the artworks we experience, and even the food we eat. The integration of design software, precision robotics, and innovative systems of making opens up exciting new possibilities for artists and designers. It also introduces fundamental shifts in our ways of making, our economy, and our society. It demands our consideration as citizens and our thoughtful use as makers. In this course, students develop a proficiency in computer aided design (CAD) working in Rhino, and learn to safely and effectively use laser cutters, 3D printers, and the CNC router. Through research, discussion, and practice students learn to think about and through these tools to develop a personal relationship with these technologies in order to integrate them into their practice.

Prerequisite: FF 130A/B and FF 140A/B

IS 326 Conversations as Muse

A guiding spirit or a source of inspiration, often in the form of dialogue, engages one to muse and become absorbed in self- and other-referential thought. In this studio class students work, converse, and imagine with targeted audiences from areas outside the immediate MICA community in a concerted effort to take an active, collaborative, and reciprocal role in community engagement. Students develop ideas for their proposed projects after extensively researching possibilities and conducting self-directed outreach with a given group. Recent projects have worked with the Men’s Center in East Baltimore, the Water Treatment Plant in Baltimore, and Baltimore Act Up. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively with the understanding that their artwork will become a critical voice in the engagement with and empowerment of the public sphere. Projects may take the form of site-specific work in or around the City of Baltimore, community collaborations, performances, tours, or other types of interventions.

Prerequisite: 3.0 credits of 200-level IS course, or Graduate student standing

IS 333 Warped Wood

Students make sculptures that have been conceived to demonstrate permanent bends and controlled Students make sculptures that have been conceived to demonstrate permanent bends and controlled warps through the use of stacked lamination, heat, and steam techniques. They experiment with pressing methods and determine and document the compressibility ratios and stress range of several species of lumber. Students build some equipment needed for the bending process. Lab fee: $75. May not be repeated for credit.

Prerequisite: IS 202

IS 334 Advanced Wood: Primal Instinct

This course features 17th-century woodworking techniques to build sculpture of green wood. Green wood is lumber taken directly from a freshly cut log and is softer and much more pliable than commercially available dried wood. The goal of the course is to expand the possibilities of sculpture making by the direct manipulation of raw material. This study focuses on the primal reality of this raw material and the use of hand tools as a fundamental expressive force for realizing sculptural idea. Basic skills and an understanding of traditional woodworking concepts are developed by first learning to split, shape, and join green wood. This process allows students to work much more quickly and spontaneously than possible with dried lumber. Students make some tools and equipment necessary for the process of green woodworking. Lab fee: $50. May not be repeated for credit.

Prerequisite: IS 202

IS 335 Robotic Arts: Motion & Motors

This class will focus on digital kinetics and smart motor control for robotic art. Using the arduino microcontroller, students will learn how to use servo motors, stepper motors, reversible dc motors, solenoids, and ac motors. In addition to motor control, programming the arduino and the use of sensors will be covered. Students will produce a final project. Studio work will be supplemented by lecture/presentations, video, critiques, and readings.

Prerequisite: IA 277, Permission of Department Chair, or Graduate Standing

IS 345 Sound Installation Art

An introduction to the sonic possibilities of a three dimensional space while also considering sound as an independent sculptural medium. This course addresses the use of sound in a variety of media including photography, drawing, video, performance and sculptural materials. Concepts of interactivity, site specific sound art, networked sound installation and kinetic sound sculpture are also be covered.

Prerequisite: IA 202 or IA 230

IS 346 Grow the Future

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Nearly a half-century since this motto inspired inventors of the personal computer, perhaps the best way to predict the future now is to grow it. Advances in biotechnology are outpacing digital technology as new knowledge and tools open astonishing possibilities. Artists have a vital role to play here; to grow a better future we must first understand emerging technologies and their contexts, imagine possibilities, speculate on their unfolding, and then test our ideas. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, this course combines biotech research, speculative thinking, and creative application to explore how to possibly grow the future. This course participates in the BioDesign Challenge, a competition of top art, design, and research institutions from around the world. The BDC inspires students to imagine innovative applications of emerging biotechnologies. Through informed and creative thinking, small groups of students in this class will research, design, and prototype such a project. The strongest project in the course is chosen to represent MICA at the BioDesign Summit during the summer at the MoMA in NY.

Prerequisite: IS 286

IS 349 Repetition/The Copy/The Clone

The culture of the copy has existed since antiquity. A fascination with the reproduction of a likeness has spurred numerous inventions from casting methods, to the camera and printing press, to 3D scanning and 3D printing to name a few. In this course, students examine a myriad of social implications of reproduction and replication including, originality, mass culture consumerism and the authority of the object. Students are introduced to a variety of processes of mimetic reproduction including traditional mold making techniques, digital printing and 3D scanning.

Prerequisite: IS 200 or permission of the instructor

IS 353

In a digital era where everyone is always connected yet always still processing, how do we learn who we are without becoming compressed into an file? As artists, how do we continue to test the diminishing boundaries between our bodies and a world in which virtuality is ubiquitous and the surreal is increasingly normalized? In navigating our 21st century digital landscape, what part do artists play in reshaping the reality of our world today? This course examines the construction of gender, race, and reality in hopes to find balance between embracing heritage and resisting the restrictive flattening often accompanying identity politics. Students spend the semester demystifying the colonial gaze through examining its counteragents (science fiction, queer theory, and antiracism) and creating work that embraces our ever presence in our virtual world. Together, they unearth, breakdown, and challenge real and imagined systems of power through fearless material inquiries, analytical digesting of films and literature, and generously rigorous peer critiques. Working the time-based mediums such as sound, video, performance, and the internet, students author their own narratives to cultivate the agency to rewrite the code that has brought them to where they are today.

Prerequisite: IS 200 or IS 206

IS 365 Exploited Trad/ Expanded Pract

Using wood as a primary medium this course features skill building and material knowledge. Sculptural idea and conceptual rigor will be generated and informed largely through direct involvement with objects, materials and ways of making. Through an emphasis on the ways in which material relationships and fabrication methods can inform the content of the work. Though grounded in traditional craft, more varied and experimental or irrational relationships will be sought to determine unexpected narratives. Students will be encouraged to find or invent new ways of working or fastening materials and objects. Students will be challenged to discover appropriate means for making any particular expressive arrangement. The safe and proper use of wood shop tools will be a primary feature of this class. Students will increase creative freedom by an expanded knowledge of materials and greater proficiency in the use of hand tools and some power tools; (e.g.. Routers, jig saws, circular saws and some stationary tools.)"

Prerequisite: IS 202

IS 367 Furniture Design

An advanced study of wood working and furniture design with a focus on design aesthetics and craft, students will further develop their woodworking skills creating functional and non-functional art. Structure, surface and form will be emphasized, looking at traditional, contemporary and experimental techniques as well as resultant hybrids. Slide discussions, readings and research augment students’ studio practice as they build a small body of work through predominantly self-directed projects. New techniques in woodworking and finishing will be introduced weekly.

Prerequisite: IS 202

IS 368 Time Based Art: Kinetics

Focuses on sculpture that moves mechanically. Students build objects that move themselves or move by human power. Existing machines will be salvaged, recombined, and re-contextualized. Electric motors and control circuitry will be used. Classical movements such as gears, pulleys, cams, ramps, spiral drives, etc., will be discussed. Performance, installation and interactivity are options for the presentation of moving artworks. Visual impact, physical movement, ergonomics, sound, and safety are criteria for student projects.

Prerequisite: 3 earned credits of 200-level 3D coursework

IS 372 Inter/Adv Figure Sculpture

This course is a direct continuation in the development of figurative modeling using all applied principles from Introduction to Figure Sculpture. Advanced students are encouraged and instructed to model a life-size figure over the entire semester. Options for intermediate students are to focus on two, three and four week lessons of portrait and half life-size figure studies.

Prerequisite: IS 272

IS 374 Expanded Format Sculpture

Allows students to develop work that engages in the temporal, spatial, and contextual parameters of sculpture. Expanding on traditional sculptural practices and embracing new techniques and media, this class builds upon traditional foundations to evolve each student’s independent work into contemporary site specific and site responsive work.

Prerequisite: 3.00 earned credits of 200-level 3D coursework

IS 378 Performance/Action/Event

Locates itself at the intersection of performance and the visual arts, where the boundary between gesture, action, and object is often indistinguishable. Performance emphasizes the body as material and medium, extending the formal boundaries of visual art into time, space, and movement. Performance also relies on the performer/audience relationship. Through a combination of survey, workshops, and projects, students follow the trail of performance art in an effort to develop a visual vocabulary that engages both artist and spectator in the active creation of a work of art. May not be repeated for credit.

Prerequisite: 3.00 earned credits of 200-level 3D coursework

IS 380 Bastardize Machines: A Romance

Develop strategies of relation, liberation, and creation suited for life on a planet circumscribed by and interwoven with computing machines. Students bastardize machines and create machines that bastardize; rejoice in the dubious offspring of the digital and physical. Students hack machines, learn to whisper commands, roam as nomads across all borders, fold the pre-modern into today, write poetry in code, and dance through Cartesian coordinates.

Prerequisite: IS 320

IS 399 Special Topics in Sculpture

The learning objectives of this course are geared toward a specific topic of current interest generally not covered in other courses offered by the department. These courses, typically not offered continuously in the department, provide students and faculty the opportunity to explore new content and course formats. The specific topic is announced in the course schedule.

IS 425 Concrete Culture

The urban environment is a complex blend of structures: physical, political, economic and cultural to name a few. The city’s smells, sounds, textures, and shapes; its development and decay; its architecture, surfaces, and interfaces; its spaces, places, and non-places; its economies and racial divisions all compose a complex text that is read through cultural/historical context, personal experience and materiality. Readings, films, lectures and discussions will augment students’ inquiries into the ways in which the urban fabric becomes site, inspiration and material for individual studio projects that may traverse many genres from site-specific to object-based works. Students will learn technical proficiency in the three major methods of working with concrete but will also be encouraged to alternative materials and methods in producing work in the urban context including examining the methods of the media and consumerist strategies in the urban environment.

Prerequisite: IS 200, or Graduate student standing

IS 435 Urban Resilience

"Public space is always political and strategic." -Krzysztof Wodiczko Increasingly humanity, and especially urban dwellers, is being called upon to forestall and recover from disruptions to built, social and natural systems. Urban resilience, the ability of a city to withstand crisis, is predicated upon adaptability, diversity and self-organization. Increasingly, the arts are looked to as the creative force thru which a city can respond, reshape and create the transformation of space to place rooted in possibility, imagination, critique and change. In this course, students will explore the ways in which an art practice within an urban context enters the discourse of the city, and possibly changes that discourse. Through studio projects, students will explore creating works in the context of Baltimore city that might respond to, or address urban issues such as race relations, shifting economic forces, livability, privilege, power, education, sustainability, poverty, urban planning, architecture, history and access - to name just a few. Methodologies of contextual practice will be explored which might include, urban intervention, new genres in public art, street art, relational esthetics, social practice, institutional critique, culture hacking and tactical urbanism. Students will produce temporary experimental works throughout the semester, as well as a final fully realized work within Baltimore City. Students will also examine the art historical precedence of these practices and the theoretical contexts thru lectures and readings.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 130

IS 440 Reality TV

Reality is in a constant state of contention. Plato maintained that man lived in a world of shadows unable to see the mechanizations from which they emanated. Contemporary theorist Jean Baudrillard has proposed that reality is in a phase of displacement where it is constantly being reconstituted by simulations of what is real. In either case, our concept of reality is in part shaped through media. In this course we will focus on reality(and it’s contrapositive: fantasy, fiction and dreams) and how this has been explored in the traditions of documentary, video art, reality television and the web. Students examine the construction and phenomena of reality, identity and desire in the 21st century specifically related to time-based mediums such as video, sound and the internet. Through readings, lectures, films and discussion students explore the methods of mass media as well as a critique of the media in the development of studio works. Historical and theoretical contexts are examined including the Situationists; pioneers in video work; and the advent of digital and web technologies. Emphasis is placed on video installation, video and digital sculpture and web-based works. Introductory instruction in Final Cut Pro and Flash is included as well as utilizing/exploring web-based media such as YouTube, blogs, etc.

Prerequisite: IS 200 or IS 266

IS 450 Co-Lab

An experimental class bringing students and faculty together around a common research project. The course is informed by other research-based courses, but parallels structures found more commonly in university scientific research labs. The primary direction of the research is determined by the faculty leading the course, and varies each semester. Though this differs from the sort of autonomy typically afforded to students in a studio course, students are empowered as collaborators on a larger research project. Elements of the research are assigned to students individually or in small groups, aligned with the project goals and the students’ particular interests. Students work closely with the faculty leader to build a foundational understanding of the research area, determine research objectives, execute research, document process, integrate findings, and apply this new knowledge. Though closely supported by the faculty leader, students are expected to exercise agency, informed decision-making, and a personal commitment to the collaborative research project.

Prerequisite: IS 320

IS 498 Senior Independent

Students develop a coherent body of work completed during the senior year for final presentation to a jury selected from the sculptural studies faculty. Periodic critiques to discuss progress, content, and process are conducted by faculty and invited critics.

Prerequisite: SS 300

IS 499 Senior Independent II

This course is a continuation of IS 400 leading to the final senior show. Periodic critiques.

Prerequisite: SS 300