ARTDES 109 - Sculpture non-Majors
Section: 001
Term: WN 2010
Subject: Art and Design (ARTDES)
Department: School of Art and Design
3 (Non-LSA credit).
Requirements & Distribution:
Other Course Info:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Smith,Joshua R

To carve, To model, To cast, and To construct...
These are four methods that activate the idea of sculpture.

binding, ripping, adhering, cutting, stacking, bending, extending, integrating, sequencing, welding, assembling, recycling, re-using, folding, smearing, weaving, forging, fabricating, manipulating, appropriating, contextualizing, and layering... Are also some of the methods that continue the process of making
, thinking and seeing.

This is an introductory sculpture course, introducing you to some foundational principles and communicative possibilities of materials and physical forms. The class, as a critical community, will explore the haptic, experiential qualities, language, and structural abilities of materials. We will learn the fundamentals of carving, casting, modeling, wood joinery, some steel fabrication, and potential new media. Emphasis will be placed on the interaction of material, context, concept, and design; as well as developing sensitivity to the intrinsic and extrinsic qualities of sculptural media. The course is structured in contemporary sculpture, sculptural history, contemporary modes of criticism, critical analysis, and group critique.

At heart, the course will be an exploration to define the idea of Sculpture.

General Course Objectives The student will be given the opportunity to:

  • know and apply visual art principles, concepts, and ideas to the conceptualization, design, making, and discussion of works of sculpture.
  • understand the possibilities and limitations of various selected materials for the making of sculpture.
  • increase skill in the use of selected hand tools, power equipment, and other technologies and new media for the making of sculpture.
  • develop competence in working from conceptual ideas to finished sculptural products.
  • demonstrate a functional knowledge of the history of sculpture.
  • develop a keen interest in critical ideas and issues, through studio seminars and discussions.
  • develop a critical understanding of the socio-political and cultural conditions which influence artistic production and consumption.

The course is based in studio practice. The content, demands, and evaluation of the course centers around Four major projects. These four project-units become individual grammars in the greater lexicon of Sculpture. These projects will serve as units embracing and encompassing specific readings, contemporary and historical context, slide lecture, group discussions, sketchbook work, potential field trips, research, maquette making, object development and making, concluding with formal critique and responsive writing. The majority ofyour course grade derives from these four projects.

Specific parameters, reading, discussions, lectures, artists of study, and list of required tools & materials will be presented independently with each unit project. A specific scheduling calendar will be presented with the introduction of each new unit.


  1. To Carve: finding Significant Form
  2. To Model: exploration in figure, the human form, and representation
  3. To Cast: idea of the Multiple; material & finish
  4. To Construct: exploration in fabrication, space, and time
  5. Group project: defining sculpture and "site specificity"

Final Group Project Presentation
Each student as part of a cohesive group will research, design, and propose a site-specific public sculpture for the campus of Michigan University. Research, drawings, photographs, digital images, maquettes, and a formal written proposal will be presented in a final presentation on the day of the Final. The proposal will be the product of research, group dialogue, conceptualization, and design occurring throughout the entire semester and guided by several meetings/consultations with the instructor. Group discussions concerning, contemplating and defining the tern "site-specific" will be facilitated in class throughout the semester.

Cultural/Art Event Response:
It is required to attend 2 Events happening in the visual Fine Art community of Michigan University and greater area over the semester. For each event you will type a written response. (typed, double spaced, 12pt font, 1 inch margins) The following are accepted events to attend: artist lecture, formal gallery talk, lecture by curator, art historian, or art educator. Accepted events happen frequently at U ofM (see Stamps Lecture Series or Slusser Gallery calendar, and other destinations - EMU, DIA, Toledo Museum of Art, MOCAD, CAID, Cranbrook, and other area art centers. Please turn in a 1-page response describing the nature of the event and your honest critical reaction to it. These can be turned in any time, but are due by the last regular class, before final. It is in your hands, and self-discipline, to seek these events out throughout the semester.


  • 80% Projects
  • 10% Final Project Presentation
  • 10% Event Response, statements, group activities & events, research, and participation*

'Participation~ appropriate and engaged involvement in class discussions. readings, group research, critiques, and other activities of the course inside and out of the studio; Most often ~ CLEAN UP! after yourself.

ARTDES 109 - Sculpture non-Majors
Schedule Listing
001 (LAB)
TuTh 7:00PM - 10:00PM
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