Art and Art History

Overview

The mission of the department of Art and Art History (AAH) is to educate students in the richness and complexity of the visual arts. Making, critiquing, and historicizing visual culture is essential for informed participation and innovation within local and global cultures. Combining the disciplines of Studio Art and Art History, AAH equips students to explore critically the interplay of culture, history, theory, analysis, and art practice.

We offer a broad range of courses in art history and studio arts. Art history offerings include Asian, Western, and Native American art, visual culture, architecture, and photographic histories. Studio classes emphasize the entwined nature of concept and technique with courses in painting, sculpture, printmaking, installation, digital photography, drawing, and book arts. We also offer hybrid courses combining art making with critical histories and theories of photography, feminisms, race, and class, underscoring our commitment to critical inquiry and the College's mission. The curriculum is integrated in the vibrant art scene of Los Angeles (and beyond) with field trips, community based learning, site specific projects, collaboration with area arts organizations and research, and internships opportunities.

Our curriculum prepares students to become professional artists, art historians, and to work in a broad range of image- and culture-oriented fields. Graduates pursue a variety of professional activities, including: art making and exhibitions in museums and galleries. They perform curatorial work, museum education, and work in libraries, archives, and other non-profit institutions. Students regularly attend graduate programs in fine arts and art history. Our graduates enter a wide range of visual-oriented fields such as architecture, design, imaging in the tech industry, and work at the intersections of art, medicine, and law.

Our program features close personal collaboration between students and faculty, all actively exhibiting, publishing and/or curating professionals. We mentor students in garnering grants for ambitious projects, international research and internships with dynamic arts institutions. Students work closely with their advisors to develop their individual interests and goals, and to plan individual programs of study designed to develop the aesthetic questions, technical skills, and research agendas required for the comprehensive project in the senior year.

Major Requirements

Twelve courses (44 or 48 units, depending on the emphasis) chosen in consultation with the major advisor.

EMPHASIS IN ART HISTORY

Survey courses

Students must select three courses from the list below:

ARTH 160Introduction to Asian Art

4

ARTH 170Introduction to Early European Art

4

ARTH 180Introduction to Later Western Art

4

ARTH 190American Indian Art History: Contemporary Issues

4

Upper division

Students must complete three ARTH courses at the 300-level.

Additional electives

Students must complete two ARTH courses at the 200- or 300-level (or equivalent).

Writing Seminars

ARTH 390Seminar in Art History

4

ARTH 490Senior Seminar in Art History

4

Breadth requirement

Students must complete at least two courses (8 units) in Media Arts & Culture and/or Studio Art. 

*In consultation with the advisor, a student may substitute a course outside the department (such as history, literature, religious studies, politics, or philosophy, preferably related to the topic area of the senior thesis) for one of the art history courses.

EMPHASIS IN STUDIO ART

Beginning courses

ARTS 102Painting Fundamentals

4

ARTS 103Sculpture I

4

ARTS 105Basic Printmaking: Relief and Intaglio

4

Intermediate courses

Students must select two courses from the list below:

ARTS 203Intermediate Sculpture

4

ARTS 209Photography Against the Grain

4

ARTS 210Intermediate Painting

4

ARTS 216Lithography

4

ARTS 217Photo Processes in Printmaking

4

Advanced Projects

Students must select two courses from the list below:

ARTS 310Advanced Projects in Painting and Drawing

4

ARTS 320Advanced Projects in Interdisciplinary Arts

4

ARTS 330Advanced Printmaking

4

Senior Seminar

ARTS 490Studio Senior Seminar

4

Art History

ARTH 180Introduction to Later Western Art

4

ARTH 389Modern and Contemporary Art

4

One Media Arts & Culture (MAC) elective, 4 units

One additional ARTS elective



Additional Information

The sequencing of courses is crucial: students should take beginning and intermediate courses in the Frosh and Sophomore years; 300 level courses (Advanced Projects) in their junior year; and ARTS 490 (Senior Seminar) and any elective studio courses in the senior year. You may not take a required 100 level course as a senior. In addition, the two Art History courses (ARTH 180 and ARTH 389), and one 300 level Advanced Projects course must be completed before the start of the senior year. ARTS 101, ARTS 104, ARTS 106, and ARTS 109 may only be taken as electives and do not count as required beginning courses. Because the maturation of creative ability requires time as well as effort, students who may desire a major in studio art should consult with departmental advisors and begin taking studio courses as early as possible in their first year, and should declare a major early in the sophomore year.

COMBINED EMPHASIS

Four introductory courses

Students must complete two course in Studio Art and two courses in Art History from the lists below:


ARTS 101Drawing Fundamentals

4

ARTS 102Painting Fundamentals

4

ARTS 103Sculpture I

4

ARTS 105Basic Printmaking: Relief and Intaglio

4

ARTS 107Digital Photography

4

ARTH 160Introduction to Asian Art

4

ARTH 170Introduction to Early European Art

4

ARTH 180Introduction to Later Western Art

4

ARTH 190American Indian Art History: Contemporary Issues

4

Six courses at the 200- or 300-level

Students must select three courses in studio art and three in art history.

Senior Seminar

ARTS 490Studio Senior Seminar

4

Or

ARTH 490Senior Seminar in Art History

4

WRITING REQUIREMENT

All students majoring in the department must successfully complete the third-year writing requirement by completing a junior-year 300-level course, with a grade of C or better, as follows:

Studio Arts:

ARTS 301Writing Art and Writing As Art

4

Or

ARTH 389Modern and Contemporary Art

4

Art History:

ARTH 390Seminar in Art History

4

Combined Emphasis:

Students will complete one of the above 300-level courses determined in consultation with the student’s Academic Advisor. 

HONORS

A student with an overall GPA of at least 3.2 and 3.5 in the major who has demonstrated excellence in departmental courses can submit a proposal for an honors. For the Studio Art emphasis, the proposal is submitted in the fall of senior year for completion in the spring of senior year. For the Art History emphasis, the proposal is submitted in the spring of junior year, for completion over the course of the senior year. For further information, consult your faculty advisor on honors requirements and timelines in your particular program.

Minor Requirements

EMPHASIS IN ART HISTORY

Five art history courses (20 units); at least three must be 200-level courses or above.

EMPHASIS IN STUDIO ART

Five courses (20 units) in the department including any four studio courses and one art history course. No more than three 100-level courses. Studio courses must be selected from more than one professor.

Exchange Program with the Art Center

Occidental students may take courses in the Art Center at Night Program at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. See the College Catalog section on the Art Center Exchange program available only to full-time Oxy students. These classes can count towards general college units for graduation but cannot fulfill AHVA major or minor requirements without pre-approval of the AHVA faculty advisor.

Courses

Art & Art History Courses:

Art History

Studio Art

Faculty

Regular Faculty

Mary Beth Heffernan, chair

Associate Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.F.A., Boston University; M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts; Fellow, Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, 1995

Linda Besemer

James Irvine Distinguished Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., B.F.A., Indiana University; M.F.A., Tyler School of Art

Eric Frank

Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Dartmouth College; M.A., Syracuse University; Ph.D., New York University

Amy Lyford

Associate Dean for Curriculum and Academic Support; Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Pomona College; M.A., Boston University; Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley

Linda Lyke

Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., M.F.A., Kent State University

Nancy Marie Mithlo

Associate Professor, Art History & Visual Arts; Chair of American Indian Studies at the Autry National Center of the American West Institute

B.A. Appalachian University; M.A., Ph.D. Stanford University

Kelema Moses

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., University of Virginia; M.A., Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University

On Special Appointment

Anne Bray

Part-Time NTT Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A. Colgate University; M.F.A., U.C.L.A.

Rafa Esparza
Part-Time NTT
Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts
East Los Angeles College and BFA, U.C.L.A.

Jocelyn Pedersen

Part-Time NTT Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; M.A., U.C. Santa Barbara

Ross Rudel

Part-Time NTT Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., Montana State University; M.F.A., U.C. Irvine

Janine Salinas Schoenberg

Part-Time NTT Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., U.C. Santa Cruz; M.F.A. University of Southern California

Mariangeles Soto-Diaz

Part-Time NTT Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A. Hampshire College; M.F.A. Claremont Graduate University; M.A. California Institute of the Arts

Linda Stark

Part-Time NTT Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.A., UC Davis; M.F.A., U.C. Irvine

David Weldzius

Part-Time NTT Assistant Professor, Art History & Visual Arts

B.F.A. University of Illinois, M.F.A. California Institute of the Arts