Graduate Art Department

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Graduate Art Department

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The Graduate Art Department was officially formed in 1986 under the direction of then Dean of Humanities, Richard Hertz. Prior to 1986 the school offered a master's degree, but it was structured on a one-on-one apprentice approach. Under Hertz the program was based on both studio and rigorous theoretical coursework. Hertz came to Art Center with a doctorate in philosophy from UCLA. Hertz invited Sande Cohen, who also came from UCLA, to teach the critical theory coursework. In the early 1990s the widely known French theoretician Sylvere Lotringer joined the program. Lotringer founded the radical journal Semiotext(e), and is widely credited for introducing so-called French Theory into the American art world.

According to the 2006 brochure, Graduate Art was established in 1986.

Richard Hertz (1986 -2002)
Stephen Prina (acting 2002-2003)
Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe (acting 2003-circa 2005) (2005-2014)
Diana Thater (2014 - )
Jason Smith (Associate Chair, 2014 - present)
Bruce Hainley ( )


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Graduate Art Website description (2015):
Graduate Art is an interdisciplinary Master of Fine Arts program that encourages divergent ideas and methods. It provides degree candidates with a comprehensive understanding of art history, art making and contemporary art. Students are given the freedom and support to become any kind of artist they imagine, and to make any kind of art there is—or that they can invent.
Studies are led by a core faculty of seven artists (including the department chair), supplemented by five other full-time faculty and an adjunct faculty of approximately 15 artists, critics and theorists. Students spend the majority of their time in one-on-one studio visits with faculty members, balanced with rigorous critical, academic, and practical coursework. Through its Graduate Seminar course, biannual conference series, and annual artist-in-residence partnership, the program also welcomes internationally recognized artists, historians and writers to the College who address the cultural, historical and political currents that shape art making and the creative process.
In their last two terms, candidates work towards a final show and written thesis under the guidance of a committee comprised of three senior faculty members, culminating in a public defense.
Among the many resources available to students, the Graduate Art Complex at Art Center’s South Campus provides students with individual artists’ studios, indoor and outdoor tool shops, gallery spaces, dedicated computing and video production facilities, and a student lounge.

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