The Total Work of Art
The projects made by individual students, over this yearlong course, add up to create each student’s “Total Work of Art.” Another way to think of this end goal is an artist solo show, where different kinds of artwork juxtapose with each other and create something larger than the individual parts.
A Total Work of Art is not conceived as a sculpture, painting or any single object, but is a combination of different forms. This might include architecture, works that appear on walls, sculpture or light, it can include almost anything. Site-Specific Installation and Gesamtkunstwerk (the German word for Total Work of Art) are good terms to look up in order to understand the references for this course.
Our first project is a life-size figurative sculpture made by each student. With this project alone, students learn to work with ceramics, woodworking, armatures, bricolage, paper mâché, soft sculpture, mold making and plaster casts.
This course is designed to help students develop an independent art practice, the kind that forms outside an academic structure. Students are asked to explore ideas and materials just as any artist, designer or architect would in their own studio. Beyond the sculpture projects we make over the school year, students keep a sketchbook where they draw ideas and plans. This course includes lectures, discussions and writing, but our focus is hands-on sculpture making.