Spring 2019, Advanced Practice: Spatial Thinking and Practice – Lan Thao Lam

Advanced Practice: Spatial Thinking and Practice

PGFA 5303 (CRN 4898)

Tuesdays 3:50pm – 6:30pm


Leandro Erlich, Dalston House. Photo Gar Powell-Evans. Barbican Art Gallery 2013


“… there is a fine line between an installation of art and installation art.” This course interrogates the distinction Claire Bishop makes in her critical history of installation art, and asks whether or not all art is to varying degrees installation art. We will approach installation as the means of completing a project, rather than as merely the presentation of a project. That is, we will consider installation as an art practice that involves the negotiation of spatial engagement, space as material, and space as a prompt for thinking and feeling. This hand-on practice-based class will use exercises to test out ideas, in which students will learn about problem-solving as an installation practice. By unpacking the elements of architecture, we will gain an understanding of the necessity of asking fundamental questions, such as, what is a wall, what is floor work, what is suspension, and how do they function in space to orient or disorient the viewer? Through regular presentation of work-in-progess, students will critique the ways in which installation realizes each project. We will examine historical precedents set by artists such as Michael Asher, Ann Hamilton, Marcel Duchamp, Yayoi Kusama, and Kara Walker. We will also draw on texts that contemplate space as metaphor, including Tanizaki’s In Praise of Shadows and Gonzales’ Subject to Display.

Required. Safety Orientations for Wood and Metal shops. Prior basic knowledge and hands-on experience with hand tools.

Open to: MFA Fine Arts Majors; others by folio submission and permission of the MFA Fine Arts Program Director.