December 12, 2007 

 Dear Students Registered or Waitlisted for Taking Things Apart: 

Please read the following letter carefully.  It may determine whether you decide to remain enrolled in Taking Things Apart: A Scientific and Artistic Exploration. 

We appreciate the high level of interest in Taking Things Apart, as reflected by the number of individuals on the waiting list.  Although we would like to accomodate all engaged students in the program, our enrollment is limited by studio and lab space constraints.  This letter is intended to provide information to help you understand the level of preparation and commitment that we are expecting.  Taking Things Apart is conceived as a two-quarter program, and we will only accept students who plan on continuing with us into spring quarter. 

General Aims

This is a full-time coordinated studies program with ambitious goals.  We plan to integrate the study of both science and art as much as possible in an effort to discover how the two are connected.  Through lectures, workshops, readings, studio art work and science lab work, the program will endeavor to:

  • create a sense of wonderment
  • teach critical observation skills
  • help students develop a "sense of narrative"
  • help students become attentive at all levels of their lives
  • help students deal with ambiguity


One strand of the program will focus on the nature of scientific inquiry and investigation in biology.  A major theme during the quarter will be to understand the relationship between biological structure and function.  In winter quarter, we will be "taking apart" the neurobiology of visual perception.  We will begin with the anatomy of the brain and eye, explore the organization of neurons and logic of synaptic transmission, and conclude by studying the structure of photoreceptor molecules. 

In preparation for this component, you should have taken high school biology and chemistry and be familiar with the following terms and concepts: units of measurement; atomic structure, the periodic table, chemical bonding and molecular structure; macromolecules (proteins, nucleic acids, lipids); cell structure and function (nucleus, organelles, membranes, cytoskeleton); production of energy (ATP). 

Laboratory work will involve dissection of brains and eyes, introduction to microscopy and histology, and application of optics and spectroscopy to examine properties of light. We will be using sections of the following books as supplementary reading for lectures.  Selected chapters will be placed on reserve.  You may want to scan these books to assess the level of difficulty of this reading. 

  • Freeman, Scott.  Biological Science, Second Edition. (2005).  Prentice Hall. 
ISBN 0-13-218746-9
  • Hubel, David.  Eye, Brain, and Vision. (1988).  Scientific American Library. (out of print)
  • Livingstone, Margaret.  Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing. (2002). Harry Abrams, Inc.  ISBN 0-8109-0406-3
 You will need the following supplies for workshop and the lab:
  • Scientific calculator – You will need a calculator that performs exponential and logarithmic functions.  (You do not need a graphic calculator for this program.)
  • Laboratory notebook –  You will need a bound (not spiral-bound) composition book.  Such a notebook can be purchased in the Bookstore.
  • Ruler – Bring a ruler with metric units.


Our studio art portion of the program for winter quarter will focus on drawing, both from still-life set-ups and live models.  Basically, our aim here is to become more careful observers of the world around us; in essence, we will learn the difference between ‘looking’ and ‘seeing.’  No drawing experience is necessary.  What is necessary, however, is a willingness to take risks and to suspend your disbelief in yourself as an artist. 

You will not need to buy a book for this portion of the program.  We will, however, be relying on ideas taken from several texts, and some of you may want to add at least one of them to your personal libraries.   The first of these (which is not only the least expensive but is readily available as a used book) is Betty Edwards’ Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  The other sources include Drawing from Life by Clint Brown and Cheryl McLean, Drawing from Observation by Brian Curtis, and Creative Drawing by Howard Smagula; unfortunately, all of these are inordinately expensive. 

We will be working with a limited number of media, primarily graphite and charcoal, and you should expect to bring both to class weekly.  You will need a variety of both soft and hard leads, and you can either buy these items individually, or they often come bundled in a reasonably priced set.  The Bookstore, for example, carries two sets (‘General’s Graphite Drawing Kit’ and ‘General’s Charcoal Kit’) that are both fairly inexpensive and will provide you with a good variety of drawing materials; either one of the two is a good investment. 

The only other items you need to buy are a drawing sketch-pad---which must be no smaller than 11x14 inches---and a pair of large “bulldog clips” to hold newsprint paper to a drawing board.  As with your pencils and charcoal, it really doesn’t matter what brand of paper you buy as long as it is designated ‘cold-pressed’ and is designed for graphite and charcoal.   We’ll discuss other useful items that you might wish to purchase at the first drawing session.    


A third strand of the program will involve reading, discussing, and writing about works of literature--novels, poetry, drama, and essays.  The book list for winter quarter is as follows: 

  • William Shakespeare, King Lear (You MUST buy the “Arden Shakespeare: Third Series” edition, R. A. Foakes, editor.)
  • James Baldwin, Another Country
  • Stendahl, The Charterhouse of Parma (You MUST buy the Modern Library Classics edition, translated by Richard Howard.)
  • Alice Munro, Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You
  • Louise Gluck, Ararat
  • Oliver Sacks, An Anthropologist on Mars

  Class Times

Lecture, workshop, seminar, studio, and laboratory sessions will be scheduled at the following times: 

 9:00-12:00  Lecture SEM2 D1107 1:00-3:00  WorkshopSEM2 A1107 9:00-12:00  Studio/LabArts Annex Drawing Studio & Lab I 1:00-4:00    Studio/LabArts Annex Drawing Studio & Lab I 10:00-12:00  Seminar SEM2 A3107SEM2 A3105  10:00-3:00 Flexible:Films, Guest Lectures,Field TripsSEM2 E1107 

  Day 1 of Winter Quarter

Taking Things Apart is currently oversubscribed.  If you are registered or waitlisted for this program, you must attend the first class meeting on Monday morning at 9:00 on January 7, 2008 to be officially enrolled.  Decisions on the status of waitlisted students will be made on Monday morning. 

Updates on Program Website

Additional information on the program schedule and syllabus will be posted at the program website:  http://www2.evergreen.edu/apart/  We hope this letter is useful in helping you assess your level of preparation and commitment.  If you remain interested in enrolling in the program, we look forward to seeing you on the first day of class.  

Sincerely, Bob Haft and Donald Morisato

Faculty Team for Taking Things Apart 


 January 10, 2008


Taking Things Apart: Of Horses and Holotypes


The best way to begin to appreciate art is simply to look at lots of it, carefully and critically.  Pieces from certain time periods---or the works by some artists---will have more attraction for you than others, and you may want to pursue your initial interest by seeking out more information about either those periods or those artists. 


To assist you in your research, listed below are the names of the periods and the artists whose work you saw in class on Thursday, January 10. 


Upper Paleolithic Age (c.40000 – 10000 BCE)

      We looked at images from the caves of Pech Merle, Lascaux and Chauvet.

Parthenon (447-432 BC) --- from the Classical Greek era

Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)

Tang Dynasty (618-907)

George Stubbs (1724-1806) 

Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)

Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825)   Antoine-Jean Gros (1771-1835)  

Theodore Gericault (1791-1824)   

Edward Muybridge (1830-1904)

Ming Dynasty 16th C.

Frederick Remington, (1861-1909)

Rosa Bonheur (1822-99)

Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863)   

Edouard Manet (1832-83)Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)Franz Marc (1880-1916)  ,

Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917) 

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Richard McLean (1934-  )

Susan Rothenberg (1945- )

Deborah Butterfield (1949- )