2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Dada and Surrealism: Art as Life - Life as Art

Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty: Bob Haft visual arts, art history, photography, Marianne Bailey foreign languages and literature

Fields of Study: aesthetics, art history, literature and visual arts

Winter: CRN (Credit) Level 20074 (16) Fr; 20075 (16) So - Sr; 20515 (14)  

Spring: Enrollment Accepting New Students  CRN (Credit) Level 30091 (16) Fr; 30092 (16) So - Sr; 30450 (1-16)  Signature Required Interested students should contact faculty via email.  Faculty will interview prospective students in Lab I room 1007 during the Academic Fair, March 2, 2011 from 3:00-5:00pm.  

Credits: 16(W); 16(S)

Class Standing: Freshmen - Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmenFreshmen - Senior

Offered During: Day

Prerequisites: Critical reading skills and strong writing abilities.


...no longer an artist, he has become a work of art.The Birth of Tragedy, Friedrich Nietzsche

This program is designed for serious, advanced students with an interest in the artistic and literary movements of Dada and Surrealism. Like the Surrealists, you must have a strong work ethic and total commitment to our independent and group work; you must also be fearless in the face of disturbing and even dangerous ideas to which we will be exposed. Our goals are to introduce students to the depths of the creative, philosophical and psychological levels of the movements, and to show the profound effects that the movements and their continuing metamorphoses have had on the arts and humanities since the 1920s.

In winter quarter we will study works of the Dadaists and of antecedents, beginning our studies with an intensive look at both the bourgeois society into which Dada erupted, “la Belle Epoque”, and the fringe thinkers and artists who had prepared the way. Dark Romantic poets longed for the Abyss, imaged a chaotic inner sea, and flirted with Mephistopheles. Friedrich Nietzsche unmasked God, Truth and Self. Painters and psychologists were obsessed with altered states of being, with madness, dream and hallucination. And thinkers spoke of Flux or Will as underlying all apparently solid constructs, from space and time to identity and language. We will look at the devastating blow World War I struck to humanism, to Western society, and to individual psyches of artists themselves, and at the weird birth of Dada, the wild child, in the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Switzerland, a quiet eye in a raging storm.

To assist in our creative endeavors, students will learn the basics of drawing and photography. Students will work in small groups on projects that arise from our studies and will present or perform them at the quarter’s end.

Spring quarter will find us concentrating our studies on Surrealism. We will explore the movement as a theory, state of mind, a gift and a world view. We will attempt to participate in that world view through studying, interpreting and critiquing works by the Surrealists, and by creating (both as individuals and groups) art objects and artistic spectacles. We will follow the Surrealist example by keeping dream journals and using them as a source for hypnagogic imagery. We will seek the Marvelous, as Surrealists did, expanding our concepts of the real. We will explore chance or synchronicity, attempt to live creatively, and to create ourselves/our lives as works of art. We will ask what values Surrealists created when commonly accepted values had been negated. We will delve into the relationship between ritual and Surrealist arts, drawing upon Surrealists’ reactions to medieval arts and to Haitian, West African and Pacific Island arts.

Students will collaborate to create, print and edit Dadaist and Surrealist literary/artistic journals and performances. In addition, each student will be responsible for an individual research project of their choosing, exploring evidence of Surrealist tendencies in contemporary arts and thought.

Maximum Enrollment: 48

Required Fees: Winter $13 for exhibit entrance fees.

Preparatory for studies or careers in: 20th century art history and literature, drawing,  photography, teaching, and the arts and humanities.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Enhanced Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
February 28th, 2011 Academic Fair meeting room updated; interested students should meet faculty in Lab I 1007.
November 29th, 2010 Fees updated.