Spring 2015

The Artist Is Absent

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-223

Moodle site: Course


Nathaniel Lieb (Section 01)


In this course we will resist the art world’s current tendency to lionize the artist as a master creator/seer, who works within a veil of rarified spirits and to whom the truth is revealed. We will view the artist-student not as a genius auteur but rather a pragmatic re-discoverer of human truths lost in plain sight.  Students will become collaborators with their audience, allowing viewers to consciously discover their own paths of entry to the artworks. 

Working in a wide range of media, digital (photography, video), manual (sculpture, drawing) and performance, students will explore the breadth of expressive potential that can be found in observing and using small human gestures. Students will be asked to reach beyond traditional studio practice to engage with art-making in alternative ways that reflect our common humanity rather than specific cultural vicissitudes.  To this end it may be an advantage to be unfamiliar with a material or technique, unbound by canons of traditional art-making; therefore no prior studio experience is required for the course.

Coursework will be complemented by class visits from a variety of practitioners: painters, photographers, magicians, and others.   Additionally, students may be asked to participate in a collaborative public project, that could take a form as varied as a parade or projected-image event.

Limited to 12 students.  Spring semester.  Artist-in-Residence Lieb.

If Overenrolled: ARHA majors, then non-majors and Five College students


Artistic Practice


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015