Freak Shows, Art as Protest and More Continuing Ed Fall Courses at SVA

August 20, 2015

The upcoming fall semester’s Division of Continuing Education course catalog has a plethora of new additions across departments that prospective students can choose from. Among them are Legal Aspects of Filmmaking, Selling Your Script and Modular Pattern Letterpress. The Visual and Critical Studies Continuing Education department boasts the largest selection of new course offerings. Here’s a brief preview of some of them:

tat425Though for the most part a bygone attraction, the freak show has left an indelible imprint on our cultural psyche. Instructor Anni Irish, who’s expertise on “freaks” has been featured in Vice and The New York TimesWomen in World blog, designed the course Freak Show: A Cultural and Historical Analysis of America’s Entertainment Industry to consider how the exploitative practices of the turn of the century freak- and sideshow business developed into today’s billion dollar entertainment industry. Highlighting specific circus acts and their personal histories (e.g. the Tattooed Lady, General Tom Thumb, etc.), Irish hopes the course “will give students a historical handle on this era and help them rethink the impact the freak show has had on American popular culture.”

Is Instagram art? Are tweets poetry? These are just a few of the questions Post-Internet Art Studio asks as it examines the ever-changing and multidisciplinary world of new media. By reflecting on the relationship of the Internet to the self and a broader sense of culture and art history, students investigate topics such as Internet surveillance, digital circulation, Glitch Feminism and 3D virtual worlds. “The definition [of Internet art] is slippery and expansive; it advances as networked culture and technology evolve,” says instructor Haley Bueschlen.

A hybrid studio/lecture course, Performance Art: Discovery and Definition teaches modern day performance art as theory and practice. As a practicing actor and artist, instructor Hollis Witherspoon admits “a need and desire to integrate these two fields.” Examining art movements such as “tableau vivant” and the “anti-art” of the Fluxus movement, and artists including Bruce Nauman and Marina Abramovic, students apply historical context to their own performance techniques through improvisational workshops.

In Art as Protest: Subversive Practices taught by conceptual artist and curator Kat Chamberlin, students learn that not only can art be political, it can be radical and revolutionary. Surveying historical and contemporary “agitational” art practices that have been evocative, humorous or subversive in execution, students will apply the teachings of these examples in a performance, installation, video or new media project that expresses protest.

To learn more about these and other Visual and Critical Studies Continuing Education courses, an information session will be held on Monday, August 24, 6:30 – 8:30pm at 133/141 West 21st Street, Room 402C. Contact [email protected] to RSVP.

For a full list of upcoming fall information sessions for Continuing Education departments, visit

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