January 22, 2020
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History of Art and Visual Culture – UCSC Majors

hello welcome to history of art and
visual culture department students from the history of art and visual culture
Department investigate complex questions concerning the social political economic
religious and psychological impacts of images from the perspectives of their
producers users and viewers visual objects play a central role in the
formations of values and beliefs including the perception of gender
sexuality ethnicity race and class through attentive historical studies and
close analysis students are taught to recognize and access these systems of
values and introduce a theoretical and methodological frameworks for future
research it’s about thinking about our visual context the visual world that
surrounds us so we think a lot about still images more than moving images but
we’re really interested in the way those two interface so we look at fine art
painting the history of painting sculpture things that we think of as
finding in art museums but we also look at popular culture pamphlets we look at
cultural forms that exist outside that rubric of art it’s about
in effect how do we understand our visual world how do we understand the
world visually how to understand visual communication and one major consistent
theme across all of the people who teach in this department is how is vision
related to power to who and what gets to matter so history of art and visual culture
is basically a more critical approach to our history in which we don’t only look at
classical paintings or forms of art but we also look at let’s say rituals that
are in a community their tattoo practices or fashion jewelry so
everything basically that encompasses visual culture the HAVC major is about
anything that takes visual forms so objects or ideas that have some really
prominent visual component and we contextualize that within the time that
they were created anybody anybody who’s interested in
looking at images and thinking about how they related to each other and
related to structures of power and historical forms so anybody can be in
the major you just have to be really interested in looking closely and
thinking critically this major is suited for everyone because images matter for
everyone somebody wants to study art somebody who wants to work in a gallery
somebody who wants to make art and we talk about ecological art we talk about
philosophical art you know all these huge concepts that like you know we kind of
learn a little bit about everything and I really enjoy that
and as well as just how many different things you can do with this major
outside of academia this is really what drew me to it well we have field
trips on a regular basis so we take our students to museums we take them to meet
directly with curators people who are working hands-on with fine art objects we
try to expose our students to not only what it means to go to a museum
as a visitor but what it means to work behind the scenes there’s also study
abroad so a number of our students who want to study for example Italian
Renaissance or they want to do something that’s found based in Central America
will do research projects in the summertime or outside of the classroom
or during study abroad academic terms to explore further
maybe Italian Renaissance printmaking or they might want to explore further
ancient Inca architecture and our program provides not only support for
that but sometimes financial grants to allow students to do those kinds of projects our students
have been awarded a travel grant to carry out research in Cambodia Thailand
Vietnam Hong Kong Mexico South Africa and many countries in the Pacific
Islands and Europe I was able to on my second year study abroad in South Africa
you know and have my classes apply here really easily
I’ve overseen a lot of students doing internships locally and they’ve gotten a
lot out of it they’ve worked with local arts organizations or worked with high
school students doing art history teaching and it’s led to unexpected
paths for them there’s so many careers in the arts and
in visual studies that you could go into being an art lawyer for example if you
don’t know enough about the history of art you can’t really represent your
clients well so you need to have that kind of background if you’re going to do
that kind of work you might decide you want to be a community arts director so
a lot of our graduates started museums but end up being really invested in
community education and they want to go out and they want to work for cities or
city governments or regional government organizations that can support the arts
so there are a lot of different kinds of career paths out of this degree with a
HAVC major I plan to eventually go to graduate school and do higher level work
in art history and visual studies and eventually I’d really like to work in a
museum and in a curatorial position I think what makes HAVC so interesting
and rewarding as a nature is that we are very inclusive and diverse by that I mean re-engage in all facets
and practice the diversity we have great ratio gender and
transgendered intentions in our student body in addition to North American and
European art history our department and program is one of the few very few in
this country where offer courses in Native American art the arts of Asia
especially South East Asia Africas the Americas the Mediterranean
and Pacific Islands finally
our students acquire sense of aesthetics ways of presenting themselves and seeing
themselves in relation to others in a complex and rich visual world

Jean Kelley