01P:199:001 Art as Inquiry: the Artist as Scientist

Semester: Fall 2012
Course Credit Hours: 3
Professor: Anthony Castronovo
Office Hours: T 9:30AM-12:30PM and by appointment
Office Location: SA 1417
Class Time, Location: T/Th 3:30PM - 5:20PM, 1024 SA

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"Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible."
-Paul Klee

"Contemporary Sculptors try to make sense of the world around them by identifying paths to follow, or threads to pull, amid the glut of information, the profusion of visual images and the excess of physical objects. They recognize patterns in the chaos. They identify fragments as being part of a larger whole. They realize that entropy is an inevitable part of a natural cycle that indicates growth and life as much as it signals decay. In their negotiations with so much cultural, historical, and empirical information, the artist takes on such roles as archivist, historian, designer, engineer, scientist and translator, and while they find affinities, draw comparisons, point out differences and reconstruct events – in other words, (they) distill the whirlwind into something to be contemplated…"
-Anne Ellegood


This is an interdisciplinary course in sculpture that explores scientific inquiry as a starting point and creative source for our artistic practice. Throughout the semester we will immerse ourselves in readings and discussions about science and art. In addition, we will focus on creating through mixed media such as glass and metal, plaster and plastic, wood and found objects. We willI develop a dedicated studio practice through discussions, readings, and drawings to develop our ideas and to create a framework for our creative process. It has often been noted by many scientists and artists that at the core of both science and art we are interested in the same thing: exploring the nature of our existence, questioning the universe and our human condition, in a sense we are probing the cosmos. Another way to think about this similarity is that both scientists and artists have to be able to think abstractly, which means we apply or explore abstract phenomena or theories to the physical world.

What Do Artists Know? |Frances Whitehead



The materials needed will vary depending on the student and the project.There is no Lab fee for this course, however, the woodshop and foundry will be available to experienced students, and a fee will be assessed individually based on need. These fees go to support the foundry and woodshop including consumable parts like drill bits and saw blades. There is a fee for our special project, fused glass imaging, which will be roughly $30 per student. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this course, materials will vary based on students' interests and expertise. In general you can expect to spend an additional $100-$200 in materials for the semester. At the beginning of each project a description will be given out with a list of materials.


Tara Donovan | Alexis Smith |Magdalena Abakanowicz| Jeff Koons | Richard Deacon | Ann Hamilton | delicious | Theo Jansen | Tony Cragg| Richard Serra | Antony Gormley | Marilene Oliver | Yoan Capote | John Grade | Yong Ho Ji| Lauren Kalman | Jay Nelson | Duke Riley | Alicia Eggert |Jeremy Boyle | Dietrick Wegner | Randy Polumbo | Steven Seigel | John Payne | Celeste Roberge | Mark Jenkins | Janine Antoni | Doris Salcedo | Louise Bourgeois | Mauritzio Catalan |Hyperbolic Crochet


A key component to good education and to being an engaged, informed artist is your active engagement in community events and ability to experience unique opportunities. There will be lectures, visiting artist talks, and exhibitions that will be required throughout the semester. As these events will happen outside of class, it is understandable that they might not always fit your schedule and so an alternative assignement of research and writing will be optional.


Active participation, engagement, and respectful, critical dialogue in all phases of this course are imperative. The class dynamic dependson your energy, initiative, attitude, productivity, and willingness to get involved in group discussion and critiques. Participate actively during critique and discussion. Complete all assigned readings, make drawings of ideas that happen while reading, and take detailed notes so you can contribute to the discussion in class.

Make safe and considerate choices with equipment and facilities. Do your part to keep the facilities clean. DO NOT use your phone to text, chat, or e-mail during class time. DO NOT use computers to surf the web, check email, chat, watch videos.... during class time.

Ask questions and contribute answers. Offer constructive, respectful feedback during group discussions, class workdays, and critiques. Reflect on the comments you receive to gauge the effectiveness of your work. TAKE NOTES ON EVERYTHING!!! Use your sketchbook for research and development of ideas. Examine the way your ideas change, evolve, and influence formal and conceptual choices in your work.


Grades are meant to evaluate your effort, ideas, and execution. Your overall grade will be based on participation and projects (including creativity, critical thinking, engagement with course information, research, presentation, technical proficiency , and problem solving). Expectations will be explained in detail for each project when it is assigned. If anything seems unclear, you are responsible for asking the instructor for clarification far in advance of the due date. The most successful projects will be very ambitious and well executed technically, but must also exhibit thoughtful connections between concept and form.


Your work will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria of requirements and expectations:


Official Breakdown:

FINAL SEMESTER EVALUATIONS will be averaged as follows:

ATTENDANCE: Students must be in class every day. Your presence is critical for your own education but also for the group as a whole. Attendance is a major factor in your participation grade. At 4 absences, your final grade will be reduced by 10%.

CRITICAL DATES are provided with each project description. All projects are due on the due dates given in the project descriptions. Final critique will be held on the last day of class of the Fall semester.


SAFETY PROCEDURE: To use tools and the studio lab you must first successfully complete the 3D Design Safety Quiz located on ICON, by the second day of the course. This is not training for the woodshop, foundry, or any special equipment. This covers only the general safety procedures for the area.

ADMINISTRATIVE HOME: The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the administrative home of this course and governs matters such as the add/drop deadlines, the second-grade-only option, and other related issues. Different colleges may have different policies. Questions may be addressed to 120 Schaeffer Hall, or see the CLAS Student Academic Handbook.

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION: University policy specifies that students are responsible for all official correspondences sent to their University of Iowa e-mail address ( Faculty and students should use this account for correspondences. (Operations Manual, III.15.2. Scroll down to k.11.)

ACCOMODATIONS FOR DISABILITIES: A student seeking academic accommodations should first register with Student Disability Services and then meet privately with the course instructor to make particular arrangements. See for more information.

ACADEMIC HONESTY: The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences expects all students to do their own work, as stated in the CLAS Code of Academic Honesty. Instructors fail any assignment that shows evidence of plagiarism or other forms of cheating, also reporting the student's name to the College. A student reported to the College for cheating is placed on disciplinary probation; a student reported twice is suspended or expelled.

CLAS FINAL EXAM POLICIES: Final exams may be offered only during finals week. No exams of any kind are allowed during the last week of classes. Students should not asktheir instructor to reschedule a final exam since the College does not permit rescheduling of a final exam once the semester has begun. Questions should be addressed to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum.

MAKING A SUGGESTION OR COMPLAINT: Students with a suggestion or complaint should first visit the instructor, then the course supervisor, and then the departmental DEO. Complaints must be made within six months of the incident. See the CLAS Student Academic Handbook.

UNDERSTANDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT: Sexual harassment subverts the mission of the University and threatens the well-being of students, faculty, and staff. All members of the UI community have a responsibility to uphold this mission and to contribute to a safe environment that enhances learning. Incidents of sexual harassment should be reported immediately. See the UI Comprehensive Guide on Sexual Harassment for assistance, definitions, and the full University policy.

REACTING SAFELY TO SEVERE WEATHER: In severe weather, class members should seek appropriate shelter immediately, leaving the classroom if necessary. The class will continue if possible when the event is over. For more information on Hawk Alert and the siren warning system, visit the Public Safety web site.


Aug 21• intro to course and each other; Safety Procedures & ICON you must complete the 3D Design module and if you plan on using the Woodshop, complete that module as well; woodshop orientation and safety policies (Each student should have a copy of the woodshop safety proceedures); discuss parts and get order ready; discuss tools; HW research artists and links above, be ready to discuss three artists of your choice; reading for next week: Arthur Zajonc, Shawn Brixey, Richard Deacon, Stephen Jay Gould, Carl Sagan, Jo Marchant, Annie Dillard

Aug 23• Begin discussion of Art as Inquiry, look at artists, Introduce Project#1.

Aug 28•Class Cancelled

Aug 30•Discuss Readings( Zajonc, Brixey, Deacon, Gould); student presentations: Tyler, Jackson; Video: Microcosmos.

Sep 4• Student Presentations: Megan, Gretchen. Discuss Readings( Sagan, Marchan, Dillard), student presentations.

Sep 6• Student Presentations: Josh, Justin. Video: Planet Earth Coral Reefs

Sep 11• Proposals due. Each student will present their idea; must be digital format and should include: abstract, sketches/images, material samples.

Sep 13• Studio work day.

Sep 18• Fieldtrip to greenhouse. Bring sketchbooks and pencils, paints, etc...cameras, video/audio....we will explore the greenhouse and record our experience there. Meet at ground floor of biology bldg at 3:45pm.

Sep 20• Student presentations: Josh, Tiffany. Studio work day.

Sep 25• Critique.

Sep 27• Critique.

Oct 2• Introduce Project#2 field trip to river bed.

Oct 4• Video: Waste Land. Readings assigned: Gould02, Lightman.

Oct 9• Student presentations.Discuss readings.

Oct 11• Sustainability Rally, Kinnick Stadium Press Box- students must register:

Oct 12• Anna C. Roosevelt, PhD University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Anthropology Amazonia: A dynamic human habitat - past, present, and future
4:00 PM Kollros Auditorium 101 Biology Building East (BBE)

Oct 16• Proposals due.

Oct 18• Fieldtrip to Engineering Bio Lab, meet at 1246 Seamans Center, 3:30pm. Bring samples to view under microscope.

Oct 23• Demo: Glass Fusing and Decals.

Oct 25• Studio work day.

Oct 30• Studio work day.

Nov 1• Chemistry with Dr. Betsy Stone: she will discuss atomic structure and bonding, and her research into particulate matter in the atmosphere and its effect on climate. Meet at E231 CB at 3:45pm.

Nov 6• Critique.

Nov 8• Critique.

Nov 13• Proposals due for Final Project.

Nov 15• Proposals due for Final Project.

Nov 20• No Class, Thanksgiving.

Nov 22• No Class, Thanksgiving.

Nov 27• Studio work day.

Nov 29• Studio work day.

Dec 4• Field trip to Macbride Raptor Center, meet there at 3:45.

Dec 6• Studio work day.

Dec 11• Final Critique either today or thursday.