Art and Art History


Bille Wickre, chair and professor.
B.S., 1977, Dakota State University; M.A., 1984, University of Iowa; Ph.D., 1993,
University of Michigan. Appointed 1992.

Lynne Chytilo, professor.
B.F.A., 1978, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; M.A., 1980, Purdue University; M.F.A., 1984, University of Wisconsin. Appointed 1984.

Michael Dixon, assistant professor.
B.F.A., 1999, Arizona State University; M.F.A., 2005, University of Colorado at Boulder. Appointed 2008.

Anne M. McCauley, professor.
B.F.A., 1976, Eastern Michigan University; M.F.A., 1978, Michigan State University. Appointed 1994.

Kara A. Morrow, assistant professor.
B.F.A., 1993, Auburn University; M.A., 1998, University of Alabama; Ph.D., 2007, Florida State University. Appointed 2006.

Gary Wahl, associate professor.
B.A., 1993, University of Minnesota, Morris; M.A., 1997, M.F.A., 1998, University of Iowa. Appointed 2004.


The visual arts have always been an important part of human culture. Individual expression, the shaping of cultural values and the creation of beauty have been among the traditional functions of art. Artists invest objects with meaning through processes that are themselves significant. When objects become part of the larger culture, artists and audiences interact with each other and with the world around them in ways that are aesthetically and intellectually enhanced. The arts ask us to see more clearly, think more deeply and respond with greater passion to the realities of human existence.

Integral to a liberal arts education, study of the arts encourages critical thinking, self-reflection, personal growth and the mastery of a variety of creative, intellectual and technical skills. In both art and art history courses, students gain abilities and confidence to conceive, analyze and understand works of art in a variety of forms and to pursue lifelong learning in the arts. Art courses encourage individual creativity, provide a foundation of skills to enable artists to create objects or performances of lasting significance, and challenge students to new critical awareness. Skills of analysis, critical thinking and writing, and a grounding in historical and cultural contexts form the basis of the study of art history. Drawing upon archaeology, religious studies, social history, contemporary critical theory and other fields of knowledge, art history helps students realize relationships between art and life.

Majors choose either a bachelor of arts degree (B.A.) in art or art history or a bachelor of fine arts degree (B.F.A.) in art. The B.A. in art provides a broad grounding in major studio areas including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, computer art, video and photography. Students who wish to do more intense and focused work in art may apply for the B.F.A. program. The B.F.A. is recommended for students who will pursue graduate work in art and/or a career in the arts. Students who pursue a B.A. in art history develop research, writing, verbal and critical skills preparatory for graduate studies or careers in a variety of arenas. Art and art history majors regularly add a second major preparatory to a wide array of careers. For example, students may combine majors in art and psychology as part of their preparation for careers in art therapy. Students may choose a minor in either art or art history.

Art and Art History Department Web site

Career Opportunities

Albion graduates in both art and art history bring to professional careers or graduate studies outstanding abilities in critical and creative thought, technical knowledge and skills, and a broad-based approach to problem-solving fostered by the liberal arts tradition. Recent graduates have pursued advanced studies in many specific studio areas, art history, arts management, animation, graphic art and architecture. Many enjoy careers in design, communications, World Wide Web design, advertising, museum and gallery positions, art therapy and education.

Majors and Minors

Requirements for Major toward B.A. in Art

  • Nine units in studio art, including: 121, 201, 271; a minimum of three units from 222, 223, 231, 241, 251, 261; a minimum of two units at the 300 level or above. One additional unit of studio art.
  • Three units of cognate art history courses, including 110, 111 or 112; 216; and one other unit of art history at the 200 level or above.
  • Art majors are required to participate in the senior art majors exhibition and the senior art and art history majors symposium.
  • All courses counted toward the major must be taken for a numerical grade.

Requirements for Major toward B.F.A. in Art

  • Students may be admitted into the B.F.A. program by presenting a portfolio of their work to the art faculty preferably in their sophomore or junior year. Acceptance into the B.F.A. program is based on an evaluation of the portfolio and the student's previous performance in art and art history classes.
  • Once accepted in the B.F.A. program, students are expected to keep up the high quality of their work and must acquire a minimum of a 3.25 grade average in their art courses in order to graduate with a B.F.A degree. The B.F.A. degree requires a minimum of 34 units for graduation.
  • No fewer than 14 and no more than 21 units in studio art, including: 121, 201, 271; a minimum of four units from 222, 223, 231, 241, 251, 261; a minimum of seven units at the 300 level or above.
  • Four units of cognate art history courses, including: 110, 111, or 112; 216; one other unit of art history at the 200 level or above; and one other unit of art history at the 300 level or above.
  • B.F.A. candidates are required to participate in the senior art majors exhibition and the senior art and art history majors symposium.

Requirements for Major toward B.A. in Art History

  • A minimum of eight units in art history, including: one unit from 110, 111, 112; 216; a minimum of one unit from before 1400: 205, 206, 208, 209, 212; a minimum of two units from after 1400: 213, 214, 217, 219; a minimum of two units from 310, 311, 312, 313, 315, 316, 318, 319; a minimum of one non-western course: 205, 206, 319. Art History 206 may be used as a “before 1400” course or a non-western course but not both.
  • It is recommended that students select at least one unit at the 200 or 300 level from four of the following areas: ancient/classical, medieval, Renaissance, baroque, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, modern and contemporary, American or non-western.
  • Art history majors are required to participate in the senior art and art history majors symposium.
  • One unit of a cognate studio art course.
  • All courses counted toward the art history major must be taken for a numerical grade.
  • Courses taken at an approved off-campus program may be substituted for Albion College courses with the permission of the department.
  • Art history students who are considering graduate study are strongly urged to complete at least two semesters of a foreign language. Graduate programs typically require French and German.

Requirements for Minor in Art

  • Five units in art, including: 121; 261 or 271; a minimum of one unit from 201, 222, 223, 231, 241, 251, 324, 325; two units from any studio course at the 200 level or above.
  • One unit of a cognate art history course, either 111 or 112.

Requirements for Minor in Art History

  • Five units in art history, including: 111 or 112, a minimum of two units from any art history course at the 200 level, and a minimum of one unit of art history at the 300 level or above. One additional unit in art history.

Art and Art History Courses


101 Introduction to the Visual Arts (1)
Designed to provide the student with the ability to work with and appreciate basic forms and concepts of art in both traditional and contemporary modes. Lecture and laboratory. Barber, McCauley.

121 Drawing (1)
Designed to introduce the beginning student to a variety of drawing media, subject matter and drawing concepts. Dixon.

201 Introduction to Computer Art (1)
Prerequisite: Art 121 or permission of instructor.
Designed to familiarize students with basic skills and techniques in creating digitally assisted visual art. Initial projects serve to introduce software tools; later projects increasingly reinforce skill development while concentrating on idea generation and individual approaches to image making. Peripheral hardware, including scanners, digital cameras, and inkjet and laser printers, are utilized in generating imagery. McCauley, Wahl.

222, 223 Advanced Drawing: Figure (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Art 121.
The human form is represented in a variety of media. May be repeated for credit. Dixon.

231 Painting I (1)
Prerequisite: Art 121.
An introduction to the vocabulary, materials and methods of oil painting. A range of technical and aesthetic considerations will be addressed. Dixon.

241 Photography I (1)
An introduction to the technical and aesthetic aspects of photography: basic functions of the camera, basic darkroom techniques, critique of work. Barber, Wahl.

251 Printmaking I (1)
Prerequisite: Art 121.
An introduction to relief and intaglio print processes including woodcut, linocut, metal plate etching, drypoint and aquatint. Idea generation emphasized. McCauley.

261 Ceramics I (1)
An introduction to ceramics as an art form. Begins with basic hand-forming and conceptual problem-solving in clay and then covers throwing, glazing and various firing methods. Chytilo.

271 Sculpture I (1)
Prerequisite: Art 121, sophomore standing or higher. Problems dealing with concepts in 3-D space and form, and the introduction to the use of basic tools and techniques with wood, stone, metal and mixed media. Chytilo, Wahl.

301 Video Art (1)
An introduction to the use of video as a medium for individual expression and creativity. Basic video skills and procedures in planning and producing a video are presented through demonstrations, lectures and practice sessions. Working with digital cameras and Premiere editing software, participants become familiar with the operation of the video cameras and editing deck, sound recording, storyboarding, and lighting techniques. Barber, Chytilo.

302 Video Installation (1)
Students collaborate to create a large-scale media-based installation. Selecting the topic for the exhibition begins during the first week of class and becomes more refined throughout the term. Students write an artist statement about their work, create an exhibition card for the show and present a gallery talk. Chytilo.

303 Advanced Digital Imaging (1)
Prerequisite: Art 201.
An advanced computer art studio course addressing the special visual and philosophical concerns around digital art making. Development of greater control of the input of imagery using devices such as stylus pads, scanners and digital cameras. Assignments address both paper and pixel output as well as the introduction of interactivity and time-based elements. Wahl.

324, 325 Advanced Drawing: Workshop (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Art 121.
Contemporary concepts and techniques related to drawing are explored through studio practice. May be repeated for credit. Dixon.

331 Painting II (1)
Prerequisite: Art 231.
Assigned problems for individual solutions. Media: oil, acrylic, watercolor and synthetics. Dixon.

332 Painting III (1)
Prerequisite: Art 331.
Individually assigned problems in advanced painting concepts and techniques. Dixon.

333 Painting Workshop I (1)
Prerequisite: Art 332.
Individual problems in the philosophical and technical aspects of painting. Self-reliance and individuality of concept stressed. Dixon.

334 Painting Workshop II (1)
Prerequisite: Art 333.
Continuation of Art 333. Dixon.

335 Painting Workshop III (1)
Prerequisite: Art 334.
Continuation of 334. A written statement discussing visual and philosophical aspects of a body of work will be presented to the art faculty for review. Dixon.

341 Photography II (1)
Prerequisite: Art 241 or permission of instructor.
Advanced assignments in photography with emphasis on imaginative approach and individual work. Lecture and lab. Critique of work. Wahl.

342 Photography III (1)
Prerequisite: Art 241.
Advanced investigation into photographic materials including medium- and large-format negatives, advanced darkroom techniques and alternative processes with an emphasis on integrating process, materials and concept in an individualized body of work. Wahl.

343 Photography Workshop (1)
Prerequisite: Art 342.
Individual exploration of technical and/or aesthetic issues in photographic media. Emphasizes the development of personal creative expression. Wahl.

344 Photography Workshop II (1)
Prerequisite: Art 343.
A continuation of Art 343. Wahl.

345 Photography Workshop III (1)
Prerequisite: Art 344.
A continuation of Art 344. Focuses on creation of a strong body of work in an area of personal interest, along with compilation into a matted portfolio with slides and a well-developed artistic statement discussing the material and conceptual aspects of the work. Wahl.

346 Color Photography (1)
Prerequisite: Art 241.
An advanced photography course introducing the basics of color photography. Covers  color theory as applicable to photography, color exposure, color printing process and studio lighting. Emphasizes integrating process, materials and concept in an individualized body of work. Wahl.

351 Printmaking II (1)
Prerequisite: Art 251.
Continuing study of relief and intaglio print processes with advanced applications. Development of personalized imagery emphasized. McCauley.

352 Printmaking III (1)
Prerequisite: Art 351.
Advanced problems in relief and intaglio with emphasis on integration of print processes and development of personalized imagery. McCauley.

353 Printmaking Workshop I (1)
Prerequisite: Art 352.
Workshops provided for concentrated development in all phases of printmaking. Discussion of traditional and contemporary printmaking in relation to individual problems. Concept development is strongly emphasized. McCauley.

354 Printmaking Workshop II (1)
Prerequisite: Art 353.
Continuation of Art 353. McCauley.

355 Printmaking Workshop III (1)
Prerequisite: Art 354.
Continuation of 354. McCauley.

356 Visual Poetry (1)
A study of writing poetry and its presentation in printed form. Intended for writers and visual artists alike, this course teaches the fundamentals of writing poetry and letterpress printing. Participants both write their own poems and, using movable type and hand-operated printing presses, set and print their own poems as broadsides and artists’ books. Same as English 356. McCauley, Mesa.

357 Book Arts (1)
Prerequisite: Art 121 and one other studio art course.
Designed to teach students the traditional and contemporary craft of handmade visual books. Students investigate book forms through hands-on demonstrations to gain experience in a wide range of book structures as preparation for individual creations. Exploration of a diverse range of media in the construction of individual books is encouraged and supported. McCauley.

361 Ceramics II (1)
Prerequisite: Art 261.
A continuation of Ceramics I with more advanced work in ceramic processes and theories including clay and glaze formulation. Emphasis also is placed on development of personal expression and direction with the medium. Laboratory and lecture. Chytilo.

362 Ceramics III (1)
Prerequisite: Art 361.
Advanced problems in ceramic design. Chytilo.

363 Ceramics Workshop I (1)
Prerequisite: Art 362.
Each semester students will explore a different technical and/or aesthetic subject of the ceramic processes on an individualized basis. Chytilo.

364 Ceramics Workshop II (1)
Prerequisite: Art 363.
An emphasis is placed on the student's development in an area of personal interest. Chytilo.

365 Ceramics Workshop III (1)
Prerequisite: Art 364.
Continuation of Ceramics Workshop II. A strong body of work accompanied by a group of slides and a written thesis will be presented to the art faculty for review. Chytilo.

371 Sculpture II (1)
Prerequisite: Art 271.
Individually arranged problems in advanced sculptural concepts and techniques. Chytilo, Wahl.

372 Sculpture III (1)
Continuation of Art 371. Chytilo, Wahl.

373 Sculpture Workshop I (1)
Prerequisite: Art 372.
Individually arranged exploration and development of specific sculptural directions. A more intense involvement in the visual and philosophical implications of a body of work is emphasized.
Chytilo, Wahl.

374 Sculpture Workshop II (1)
Prerequisite: Art 373.
Continuation of Sculpture Workshop I. Chytilo, Wahl.

375 Sculpture Workshop III (1)
Prerequisite: Art 374.
Continuation of Sculpture Workshop I, II. A written statement discussing visual and philosophical aspects of a body of work with accompanying slides will be presented to the art faculty for review. Chytilo, Wahl.

381, 382 Process (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
The process of making and conceiving art, often from a multi-media, interdisciplinary point of view. Examples: The concept of assemblage, photo-sensitive media, readings for current art, structural systems, critical studies of the college collections, color perception and performance, current drawing concepts. Staff.

388, 389 Selected Topics (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)

Art History

110 Oceanic, African and Native American Art (1)
An introduction to non-western art, art history and issues in the visual culture of Oceanic, African and Native American peoples. Emphasizes approaches to the study of non-western art; the identification of works, styles and artists; and the broad context in which each piece was conceived and executed. Covers the points of interaction between western cultures and individuals with non-western cultures and individuals where acculturation, appropriation and colonization have taken/take place. Morrow.

111 Art History Before 1400 (1)
Focuses on ancient and medieval art created in and around the Mediterranean Basin and Western Europe, from its beginnings in the Stone Age. Explores how art helps form a culture, reflecting and constructing the meaning of life for participants in the work of art. Includes analysis of artistic styles, especially in painting, sculpture and architecture, and studies ceremonial and utilitarian objects in the form of metalwork, mosaic and ceramic. Morrow.

112 Art History After 1400 (1)
Introduces students to the breadth and depth of artistic achievement in Western Europe and the United States from the beginning of the Renaissance in Italy to contemporary post-modern work in a global context. Juxtaposes the history of painting, sculpture, and architecture with historical, religious, political, economic and social events, emphasizing the connections between works of art and the contexts in which they are produced. Wickre.

205 History of African Art (1)
An introduction to African art and the people who produce, use, sell, buy and exhibit such works. Provides an overview of art forms including painting, sculpture, textiles, metalwork, architecture and film. Emphasizes theoretical approaches to the study of non-western art; the identification of works, styles and artists; and the broad context in which pieces are conceived and executed. Morrow.

206 Art of Egypt and North Africa (1)
Explores how famous and little-known works of art and architecture contributed to these seminal cultures. Looks closely at art in its religious and socio-political contexts, including especially the contents and decorations of tombs and temples in the Nile river valley. Also examines architecture and art objects from Mesopotamia as reflections of early ideas of personal religion and the city-state. Morrow.

208 Early Christian and Byzantine Art (1)
Provides a foundation of knowledge in Early Christian and Byzantine art, including painting, sculpture, textile, metalwork, glasswork, architecture and illumination created from the period of the late Roman Empire and early Middle Ages to the fifteenth century in the eastern Empire, or Byzantium. Emphasizes the identification of works, styles, artists and the broad political/religious contexts in which pieces of art were conceived and executed. Morrow.

209 Art of Greece and Rome (1)
Explores visual art and architecture as integral to the construction of knowledge and value in these ancient oral cultures. Focuses on Greek and Roman art in its original stylistic, iconographic, religious and socio-political contexts from the Stone and Bronze Ages through Classical Greece and Imperial Rome. Also examines how classical revivals have shaped cultures through the ages. Morrow.

212 Art and Religion of the Medieval World (1)
Studies art and Christianity in Western Europe from the late Roman Empire to the fifteenth century, including consideration of style and iconography, through art forms ranging from catacomb paintings to manuscripts for private devotion to Gothic cathedrals. Considers interpretations of the Middle Ages from the ninth century to the present, emphasizing how these interpretations reflect and construct the intellectual traditions of their authors. Morrow.

213 Art and Science of Leonardo's Day (1)
Investigates Italian Renaissance painting, sculpture, architecture and graphic arts from 1300 to 1550, including works by Giotto, Piero, Leonardo, Michelangelo and others. Considers interpretations of Renaissance art, architecture and science, and the concepts of Humanism and Renaissance from the time of Petrarch to the present. Morrow.

214 Baroque Art (1)
Explores the diversity of artistic styles in Europe between 1600 and 1750. Considers the expanding concepts of world geography, trade and colonization and its impact on art, an awakening sense of self for both artists and patrons, systems of training, theories of gender in the production and consumption of art works, and ways of describing and inscribing gender, race, class and sexual orientation in baroque art. Wickre.

216 Modern and Contemporary Art (1)
Prerequisite: Art 111 or 112 or permission of instructor.
Survey of twentieth century European and American painting, sculpture, photography, and time arts. Examines stylistic trends, changes in ideas about the nature and purposes of art and the relationships between art and society. Discussion of the impact of contemporary critical theory on the evolution of the art of the twentieth century. Wickre.

217 American Art, 1600-1913 (1)
Examines the major cultural movements, artists and art works in what would become the United States from the colonial period to the advent of modernism with the Armory Show in New York in 1913. Wickre.

219 Impressionism: Precis to Prologue (1)
Critically examines paintings of the Impressionists in France in the context of historical documents from the period, contemporary critical writings about the artists and paintings, and the art historical texts generated about the art. A study of Impressionism's roots in French romanticism and realism introduces the course. Special attention is paid to the particular historical circumstances that gave rise to Impressionism as a movement, and to the gendered nature of both the production and reception of Impressionist paintings. Wickre.

310 Women and Art (1)
Examines the roles women have played as creators, subjects, patrons and critics of art through history. Special emphasis will be placed on theories of the social construction of gender through art in all periods and on responses of contemporary women artists to such constructions. Wickre.

311 Art as Political Action (1)
Examines art that invites or encourages social awareness and/or action. Includes studies of "high art'' media, such as photography, painting and sculpture, and non-traditional art forms including performance art, public murals, crafts, environmental art and others. Thematically arranged around politicized issues such as race, rape and domestic violence, concepts of the body, pacifism and war, poverty, illness and AIDS, the course begins with political movements in the nineteenth century which relied heavily on visual images to achieve their purposes. Wickre.

312 Race and Its Representation in American Art (1)
Examines representations of individuals and groups who traditionally have been viewed as "others'': African Americans, Native Americans, Asians and Chicanos/Chicanas as contrasted with images of members of the dominant culture. Considers how visual art has served to reflect social conditions and situations and to construct identities for certain ethnic groups in the American psyche. Wickre.

313 History of Prints (1)
Focuses on how artists have used the forms and techniques of printmaking to express themselves visually from the fifteenth century to the present. The course uses three approaches: (1) art history lectures and discussions based on readings; (2) connoisseurship in studying prints from the College's permanent collection; and (3) practical application in producing prints in some of the major printmaking techniques. Students will begin to understand how the potential and limitations of various traditional techniques enable particular types of visual communication. Emphasis is placed on student-facilitated learning, exploration, discovery and collaborative processes. Wickre/McCauley.

315 Earth Art and the Environment (1)
Examines American (U.S.) and European art and architecture that interacts with the environment and calls attention to the benefits and consequences of human interaction with the environment in a national and global context. Focuses on art, architecture and design projects produced from 1960 to the present and materials that set the context for artistic concerns about the environment beginning in the nineteenth century. Wickre.

316 Goddesses in Art (1)
Art-historical analysis of earth-mother images and images of such goddesses as Inanna, Isis, Aphrodite, Diana and Asherah reveals the visual strategies through which our ancestors constructed meaning, value and gender identity. Addresses historical, spiritual and normative questions including: What evidence is there of longstanding goddess worship in the Stone Age? Why were goddesses important and why might they still be important? Why is a feminist perspective useful in understanding art and history? Morrow.

318 Art and the Medieval Cult of Saints (1)
Prerequisite: Art 111, 212, or permission of instructor.
Traces the development of the medieval cult of saints in the Early Christian period and how meaning in the lives of the saints was created, received and, later, reinterpreted by subsequent writers, artists and supplicants. Offers an approach to the problems of interpretation of medieval art by examining the relationship between word and image. Also considers how literary and visual works shaped Christian worship. Morrow.

319 Modern Myth and Primitive Art: From Grass Huts to Glass Boxes (1)
Prerequisite: Art 110 or 205.
Focuses on points of conflict and controversy being debated by scholars of non-western art history today, centering around a post-colonial interpretation of culture that has led artists, anthropologists, art historians, collectors, dealers and curators to question their roles in working with non-western art. Topics include tourism and art, collection, display, authenticity, construction of identity and repatriation. Morrow.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)