Making and Writing Visual Culture

Spring Open
Class Standing
Kathleen Eamon
Shaw Osha (Flores)

Our culture is largely visual, and images play a central role in how we compose and become ourselves and communicate meaning. Images represent and provoke ideas, values, sensations and memories. How does visual art and critical theory help us understand and decode what's involved in our ways of seeing, our judgments, and our tastes? As we are faced with more and more imagery in social media, the web and advertising, how are they contributing to visual sign-systems, histories, and politics that shape our constitution of self, other and our culture in ways we are not conscious of and are beyond language? By taking on artistic, critical, psychoanalytic, and philosophical approaches to visual culture, this program will engage texts, art practices, images, and art objects (with an opportunity for in person travel to New York) to consider what it means to live in our image-saturated culture and take time to study and contemplate how it affects our everyday lives.

This is a remote coordinated studies program with an opportunity for in person travel to New York City with variable credit options that combines synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. Students registered for the full 16 credits will participate in our optional one week travel to New York City during the 2024 Whitney Biennial exhibition (the longest-running survey of contemporary American art, initiated in 1934). They will also develop and pursue substantive individual projects. And all students will write, read theory, and work to develop or deepen an artistic practice they can pursue at at home, whether major or minor. All students will also develop their theoretical vocabulary and judgment through a series of challenging but exciting readings from important key texts in the history of visual culture, critical theory, philosophical aesthetics, and psychoanalytic theory. All students will likewise attend the Evergreen Art Lecture Series to engage with an array of living artists, writers, scholars, and activists.

Students are expected to have a working computer with video and audio and a reliable internet connection, and we will have at least eight hours of synchronous dedicated class time each week (on video), to include live lectures, seminars, student-led intellectual and artistic ‘salon’ meetings. Additional instruction will be delivered through asynchronous recorded lectures, peer review, and critique commitments.

This program will serve exploratory and entry-level students in both the Visual and Media Arts and the Humanities: Culture, Text, and Language in World Societies Paths. Students who have the appropriate background and skills can do intermediate and/or advanced work in their projects in either or both areas.

First years: This program will consider accepting first year (freshman) students to join on an application basis, particularly for the 8-credit option, with admission to the 16-credit program for freshmen only as an exception. Please read the program description carefully, and consider first whether you are prepared to do 20 hours a week of challenging philosophical and artistic work. In one robust paragraph, describe what excites you about the prospect of an intensive cycle of reading, thinking, talking, and art experimentation every week for ten weeks, and what in your experience prepares you to take it on. Include some reflection of what strategies you will use to stay active and engaged in this remote work (participation in online discussions and active engagement with online lectures and seminars). That paragraph is your application to register for the 8 credits (20 hours weekly) of all-program work; if you are not applying to the 16-credit version, please send your A-number and this paragraph to and
If you want to make a case for acceptance into the 16-credit option, do the same in a second paragraph regarding the other 8 credits of work/20 hours a week on average: please read the program description again, paying special attention to the travel to New York in the middle of the quarter as an intensive commitment and a steady 10 hours of supported individual project work across the quarter. Write a second paragraph describing how you intend to approach those challenges, what excited you about them, and what in your experience prepares you to succeed on the trip and in developing and pursuing a project. The practical details of the trip to New York are self-organized, including lodging and transportation (with scheduled events starting Monday, April 29th-concluding Saturday, May 4) so be sure to think about what travel experience you have and whether you’re in the position to make the most of a study away opportunity. Our days there will be exciting and strenuous, full of museum visits, seminars, theoretical talks, and artist studio visits, each of which will need to be navigated and all of which require on time attendance. If you are applying for acceptance into the 16-credit program, please send your A-number and this paragraph to and

Travel option: All students who register for 16 credits will join our one-week field study in New York City in the middle of the quarter. This is an opportunity to come together with one another and both faculty members to immerse ourselves in the intense and influential art world. We will attend the most current Whitney Biennial exhibition as well as engaging with a whole array of visual cultures, ranging from the material remains of the ancient world to specific formations belonging to our contemporary moment, moving between the traditional and the avant-garde, discovering what is at work in both the ‘centers’ of visual culture and at its exciting ‘margins.’

If you wish to travel to New York OR pursue an individual project, but not both, contact faculty for permission to register for 12 credits in this program.

Anticipated Credit Equivalencies

6 - Studio: Drawing, Painting and Design Fundamentals

6 - Visual Studies: 20th Century - Contemporary

4 - Independent Project in Visual Art, Research and Writing


Course Reference Numbers
So - Sr (16): 30195
So - Sr (8): 30196

Academic Details

Cultural non-profit or private organizations and institutions in art, writing, curating, education, and administration;  Entrepreneurial or contract work in art, writing, curating, and education; Graduate school in philosophy, aesthetics, curating, critical writing or visual art


Required student fee of $220, which covers some museum passes, artist studio visit fees, and travel to the Dia Beacon.

Additional expenses: $2000 to cover airfare, local travel, lodging, food to New York

$ 500-700 airfare
$ 200 local travel (MetroCard at $33 plus occasional taxis, buses to airports)
$ 600-700 board (at $90-100/night for 7 nights)
$ 280-420 food ($40-60/day)
$ 2000 estimated budget for one week trip (pro-rate additional days at $120-180/day)


Remote (S)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details