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About the Department of Art

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The Department of Art at Stony Brook University has consistently been at the cutting edge of developments in art history, criticism and practice. Here, in the 1960s, Lawrence Alloway coined the term “Pop Art,” Allan Kaprow invented the “Happening,” and the visiting artist Nam June Paik taught students to see the recently invented technology of “video” as a creative medium. Since that time, we have continued to embrace new directions in the study and making of art, at the core of an integrated curriculum for undergraduates and for graduate students.

In art history, these range from interdisciplinary perspectives in 19th and 20th century art criticism to more non-canonical topics: the scholarly analysis of visual and material culture, including the moving image and digital media, global artistic traditions and contemporary diasporic art. Our studio artists work in a wide spectrum of traditional and new media, from sculpture, print-making, painting and photography, to digital media, installation art, and performance.

Undergraduates can major in Art History and in Studio Art, and can enroll in the Digital Arts Minor. Our graduate degrees are the M.F.A. in Studio Art, and the M.A. and PhD in Art History and Criticism. These programs have worldwide reputations: currently Art has 4 international students from 4 countries. All our students, and our faculty, are well served by the resources of a large research university: our emphasis on critical theory has led to a natural connection to both Philosophy and Women’s Studies, just as our concern for performance has with Music and Theater Arts. The field of visual and material culture has given rise to collaborations between Art and the Humanities Institute, CLCS, and a range of other Humanities and Social Sciences Departments; and our concern with media has led to joint work with Computer Science in the College of Engineering.

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Learn more about the University History