The New Genres Department has its roots in the major conceptual and disciplinary shifts of the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the proliferation of video, performance, installation, land, and environmental art.
New Genres at SFAI was at the forefront of this expanded vocabulary of art making, and the program continues to attract thinkers and shape-shifters—people who want to break boundaries between technologies and disciplines and create an exciting hybrid practice in which life itself can be art.
New Genres is conceptually driven, with a core value of experimentation: students are asked to be fearless creators, independent workers, and open to many possibilities for expression. Though the curriculum is flexible, it is also rigorous, emphasizing a historicized approach to interdisciplinarity and encouraging critical dialogue about form, intention, and meaning. Introductory-level studio courses are designed as labs for cross-media and cross-cultural practices, while advanced courses range from specialized seminar topics to socially engaged studio classes to independent studies. The department is committed to educating students for the contemporary world by addressing ongoing global, sociopolitical, and cultural changes, as well as incorporating new technologies as tools for innovative art making.
The Bay Area is a lively home for genre-busting artists, with an active alternative art scene that includes venues such as Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Southern Exposure, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, The LAB, CounterPULSE, The Performance Art Institute, Adobe Books, and Public Works.
New Genres resources include two studio/performance spaces/classrooms with Internet connection; video and slide projectors; VHS, miniDV, and U-matic video formats; four enclosed editing rooms; AVID video editing and Final Cut Pro stations; an audio editing room; a dub room; and a computer lab with the latest digital technologies and software. Students also have access to a fully equipped lighting studio with green-screen.