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. 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 graduate program emphasizes the process of artistic development through small critique seminars and individual tutorials with faculty. Students are pushed to engage deeply with the ideas behind—as well as successfully execute and document—projects that explore cross-media practices, alternative contexts of production, and new models for exhibition.
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.
Students receive studio space, accessible 24 hours a day, in the Graduate Center, which also houses a computer lab, film and photography studios, and installation rooms. New Genres resources at the Chestnut Street campus include two studios/performance spaces/classrooms with Internet connection; video and slide projectors; support for VHS, miniDV, and U-matic video formats; four enclosed editing rooms; AVID and Final Cut Pro editing stations; an audio editing room; a dub room; a fully equipped lighting studio with green-screen; and a computer lab with the latest digital technologies and software.