New Genres

SFAI’s New Genres program has strong roots in the history of conceptual art, where the artist’s concepts, intentions, and questions are the art medium and the work itself.

Initially founded as a major in performance art and video, New Genres quickly expanded to also encompass site specificity, social practices, and other trans-disciplinary media and approaches.

New Genres courses are post-studio laboratories for experimentation and discovery, in which students are challenged to respond to society and culture by identifying the best means of expression for each individual work. Dialogue and discussion are key tools in the advancement of ideas that become manifest in the form of the work.

Past Courses

  • Internet Killed the Video Star
  • Athletic Aesthetic
  • Photoworks: Conceptual Photography
  • Embodiment for Artists
  • We Want the Airwaves
  • Conceptual Drawing
  • The Temporary: Performance, Interventions, Installation
  • Advanced Video: The Moving Image
  • Issues in Contemporary Art: Conceptual Landscape


New Genres resources include shared spaces throughout campus: studio/performance spaces/classrooms with Internet connection; video,VHS, miniDV, and U-matic video formats; the latest digital cameras; 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 (studio X).


See a sample four-year academic plan in the BFA in New Genres program to help you decide what courses to take when.

Summary of Required Credits

Liberal Arts Requirements (Examples: Global Social Movements, Un/Natural Ideologies, Concepts of Creativity, Mathematics: A Visual History, Extinction)33
Studio & General Elective Requirements 72
Art History Requirements15

New Genres Studio Requirements

Contemporary Practice3
New Genres I3
New Genres II3
Issues in Contemporary Art3
Installation Distribution3
Keeping Record3
New Genres Electives (Ex: Advanced Video, Experiments in Narrative, What's Cooking?)15
Senior Review Seminar3
Electives in any Studio Discipline (Ex: Bookbinding, Intaglio, Three Dimensional Collage)24
General Electives (Ex: Sacred and Profane, Sound Installation)9
BFA Graduate Exhibition0

Art History Requirements

Topics and Foundations in Global Visual Culture3
Topics and Foundations in Contemporary Art3
History of the Major3
Art History Elective3
Art History Elective3


Sharon Grace (Professor Emerita)

Doug Hall (Professor Emeritus)

Paul Kos (Professor Emeritus)

Tony Labat (MFA Program Director)

Mads Lynnerup (New Genres Department Chair)

See the full list of current faculty.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Students engage a broad cross section of local, national, and international artists, scholars, and communities in mutual exploration of art, and the roles, responsibilities, and integrity of art and the artist in society.
  • Students gain the ability to think critically and develop creatively as a result ongoing, intensive critiques.
  • Students develop working methods that reflect their individual personalities within the framework of contemporary practice and dialogue.
  • Students gain the ability to conceive of works through interdisciplinary thinking and production, promoting non-media specific approaches to artistic practice.
  • Students gain the ability to demonstrate some historical and theoretical understanding of relevant practices as they pertain to the student’s work, and develop the ability to utilize this knowledge as part of a studio practice.
  • Students gain the ability to research and generate conceptual ideas and then go on to connect these ideas to a material practice.
  • Students gain the ability to identify the most suitable form for one’s ideas. Mastery in this form is expected.
  • Students gain the ability to take conceptual risks.
  • Students gain the ability to understand and articulate the conceptual basis of the work in terms of content, methodology, and intended audience.