When you declare a major in studio art, you are given two different lists of artists' names. The longer list represents your responsibility for the senior comprehensive, which is a major component of Art 401. It will be in the form of an oral exam, and the grade from this exam will be combined with the evaluation of your senior exhibition in order to determine whether you have successfully completed Art 401. The shorter list will be the basis of your oral exam in the junior year. You will register for this as Art 397.
The test on the 397 list is designed to give you practice in preparing for the senior oral, and we have structured the grading so that it is difficult to fail and difficult to excel. Because the test for Art 397 is nearly impossible to fail, it will not be administered more than once. Failure will require registering for the course again. From the list of 100 names, you will be tested on a random selection of 35. The grading scale is as follows:
| A ||32 - 35|| C ||14 - 16|
| A- ||29 - 31|| C- ||11 - 13|
| B+ ||26 - 28|| D+ ||8 - 10|
| B ||23 - 25|| D ||5 - 7|
| B- ||20 - 22|| F ||0 - 4|
| C+ ||17 - 19|| |
During the semester of enrollment in Art 397, you are expected to be working independently on a body of studio work. The results of this effort will be presented at the time of your oral and will affect your final grade.
Your senior oral exam will be on a random selection of 50 names from the 401 list. The grading scale is as follows:
| A ||49 - 50|| C ||37 - 38|
| A- ||47 - 48|| C- ||35 -36|
| B+ ||45 - 46|| D+ ||33 - 34|
| B || 43 - 44|| D ||30 - 32|
| B- ||41 - 42|| F ||0 - 29|
| C+ ||39 - 40|| |
Because the senior oral is more difficult, you may retake it if you fail. The new grade will be adjusted down one grade level for each failure. Three opportunities to pass the oral exam will be the limit, after which you must re-register for the course. In the event of this happening, credit for the successful completion of the senior exhibition will carry over to the semester in which you pass the oral.
The Modern (Art 220) and Contemporary (Art 318) art history courses are extremely helpful in providing a framework for Art 397 and 401. Additionally, you will need to spend considerable time in the library with books and periodicals. It may be helpful to study in pairs or groups. Please do not limit your study to memorizing notes and examples of works off a card. We will ask you questions to be sure your comprehension extends beyond the ability to give titles in response to an artist's name. You need to be able to visualize the work.
You should be able to close your eyes and enter a room where representative selections of an artist's work are visible; then be able to describe that work to us in your own words stressing such issues as scale, color, surface, materials, and subject matter. We will expect you to know some biographical details about the artist, but not trivia such as date of birth and death. It is useful to know artists' country of origin, the group or movement they are commonly associated with, the general period in history during which that group was active, their different periods of work, and whether or not they are still alive. In the case of living artists, we will want to know what they are doing now (you will need the periodicals for this).
Your final grade for Art 401 will be a combination (not a strict average) of the oral grade, your overall performance on the oral that might not be reflected by the grade, and our evaluation of your senior exhibition.
Your senior exhibition is to be selected by you as a statement about your work at Davidson. Your evaluation will be based on the quality of your selection, the presentation (framing, matting, etc.), installation, and promotion.