Instructor: Prof. Elizabeth Demaray

Summer Session 2A 5/29-6/22: M/T/W/Th 10:50AM-1:30PM FA 105

This fun, hands-on, class makes art outside of an art studio by using Alexander von Humboldt, the artist and famous natural scientist, as a model. In this class we will learn botanical rendering, drawing from a microscopic scale, site-collection, installation and site-specific assemblage. Our site work will take place  in the city of Camden and at the Pinelands Field Station. STUDENTS NEED NO BACKGROUND IN ART TO TAKE THIS CLASS. This course is open to ALL MAJORS and offers Gen Ed Credit in Art and Aesthetic Interpretation (AAI).



Syllabus is here:

Art 381: Site-Specific Sculpture

Monday 1:20 P.M. to 5:20 P.M.

FAB 109, 103

Instructor: Elizabeth Demaray


Office: FAB 254

Office hours: Monday 11:00A.M. to 1:00 P.M., Wednesday 12:00 P.M. to 1:00 P.M. (Please e-mail to confirm your attendance.)

There is no one-way to make site-specific-art. Creativity comes from exploring and experimenting. Site-Specific Sculpture will however cover historic and contemporary strategies in responding to materials and site that are found in both natural science and fine art. In this process we will addresses site, place and artistic methods beyond the framework of the fine art studio by using the historic practice of Alexander von Humboldt, who was both an artist and scientist, as a model. On the contemporary side, we will use the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy as a model.

As an experiential learning course will observe, research and respond to ecosystems found in urban and natural environments in four units. Unit 1 and 2 will take place in the city of Camden where we will do observational art and specimen collection near one of Camden’s three Superfund Clean Up Sites. Considering first large-scale urban ecosystems in Unit 1 and then the individual organisms in Unit 2, each student will have the opportunity to research phenomena at the visual and microscopic scale.

The second two units will take place on-site at the Pinelands Field Station. Here, in Unit 3, students research individual organisms through botanical rendering. Unit 4 will consider the Pinelands ecosystem and the nature of natural materials through a site-specific sculptural installation utilizing natural materials.

The final class project will be a student gallery exhibition that considers the similarities and differences between the art created in the urban and non-urban environment.


Each project will be preceded by a slide lecture, student presentations, reading(s) and an instructional workshop that will introduce the basic techniques and materials we will employ. The lectures, presentations and readings will expose you to works that relate to the assignment at hand, while tracing the historical influences of each project.

Course work will consist of, group exercises, group projects, individual artist reports, and individual project-based assignments. It is not possible to complete the assigned tasks and to gain a good understanding of the concepts involved unless you work outside of class time. We encourage you to go beyond the boundaries of the initial assignments to explore your interests and your voice as an artist.

In this class, you will learn to:

  1. Define, evaluate and use a critical vocabulary that facilitates the analysis of both artistic form and content.


  1. Analyze works of site-specific art within a contemporary and historical framework using various critical and theoretical methodologies.


  1. Understand how site-specific art is created.


  1. Exercise your own creative expression in the practice of art making.


  1. Construct and present innovative and cogent interpretations of your own artwork, as well as works of art made by others.


All readings are in the resource folder on out class Saki site. Several of our readings are from the books below. Feel free to purchase these titles or check them out form our library, however you do not need to buy these books to take this class:

Space Site InterventionSituating Installation Art.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.

Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies, by Heather Davis ISBN-13: 978-1785420054

Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology, T. J. Demos, ISBN-13: 978-3956790942

Views of Nature, by Alexander von Humboldt, ISBN-13: 978-0226422473

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, by Andrea Wulf,  ISBN-13: 978-0345806291

Evaluation and Grading

Work is evaluated based on the following criteria:

—Fulfillment of the assignment’s objectives

—Technical execution

—Investment of time and effort

—Aesthetic and conceptual quality

Grades will be based on daily participation in class work, preparation (bringing materials/objects from the big wide world to class), discussions, exercises, critiques, homework (due at the BEGINNING of each class), and field trips, projects and classroom maintenance. Each student is responsible for the removal of his or her own work. No missed classes or work may be made up.

Point Breakdown: Homework, 5%; museum exercise, 5%; midterm, 20%; final, 20%; first four projects, 20%; last two projects, 20%; cleanup, 5%; artist report, 5%.

Attendance Policy

At the beginning of each class, we will have announcements, demos, lecture presentations and readings, so be on time. I expect you to attend and actively participate in class. You will be penalized by grade reduction for missing more than three sessions. This policy accommodates for illness and schedule conflicts during the semester.


Sketchbook, drawing pencils, colored pencils and natural materials found on site.

What You Will Need

A smock is the most important item you will need in ceramics. After that, you should have plastic for covering projects, a spray bottle, a set of clay working tools (available at A.C. Moore), a utility box or shoe box for the various tools you will collect, a sketchbook, and a large plastic bucket and sponge.


Old clothes (no loose-fitting garments), enclosed shoes, hair tied back, and proper protective gear when using power tools.

Safety Precautions

The sculpture faculty insists that all students follow the safety practices taught in class at all times. The first day of class will include an overview of the eye wash station, the Artist’s Handbook, and the Materials Safety Data Handbook.

Storage Space

Your storage space will be indicated with a piece of tape with your name on it and the class you are enrolled in this semester.


No speaking in dead languages.

No baring gums.

All references to the Battle of Britain, the Franco-Prussian War or the Boxer Rebellion must be non-political in nature.

Topic Outline and Summer Class Schedule

May 31 Intro

June 1 Intro to site—image collection

June 2 Urban site sample collection

June 6 2 Urban site, research reports

June 7 Camden site project work time

June 8 Camden site dry-run through

June 9 Camden site project critique. Midterm Review.

June 13 MIDTERM, artist reports assigned

June 14  Artist Reports

June 15 Site visit: Pinelands 

June 16 Project reports, brainstorming

June 18 Saturday Fieldtrip to Pinelands

June 20 No class due to Saturday fieldtrio

June 21 Final Project work-time

June 22 Final Project Dry Run Through. Student Gallery installation. Final review

June 23 Final. Final Class Gallery De-Install, clean up.