Art in the Global Context, Czech Republic

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2020 Dates

Pre-Week: July 27 - 31 (This is a required readings week. No meetings, but all readings must be completed prior to your arrival abroad)

Prague: August 2 - 4

Berlin: August 5 - 7

ArtMill: August 8 - 23

End Date: August 23

Program Overview

In this immersive studio art class, students create site-responsive sculptures, drawings, performances, and installations that explore art in a global context. Using the rich history and culture of Central Europe as site and locale, the class will travel to contemporary art museums, cultural and historical sites in Prague and Berlin (1 week), then create responsive artworks on-site at ArtMill’s Center for Sustainability, in the Bohemian countryside, Czech Republic (2 weeks). Studio assignments, lectures, conceptual, fabrication practices, and critique will be led by UCSC Professor Dee Hibbert-Jones; artist and writer Barbara Benish, Director of ArtMill, as well as visiting faculty and professional artists from the Czech Republic. Students will create original artworks that explore the complex relationship between object-making, place-making, aesthetics, and cultural identity in a global context through four themed projects with a strong emphasis on art and sustainability. Working with found objects on-site, performance, photography and new media students will create site-responsive work There will be a final exhibition on-site and open to the public. Our themed topics are:

  • Global (im)mobility free markets, art fairs, non-places (Orientation, travel to museums, galleries, artist studios in Prague & Berlin)
  • Appropriation: found objects, borrowed cultures, local origins, Americanization (Orientation at ArtMill Center & Studios)
  • Participation Networks: participation, cooperation, local/ global relationships (Participatory artwork in public space: Prague, Bohemia, ArtMill Center)
  • Wastelands: global environmental impacts and ecologies (Site-specific environmental projects ArtMill Center)

This program is limited capacity.

Max Enrollment: 16

Language of Instruction: English

Study Abroad Program Coordinator: Krissy Loveman

Faculty Leader: Dee Hibbert-Jones

Second Program Leader: Barbara Benish


Art 189: Art in the Global Context (5 units) - required

Independent Study (2 units) - optional

Program Highlights

Prague, Czech Republic
Visit the National Gallery of Contemporary Art for an overview of European trends in art housed in the revolutionary architecture of Veletrzni Palace, one of the icons of early Functionalist architecture. Discussion on Non-places, jet-setting, in-between-ness & exile. The site was also used as a deportation center for Prague Jews during WWII.

Visit American architect Frank Ghery’s “Fred & Ginger” Building in Prague’s historic river-front Baroque neighborhood; Walking tour with architecture expert and critic Dr. Jana Ticha to the Zizkov district, home of Bohemian Prague’s historic working-class neighborhood and today’s alternative art scene. Dr. Ticha is editor of the nation’s top architectural magazine and is Professor at the Architecture Academy. Students will discuss public/private art, & Local/global culture.

Walking tour along Vltava River to view ArtWall, (founded by Barbara Benish in the late 1990’s) and the Center for Contemporary Art, Prague. It is the country’s most widely viewed public art space. Q and A with the artist: How political is Public Art? What is the impact on the local of the global how to access and reach “the public”.

Walk to Narodni Divadlo/National Theatre for behind the scenes tour with award-winning Scenographer Jana Prekova. Guided discussion on the “Velvet Revolution” (1989) and how artists contributed to political change (Narodni street), with NYU teacher and former dissident Jan Urban (Voice of America). Students prepare a discussion on nationalism, democracy, and the power of the people to influence. Global relationships, labor, and mobilizing the image.

Visit Museum Kampa to visit one of the largest collection of F. Kupka in Europe and the most comprehensive Central European contemporary art collection. Discussion on nationalism, democracy, and the power of the people to create change. Global relationships, labor, and mobilizing the image.The topic for students: Inter-war creative expressions, end of Colonial (Hapsburg) rule, and the establishment of 1st Republic (Czechoslovakia), how the arts reflected the new democracies of Europe. Global relationships, labor, and mobilizing the image cont.

Visit the Museum of Technology, documenting the rise of design in pre-WWII Czechoslovakia when the country was the 3rd largest industrial nation in Europe. Tour and discussion with some of the top Czech Contemporary Designers. Topic: cross-currents of inter-war Czechoslovakia and today’s art scene, the power of the object, readymade vs. mass production, global regulations, and the power of the internet.

Berlin, Germany
See Neue Nationalgalerie, the New National Gallery housing modern art in the iconic building by Mies van der Rohe (1968). Tour with local artist Monika Brandmeier. Tour galleries in the bustling district of Kreuzberg and Sammlung Boros in a massive former World War II bunker in the heart of Berlin. Discuss works by internationally renowned artists on site. Address topics of cultural appropriation and the influence of ubiquitous US culture on the world.


See the Summer 2020 Presentation.


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