Art Practice History

Since the founding of the University of California in 1869, courses in painting, sculpture and drawing were part of the curricula of the Architecture Department, Drawing and Decorative Arts Department, the Department of Domestic Art and the Department of Drawing and Mapping.

In 1915, Assistant Professor of Decorative Design in the Department of Domestic Art, Eugene Neuhaus, lectured on art at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. His lectures at the Exposition and during the years following the Exposition generated so much statewide interest in contemporary fine art that by 1923 the Department of Art Practice was established on the Berkeley campus under the Chairmanship of Professor Eugene Neuhaus. In the 1930's and 1940's, Oliver Washburn, Stephen Pepper and Worth Ryder also served as department Chairs.

During the department's 1930 and 1931 summer sessions, Hans Hoffmann electrified students and the Bay Area community with his concepts on modern art and subsequently donated 45 of his paintings to UC Berkeley. These paintings became the basis for the Berkeley Art Museum's permanent Hans Hoffmann collection. Internationally recognized artist, Chiura Obata, was a member of the Art Practice faculty from 1932 - 1954. In addition to Hoffmann and Obata, the department's faculty has historically included national and internationally acclaimed artists such as Joan Brown, Jay de Feo, David Hockney, Sylvia Lark, and Peter Voulkos.

More recent distinguished artists on our faculty include visiting lecturers Richard Diebenkorn, Enrique Chagoya, Vincent Fecteau, Monica Majoli, Helen Mirra, Kota Ezawa and Marianne Weems.

The department's alumni have used their UC Berkeley training in the visual fine arts as a preparation for careers in advertising, fashion design, gallery entrepreneurship, film editing, film production, museum and gallery curating, graphics, publishing and theater/film set design and construction. Our alumni have gone on to teach at the Academy of Art College, Alfred University, Bennington College, California College of Arts and Crafts, California State University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Chicago Art Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Memphis State University, Notre Dame University, Parsons School of Design, Princeton University, Rutgers University, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco School of Art, San Francisco State University, Stanford University, University of California, University of Minnesota and Yale University.

Former Ladder Faculty Include:     Former Visiting Lecturers Include:

Boyd Allen
Jerry Ballaine
Elmer Bischoff
Christopher Brown
Sid Gordon
John Haley
Karl Kasten
Michelle Lopez
Erle Loran
Jim McCray
James Melchert
George Miyasaki
Mary Lovelace O'Neal
Harold Paris
David Park
Margaret Peterson
Felix Ruvolo
Jacques Schnier
David Simpson
Bryan Wall
Glen Wessels


Pat Adams
Larry Allen
Rich Arnitz
John Beech
Larry Bell
Jedediah Caesar
Shirley Carter
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
Pauletta Chanco
Robert Colescott
Claire Falkenstein
Rene de Guzman
Veronica de Jesus
Miriam Dym
Sam Francis
Nancy Genn
Mary Heilmann
R.B. Kitaj
Marilyn Levin
Anna von Mertens
Robert Morris
Shirin Neshat
Geoff Oppenheimer
Deborah Oropallo
Edauardo Paolozzi
Emmy Lou Packard
Joel Perlmann
Arnoldo Pomodoro
Janis Provisor
Merl Ross
Rudy Serra
Rick Soss
Katherine Spence
Mark Thompson
Nato Thompson
Tree Williams
Helen Wills
Andrew Young

Former Outstanding Speakers Include:

Hans Haacke
Louise Nevelson
Martin Puryear
Lawrence Wiener


Outstanding Alumni Include:
Sarah Cain
Steve DeStaebler
Mark DiSevero
Mark Grotjahn
Tom Holland
Shirin Neshat
Emily Prince
Alicia McCarthy
Will Rogan