Fine Arts: About

Blanche & Romie Shapiro

Art has always been a difficult concept to define. Applying the question of art to the present could turn the question into an argument. What turns a video clip, a sculpture, a stage show or a painting into a work of art? How should one go about teaching something so elusive, so fluid, so fragile – and yet so enigmatic and magical? Talent cannot be taught, but it is possible to hone intuition, evoke curiosity, skepticism and criticism, provide tools for thought and bolster self confidence, through which the student may develop as an artist.

The formation of a creative artist is a complex process whose sources cannot be deciphered and whose results cannot be anticipated. Art expands and breaks through boundaries all the time – never resting on its laurels. It embraces new media and produces infinite connections and combinations; occasionally, it abandons traditional tools only to revive them at unexpected times.

The Department of Fine Arts at the Bezalel Academy provides unique personal knowledge and the optimal conditions for personal progress through a sound technical, historic and theoretical foundation and through encounters with numerous active artists, some of whom are among the country's most senior artists, as well as with guest lecturers from abroad. These encounters with numerous and diversified viewpoints enable each student to develop an independent and critical perspective of his/her own and refine the forms of expression and formulation that best suit his/her creative output. The Department places the emphasis on the creative output and on how it is presented to the audience, as well as on the political implications associated with the artistic creation process and the presentation thereof.

The natural habitat of the artist is the free-play field of the creative and interpretive forces known as "culture". The learning process at the Department of Fine Arts leads the student, while he/she is being evaluated according to academic criteria, toward the status of an independent artist, who evaluates himself/herself within the cultural reality outside the realm of academia.

The Department of Fine Arts at the Bezalel Academy offers a 4-year bachelor's degree program whose graduates are awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A) degree. The master's degree (M.F.A) program enables the students to focus on their personal work as members in a community of creative artists and as explorers engaged in an on-going critical and theoretical discourse.



First Year and Second Year

The first year consists of compulsory introductory courses in which students are exposed to a wide range of perspectives and activities in the principal media fields: drawing, painting, sculpture, printing, photography and computers. Students also take part in a conceptual workshop. Second year students  assemble their own schedule, made up of both compulsory and optional courses.

Third Year and Fourth Year

Students in the third and fourth years are to a large degree free to determine the nature and content of their studies according to their own personal preferences and can choose from the various optional courses offered in the academy in general, and the department in particular. The third year is devoted primarily to the preparation of a personal assignment under the guidance of at least two supervisors in the framework of the departmental “meeting points”, and will also include a semestrial multi-departmental course, and five optional semestrial courses (one of which can be in a different department). During the course of the first semester and towards the end of the second semester, the third year students will make a presentation to be critiqued in the framework of the “meeting points”.
In the fourth year, in addition to supervised and optional courses, a compulsory course (fourth year forum) is held. Each student prepares one exhibition during the course of the year and a final exhibition at the end of the year, which is presented before a team of external critics. Eligibility for admission to the personal workshop in the third and fourth years is conditional upon continuous utilization of the workshop as an active work space during the entire academic year.