Serena Himmelfarb

Five College Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
Serena Himmelfarb
Contact Serena

Mail Code MB
Serena Himmelfarb
Arts Barn 2 FL
413.559.5321

Serena Aurora Day Himmelfarb, five college visiting assistant professor of art, holds an M.F.A from the California Institute of the Arts, Post-Bacc Certificate from the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, and a B.A from Hampshire College.

Originally from Chicago, Serena is currently based out of Los Angeles. Their studio practice blends traditional methods of direct observation and more idiosyncratic processes based in post-studio methodologies. They are rooted in queer, feminist, and reproductive justice frameworks, whether geo-political, interpersonal, or internal.

Serena has recently shown at JOAN gallery, The Annenberg Beach House and Western Exhibitions. They have been included in Printed Matter's L.A Book Fair, and Other Places Art Fair. In 2018, they received a Research & Practice fellowship to study pedagogy in the arts.

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • This studio arts course will explore a broad range of strategies, processes, and materials. Students will be exposed to a variety of approaches to art making through small, guided prompts as well as two independent projects. Students will undertake research particular to their materials, interests, and processes. Slide lectures introduce the class to contemporary and historical artists and art movements across cultural perspectives. From the dollhouse to the forest, soft sculpture to performative objects, this course embraces an expanded definition of studio art.

  • This class investigates the line drawn (or is it painted?) between two studio art processes: painting and drawing. Where does one stop and the other begin? What does it look like to draw like a painter? Working with and on a variety of media, students will be introduced to new materials and techniques while expanding ideas behind their own art practice. Alongside in-class studio work, research, critique, and community are highly valued in this course. Materials provided for in-class work are paid for by the lab fee.

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  • This painting course will introduce students to the fundamentals of working with paint. In addition to a material exploration of painting, we will also investigate the conceptual possibilities available to contemporary painting. We will anchor our discussion around one central question, "What is a landscape?" We will begin to answer this question through practice by creating paint from pigments found in nature. We will then explore notions of representation and abstraction through various painting performances in the studio and outside. Students will ultimately create their own work through guided prompts that expand the idea of landscape and painting. (keywords: painting, landscape, environment)

  • Introduction to Studio Art Practices - The Generative Drift: In this drawing-centered course, we will be surveying and responding to a range of mediums, (im)material sources, and transcultural artists. Students will gain experience with new and alternative studio processes to create guided and self-directed projects. While we will approach the course from a drawing perspective, students may use mixed media, sound, performance, found materials, alongside traditional drawing mediums. Discussion of readings and lectures will be paired with experiential labs and critiques. This course is suitable for students at all levels of experience, from beginner to advanced. (keywords: painting, studio art, drawing, intro, foundation)

  • Mark / Make / Work asks what art can do. It is a communal exercise and urgent exploration of social engagement through art practices. This class examines cultural interventions and distruptions by contemporary and historical art movements. It looks at transgressions of literal and metaphorical barriers - political, societal, geological, ecological, internal. Work made in this class is expected to live in the world. Class will take the form of discussions and presentations, with two stagings of interventions - collaborative or individual. (keywords: studio art, installation, politics)

  • A soundscape is an environment of sounds with emphasis on the way it is perceived, understood, and inhabited by individuals, groups, societies, or non-humans. This course invites participants from diverse disciplines to investigate their sonic environments as artist-as-scientist or scientist-as-artist, sensing, surveying and responding to a range of mediums. This course will explore bridges between sound, art, and ecology. Drawing from the fields of sound art, eco-musicology, acoustic and soundscape ecology, physics, and environmental art, students are encouraged to consistently experiment through small, prompt driven projects, and collectively directed rambles. How is the landscape organized and transformed by sound? How is noise pollution impacting ecosystems, organisms, and human health and communities? In what ways do observation, deep listening and critical listening enhance our understanding of the world? Students will be given a wide range of possibilities for course projects such as conservation, ecology and environmental studies, cultural perspectives, art-making, music-making and sound composition. This course requires walking in variable terrain and weather. (keywords: sound, art, ecology, science)