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About the Program

The MA in Contemporary Art combines the art historical study of art since 1960 with practical, real-life skills to prepare students for a career in this exciting and growing field. Located in the most important center of the art market, visits and focused travel augment lectures and seminars, taking the program outside the classroom to artist studios, galleries, museums, and private collections. The MA program prepares students for a wide range of careers in the art world, including ethical issues associated with contemporary art; it also cultivates communication and connoisseurship skills necessary to study and evaluate objects, and to engage directly with the marketplace. Students gain knowledge of a wide array of contemporary art including painting, sculpture, photography, and time-based media, as well as digital and ephemeral work. They also analyze methods of display and issues around the curation and collection of art.

About Our MA Students

The MA Contemporary Art student is an independent thinker, has strong observation and communication skills, and is aware of the latest developments in contemporary art and culture. Our typical student is dynamic, entrepreneurial, and eager to work on both academic and practical levels, combining academic rigor in the discipline of contemporary art history with market knowledge of current trends and developments in the international art world.

Our Curriculum

Click here to view our 2017-18 Master's Degree Curriculum and Courses (PDF)


Explore our Viewbook, click here to receive a copy.

MA Contemporary Art Meet Kathy Battista, Director of Contemporary Art in New York
The Details
  • Curriculum


    Click here to view our 2017-18 Master's Degree Curriculum and Courses (PDF)
  • Faculty
  • Course Fees

    Course Fees

    Program fees 2017-2018

    Semester 1: $22,300
    Semester 2: $23,300
    Semester 3: $23,300

    Travel Study Fees:
    Semester 1 and 2: $6,800

    Click here
    to apply.

    Note: course offerings subject to change pending annual curriculum review
  • Field Trips And Study Visits

    Field Trips And Study Visits

    MACA NY Field Study trips

    Fall 2013 and Fall 2015: Venice Biennale and Milan
    This field study class takes students to the oldest and most important biennial exhibition, La Biennale Venezia. Students gain a deeper understanding of recent curatorial practice as well as the market implications of this type of exhibition. Students are also encouraged to consider how transnationalism has impacted an outdated notion of national representation. In addition to spending two days at the Biennale, where students work in seminar groups to give presentations on works of art as well as have direct interaction with Biennale curatorial staff, they also visit important local collections including Punta della Dogana, Palazzo Grazzi and Palazzo Fortuny. Optional studio visits with Venice based artists are offered in the evenings and have included Michele Bubbacco and Mariteresa Sartori. Students also travel to Milan where we visit the Prada Foundation, the Trussardi Foundation and Pirelli Bicocca and meet with curatorial staff.

    Spring 2015 and 2016: Beijing and Shanghai, China
    This field study class takes place in two major cities for art production in China. We start in Beijing where students meet with gallerists from leading spaces including Red Gate Gallery, the 798 art district and Caochangdi. Several studio visits to artists represented by leading international galleries (Qiu Ting, Wu Jian’an, and Cai Jin among others) offer students the opportunity to discuss art production. These are complemented by visits to major private collections, including Zhang Rui’s home, which is modeled after the Guggenheim NY. Students also visit important non-profit institutions, such as Ullens Center for Contemporary Art and major museums. In Shanghai students concentrate on gallery visits and museum exhibitions including the Rockbund Center. A visit to the Shanghai Biennial is a central component of this segment of the trip. Assignments for this class include group presentations before the trip as well as student led seminar discussions on site.

    Fall 2016: ARTBO, Bogota, Colombia
    This field study trip immerses students in an emerging market for contemporary art. Students visit the ARTBO, the International Art Fair of Bogota, and have the chance to meet with gallerists from Latin America and beyond. Students will also visit local galleries including Rincon, Casas Reinger, artist studios and private collections. Museum visits include the Modern Art museum and the Gold Museum.

    Related assignments for this trip include student presentations before traveling and written responses to the art fair and local art scene.

    Spring 2017: Sharjah Biennial, Art Dubai and Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
    MACA’s field study to the United Arab Emirates visits three sites for art production, exhibition and sales in that region. Students spend two days at Sharjah Biennial, which in the past two decades has grown into a major destination in the contemporary art world. Here students give seminar presentations on an artist or installation previously assigned to them. Students also visit Art Dubai as well as the Global Art Forum, a distinguished talks series held during this international fair. In Dubai students visit major galleries including Third Line and others in the Al Quoz district as well as private collections, for example the Flying House. Students also take a day trip to Abu Dhabi to visit Saadiyat Island, the site of the future Guggenheim Museum.

    Assignments for this trip include group presentations before traveling, presentations on works of art on site.
  • Access To Top Art Research Centers

    Access To Top Art Research Centers

    In addition to research and study at the New York campus library, Sotheby's Institute of Art students have access to some of the top art research centers in the Unites States. These include the Museum of Modern Art Library, which houses a comprehensive collection devoted to modern and contemporary art, and the Frick Art Reference Library, with collections relate chiefly to paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints from the fourth to the mid-twentieth centuries by European and American artists. For the full list of New York City area resources click here.
  • Contact And Request Information

    Contact And Request Information

    For further information, please contact:
    Anupama Chakravartti, Associate Director of Admissions
    Email: or Request Information
    T +1.646.438.7234

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