The global art market is the circulatory system of the art world. Business transactions are the lifeblood of the system, moving art from the studio to the gallery, the auction room, the collector’s home, and the museum. Along the way, artists, dealers, art advisors, curators, art handlers, insurers, and auction house experts engage in a complicated dance to build and sustain the value of the work and the careers and interests of all parties. Our pioneering Art Business program provides a vocational bridge for art history students into this vast commercial art world. Art Business is now a developed academic discipline in which Sotheby’s Institute continues to play the leading role. Balancing academic rigor with real-world applications in a dynamic learning environment with privileged access to key art institutions — this program equips graduates with the skills and knowledge in art markets and business management, entrepreneurship, connoisseurship, and collecting.
To ensure the health and safety of our students, this Master’s program (starting in January 2021) will be offered in a hybrid format. The program may be completed remotely or customized for in-person components.
The MA in Art Business was the first program of its kind and our innovative curriculum continues to set the industry standard. Balancing academic rigor with real-world applications in a dynamic environment, the program provides an alternative to traditional academic models of study and stays in sync with the rapidly-evolving global art market. Core competencies in the art business world, from finance to marketing, are gained through courses that use the business-related tenets of economics to generate a modern, consistent, formal framework for strategic decision-making. In addition to learning with our faculty of thought leaders, scholars, and industry experts, students are given opportunities to engage professionals in the New York and international arts and cultural community and to learn directly from practitioners who are leaders in their field. Courses in art law, valuation, sales, strategy, marketing, and finance lay the foundation upon which students build a specialized program that suits their needs.
The Master’s degree is awarded for 30 taught credits across semesters one and two, as well as the completion of a 6-credit thesis or capstone project in the third semester.
In the first semester, Navigating the Art World brings students from all MAs together for faculty lectures and expert panel discussions to investigate the inextricable connections between art and business in today’s economy. In addition to a full course load, students participate in two in-person or virtual field study trips in semesters one and two. Students may elect to undertake an internship to gain practical skills or take one elective to broaden their expertise.
The MA in Art Business culminates in a capstone project which can take the form of a traditional, long-form academic thesis, or a more flexible Master’s Project (often a business plan or curatorial project). Students may also elect to extend their studies an additional semester and either transfer to the Institute’s campus in London or return to New York and pursue core courses in either Contemporary Art or Fine and Decorative Art and Design.