Although the program primarily focuses on Contemporary Art from 1960 to the present, students also receive an introduction to art and theory from the post-war period (1945-60), which serves as a springboard for the program and an important point of reference throughout. This program combines art history, curatorial studies, critical theory, and professional development. The program gives students key intellectual and practical skills to work in the production, exhibition, and sale of contemporary art. The program is anchored in the close study of visual art and critical thought, with an emphasis on professional skills and in situ learning in the galleries, museums, and artists’ studios of New York City and beyond. Students are trained to be conversant with art’s objects and ideas as well as the commercial and institutional contexts in which they are embedded, preparing them for a wide range of careers in the art world.
Designed to immerse students in all aspects of the Contemporary art scene, this program provides students with privileged access to arts professionals and guest speakers drawn from every sector of the industry.
The program’s first semester supplies foundations in the study of objects, ideas, histories, and exhibitions. In the second semester, we examine the history of art since 2000; we survey key institutions — galleries, auction houses and museums — through which contemporary art flows; and a course on business skills covers keys areas in art law, commerce, and fine art valuation. An intensive program of lectures by faculty members and guest speakers of international standing, virtual and in-person visits to major New York and international venues, as well as small group seminars, workshops, and student presentations, help students gain confidence in reflecting and speaking on all forms of contemporary art – from painting and sculpture to video and installation as well as the most recent web-based, collaborative, and multidisciplinary practices
The Master’s degree is awarded for 30 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 semester two, students undertake an internship or choose a Careers in the Art World option to gain practical skills and take one elective to broaden their expertise. In addition to a full course load, students participate in field study trips.
The MA in Contemporary Art 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 Art Business or Fine and Decorative Art and Design.