The Fine and Decorative Art and Design curriculum is based on a simple belief: the fundamental currency of the art world is objects. The Master’s program examines the diverse cultural histories of objects, makers, and markets of each period, focusing on providing a strong foundation in the history of art, iconography, materials, and techniques in America, Europe, and Asia. Students learn how to engage directly with the marketplace and gain essential skills in connoisseurship, valuation, and curation, which are necessary to study and evaluate objects. Whether in sales, valuation, art history, or cultural institution management at museums, galleries, or auction houses — graduates of the Master’s degree program in Fine and Decorative Art and Design are prepared for a range of careers and leave with an expanded professional network.
MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design students analyze a range of objects dating from the Renaissance to the late twentieth century, examining them from a stylistic point of view, but not neglecting the wider historical, social, economic and cultural factors which have influenced the production of these art works. The program aims to develop critical understanding of the terms “fine art,” “decorative art,” and “design” and of the synergies and divergences between art objects across a range of media and periods.
The MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design culminates in a capstone project which can take the form of a traditional, long-form academic thesis, or a more flexible Master’s Project. Students can choose to submit their work in the summer and thereby complete their studies within one year. Alternatively, they can extend their studies into the fall and either transfer to the Institute’s campus in London or return to New York and pursue core courses in either Art Business or Contemporary Art.
Students will spend much of the course looking at objects first-hand in a variety of settings, including museums, art fairs, auction houses and collections, in the United States. They are encouraged to make judgements about the aesthetic value, and sometimes the commercial value, of what they see. The knowledge and experience gained equips them for employment in many different areas of the international art world and alumni can be found working in auction houses, museums and commercial galleries in many different countries.