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Street art is often seen as an expression of rebellion against the establishment. So why has street art become so popular at the upper end of the art market? Why did a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat sell for over $110.5 million at Sotheby’s? Why is Banksy worth upwards of $50 million? This class will examine how street art has become high art, and how some of its practitioners have used their celebrity status to bring attention to social and political issues. Lectures will consider why the art world has embraced the work of street artists such as Basquiat, Banksy, and Keith Haring, and how artists like Mr. Brainwash and David Choe are challenging the traditional art market. Can street artists still control their messaging when their work is sold within the context of the traditional art market? And what happens to a counterculture movement when it becomes mainstream?

Students will learn:

  • To identify important street artists, the visual characteristics of their work, and the social and political causes that they champion.
  • To understand how and why street art has been transformed into high art through the art world’s embrace of this work as a valuable commodity.
  • To assess the implications of this transformation both for the art market and for street artists themselves.
The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    Dates: July 6 – July 17, 2020
    Times: Monday – Friday; 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Location: The course will take place at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, 570 Lexington Avenue, New York, 6th floor.
  • Faculty


    Coming in early 2020.
    Our instructors are award-winning Sotheby's Institute faculty, recognized thought leaders, and professional experts in the art world.
  • Sample Topics & Site Visits

    Sample Topics & Site Visits

    Sample Topics:

    • The history of street art and its rise in New York City

    • An overview of street art practices

    • Major practitioners of street art in New York

    • How street artists challenge the traditional art market

    • Why street artists have been embraced by the traditional art market

    • The commodification of street art and how it affects the artwork’s social and political message

    • The future of street art

    Past site visits have included:
    The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, street art and mural tours in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood, the Bowery Wall, artists’ studios, and more.
    Past guest speakers have included:
    Street artists, street art website and publication editors, art licensing executives, and museum directors
    Each summer, faculty update their syllabi to reflect current trends and exhibitions. Topics are not comprehensive and are subject to change.
  • Certificate Of Completion

    Certificate Of Completion

    The New York - Summer Institute offers its courses on a non-credit basis. Participants who attend the majority of classes receive a digital Certificate of Completion. This certificate can easily be added to social media networks.
  • Course Fees

    Course Fees

    Course: $2,400
    Institute Fees:

    • A $50 registration fee beginning March 16, 2020

    • This fee increases to $100 on April 16, 2020

    Course fees include course-based site visits, materials, and guest speakers. Transportation and accommodation are the responsibility of the participant.
    Register for Multiple Courses to Save:
    - Take one 2-week course: $2400
    - Take one 4-week course and one 2-week course: $5800 ($350 savings)
    - Take two 2-week courses: $4550 ($250 savings)
    Further offers may apply for additional coursework.
  • Further Details

    Further Details

    While our New York – Summer Institute is non-residential, our Housing Resources page provides essential information and external resources for participants researching their options. More information will be available in the coming weeks.
    All courses are conducted in English; a good working knowledge of the language’s spoken and written form is recommended, although no certification is required.
    International participants should review the U.S. Government’s official Visa website and contact their country of origin's embassy/government office before registering. Our New York – Summer Institute continuing education, non-credit courses do not qualify for student visa sponsorship.
  • Registration & Contact Information

    Registration & Contact Information

    The New York – Summer Institute is open to anyone at least eighteen years with a high school diploma or the equivalent. Registration requires basic personal information and full payment by credit or debit card.
    Website registration is available from our website 24/7.
    Click here to register now.
    Our Terms & Conditions include information on program details and cancellation policies. Once registration information and payment are received, an email confirmation will be sent to you within 24 hours.
    For further information, course advisement, or registration assistance, please contact:
    Hayley Black, Admissions Advisor

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