Art History / Art Business / Art New York

Understand the art world from all angles through an online immersion in art’s history, economics, and the vibrant contemporary art scene of New York City.


Students enrolled in this online Exploration course will survey the fields of art history, art business, and contemporary art, focusing on the complex and dynamic artwork being created in the art market today. In a dynamic virtual environment that balances a variety of expert-led live sessions with self-paced modules, students will explore how a variety of art world players come together to make New York City into one of the top art capitals of the world.


Our multidisciplinary approach to learning encourages students to sample different fields and employ critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills. Designed and led by industry experts with extensive online teaching experience, the course’s live video sessions and interactive activities will engage students in an exploration of their passions and help them prepare for college. The Explorations program is curated to give students a newfound sense of direction for their future studies by shedding light on a diverse selection of subject material.


Virtual site visits may include:

• Global museums, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
• Online viewing rooms at world-renowned art galleries, such as David Zwirner, and Hauser & Wirth
• Virtual guided tours of New York City’s art neighborhoods, such as Chelsea in Manhattan with its many art galleries
• Behind the scenes at Sotheby’s auction house
• Artsy’s headquarters
• Artists’ studios


Global guest speakers may include:

• Auction house experts, specialists, and world-famous auctioneers
• Online art sales entrepreneurs
• Gallery directors
• Museum curators
• Collectors at their homes for a private virtual visit
• Artists working in new media
• Art writers


Self-paced activities and projects may include:

• Designing an exhibition proposal by curating artworks from the collections of top museums and galleries worldwide
• Creating interpretive materials for artworks in a museum or gallery, such as wall labels and text for an audio guide
• Building entrepreneurship skills by creating a business proposal and plan for a new art-related venture
• Writing a short review of an art exhibition presented through an online viewing room



  • Giovanni Aloi is an art historian specializing in the history and theory of photography, representations of nature, and everyday objects in art. He has published with Columbia University Press and Phaidon. Aloi is a faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, where he teaches both in person and online. Aloi studied art history in Milan before obtaining his postgraduate diploma in art history at Goldsmiths University in London, where he also earned a Doctorate. Aloi taught Art History for Sotheby’s Summer Institute-Pre College in 2019.
  • Sonja Wosnitzer began her career in fixed income markets, spending several years at boutique investment funds and trading firms in New York City. Wosnitzer received her Master of Arts degree in visual arts management in 2018 from New York University, where she authored her thesis on applications of blockchain technology and engaged extensively with online art trading platforms. Currently, Wosnitzer leverages prior experience at Sonnabend Gallery and Lincoln Center Corporate Fund to serve clients in private alternative asset consulting. She taught Art Business for Sotheby’s Summer Institute-Pre College in 2019.
  • Aimee Walleston is a New York City-based essayist and editor, who has worked for magazines including W, Interview, Jane, and The Last Magazine. She also has contributed reviews, essays, and interviews to numerous publications including Art in America, Flash Art, The Brooklyn Rail, T Magazine, and CR Fashion Book. Walleston taught Art Writing for Sotheby’s Summer Institute -Pre College in 2019, and she has extensive experience teaching for Sotheby’s Institute of Art online. Walleston holds an MFA in art criticism and writing from the School of Visual Arts in New York.


Tech Fee: $75


Please note: This information is subject to change at any time at the discretion of Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Term Dates

Term dates and course availability depend heavily on instructors’ schedules.

  • Term 2 June 22 to July 3 Term Closed

All courses are open to rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors. Explore the full online summer schedule.

View Summer Schedule

What is an Exploration?

Explorations are designed to introduce students to three distinct topics in a two-week Institute term. This survey approach to learning enables students to make cross-disciplinary connections and informed decisions about their academic and career choices.

Course Highlights

Summer Institute enables students to dive deep into a course of study, sharpening skills for their academic and professional careers. Each course is carefully designed to suit student interests and encourage intellectual curiosity.

  • 1

    Art History: Students will get a taste of art history through virtual guided tours of some of the world’s top art museums. Students will learn about major artists and art movements from antiquity to modernism through online visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Students will engage in institutional critiques, analyzing issues around who decides which artists and artworks belong in museums, and what makes art into art history.

  • 2

    Art Business: Students will get an insider’s look into how the multibillion-dollar business of art operates by exploring today’s art market through virtual visits to galleries, studios, and an auction house. Students will gain an understanding of both primary and secondary art markets and the newest developments, such as how digital marketplaces are changing the business landscape.

  • 3

    Art New York: Students will experience the contemporary art scene in New York firsthand through virtual visits to New York City galleries, and will learn the top names in current art movements. Students will also investigate the different types of media favored by contemporary practitioners, and dip into the world of emerging artists through a virtual tour of an artist’s studio.

Summer Institute Faculty

Our instructors are award-winning Sotheby's Institute faculty, recognized thought leaders and professional experts in the international art world who have extensive online teaching experience. Each faculty member structures their course around real-time conversations defining their professions and helps students master the unique forces at play in the art world.

Summer Institute Faculty

Sign up for updates about our programs, courses and events.