Art History / Art Business / Art New York

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


Students enrolled in this Exploration course will survey the fields of art history, art business, and contemporary art, focusing on the complex and dynamic art being created in New York City today. Guided by expert educators and leaders in the field, our Exploration courses focus on the intersectionality between topics. In this course, 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. The program is geared toward students eager to discover their passions, try something new, and prepare for college. From site visits and excursions to lectures by expert practitioners, 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.


Site Visits

In the past, site visits have included:

  • Sotheby’s auction house
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • Top galleries such as Gagosian & Hauser and Wirth
  • The High Line, the elevated park that leads to New York’s newest neighborhood Hudson Yards with the Vessel sculpture & the high-tech art venue The Shed
  • Art neighborhoods, such as Chelsea & the Lower East Side


Guest Speakers

In the past, guest speakers have included:

  • Museum curators & educators
  • Auction house specialists
  • Gallery directors
  • Art appraisers
  • Art logistics & entrepreneurship experts
  • Art critics
  • Artists


Materials Fee: $250


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 21 to July 3

This summer, we’re offering 14 unique courses for Summer Institute students. All courses are open to rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors. Explore the full summer schedule to learn more about course dates.

View Summer Schedule

What is an Exploration?

Explorations are designed to introduce students to three different fields of work and study 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 guided tours of some of New York City’s top art museums. Students will learn about major artists and art movements from antiquity to modernism through visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Who decides which artists and artworks belong in museums? 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 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 digital marketplaces, changing the business landscape.

  • 3

    Art New York: Students will experience the contemporary art scene in New York first-hand and will learn the top names in current art movements at venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art. Students will also investigate the different types of media favored by contemporary artists, and dip into the world of emerging artists through a visit to an artist’s studio or by exploring neighborhoods that have been home to cutting-edge artists and galleries, such as Chelsea, Bushwick, and Harlem.

Summer Institute Faculty

Our instructors are award-winning Sotheby's Institute faculty, recognized thought leaders and professional experts in the art world. 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

Experience New York

  • New York City New York City

    With New York City as their campus, students will have access to all the city has to offer, attending field trips, site visits and special events.

  • Speaker Series Speaker Series

    Summer Institute students have unique opportunities to connect with the most accomplished artists and art professionals working today.

  • Housing Housing

    Summer Institute students have the option of living on campus in the university dormitories or commuting to class from their local residence.

  • Dining Dining

    University cafeteria-style dining halls serve a wide variety of healthy alternatives for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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