Art / Luxury / Fashion

Please note this course is at capacity and no longer accepting applications. 


From the photoshoot to the catwalk, learn about the fascinating history and contemporary relationship between art, luxury, and fashion.


Students enrolled in this Explorations course will survey both the historical and contemporary relationships between art, luxury, and fashion. Guided by expert educators and leaders in the field, our Explorations courses focus on the intersectionality between topics. In this course, students will explore the historical, geopolitical, and practical aspects of these cross-disciplinary fields. Through a combination of lectures and visits to museums, fashion ateliers, and luxury retailers, the course will cover historical examples from Modernist movements, including the Bauhaus and Surrealism, to postmodern examples, such as Pop, Punk, and Op Art. Students will learn about current collaborations between celebrity artists and famous labels, such as Anish Kapoor for Bulgari; Yayoi Kusama, Richard Prince, and Takashi Murakami for Louis Vuitton; Zaha Hadid for Chanel; Hiroshi Sugimoto for Hermes; Rob Pruitt for Jimmy Choo; and Jeff Koons for Lisa Perry. Students will learn what defines luxury and what role luxury plays in these collaborations. Students will also learn about fashion designers, such as Karl Lagerfeld, Helmut Lang, and Tom Ford.


This 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 may include:

  • The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Emerging and established fashion ateliers
  • The New York Garment District
  • Luxury brand stores
  • Artists’ studios


Guest speakers may include:

  • Fashion designers
  • Fashion critics
  • Fashion industry insiders
  • Luxury brand marketers
  • Curators
  • Artists


Materials Fee: $195


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



Course Instructor:

Kathy Battista is scholar, lecturer, and a curator of exhibitions in museums and galleries, most recently, The Art of Fashion at Fountain House Gallery New York, Escape Attempts at Shulamit Nazarian Gallery, Los Angeles, and E.A.T.: Experiments in Art and Technology at the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria. She has authored numerous articles and books, including: New York New Wave: The Legacy of Feminist Art in Emerging Practice and Renegotiating the Body: Feminist Art in 1970s London. Battista is also Editor in Chief of the Benezit Dictionary of Artists at Oxford University Press and she is co-editing (with NY faculty Bryan Faller) a forthcoming book on artist estates and foundations, Creative Legacies: Critical Issues in Artist Estates, for Lund Humphries.

Term Dates

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

  • Term 2 Grades 9 - 12 June 23 to July 5 Term Closed

This summer, we’re offering more than 10 unique courses for Summer Institute students. Explore the full summer schedule to learn more about course dates and grade eligibility.

View Summer Schedule

What is an Exploration?

Explorations immerse students in a single subject area for the entire two-week Institute term, with the goal of cultivating comprehensive knowledge of that discipline. This thorough approach to learning enables students to develop deeper insights about the field by closely investigating its inner workings.

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: Serving as the anchor for this course, students will receive a broad overview of the major modern and postmodern movements of art that have most influenced the relationships between art, luxury, and fashion. Students will examine the careers of some of the artists who have most famously collaborated with fashion designers and luxury brands: Salvador Dalí, who collaborated with designer Elsa Schiaparelli; Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami, who collaborated with Louis Vuitton; Damien Hirst, who worked with fashion designer Alexander McQueen; and more.

  • 2

    Luxury: With the dramatic growth of luxury brands around the world, the market for art and other luxury goods has evolved to answer the increased demand from sophisticated buyers and art connoisseurs. Students will explore when the concept of luxury was first articulated, who the consumers were historically, who they are today, and how modernity has affected the production, sale, and marketing of luxury goods, such as jewelry and handbags. Artists as international brands, artists’ partnerships with luxury companies, and the patronage of the arts by luxury companies will also be discussed.

  • 3

    Fashion: From the atelier to the runway, students will explore the intersecting disciplines of fashion and art. Students will examine how artists use fashion as an element of their practice, from self-portraiture to major collaborations with fashion houses, and how (and to what end) major fashion brands commission artists. How do artists use clichéd tropes from fashion — from the photo shoot to the catwalk — to address contemporary cultural issues? We will look at fashion houses, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Prada to explore how these brands monetize artists’ work and to what affect.

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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