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Welcome to today’s art world. Record-breaking sales of contemporary art are matched by the high status of global art world events, displayed through the spectacle of celebrities arriving at Art Basel-Miami Beach, the publicity surrounding the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, or the dramatic self-destruction of Banksy’s Girl with a Balloon just as the final hammer came down at Sotheby’s auction house in London in 2018. How to make sense of it all? Like Banksy’s work, the art of today can be both playful and challenging, infuriating and trite. Today’s art is endlessly reflective and referential, mirroring the role of the individual in society.

In this course, students will learn to identify the key artists, as well as the central themes – from technology to globalism – addressed in contemporary art. Students will learn to evaluate how market forces such as galleries, art fairs, auction houses, and museums determine which artists are considered important, as well as how this dynamic is being altered by the rise of online art markets. Students will come away from this course feeling confident in their knowledge of art world trends and having boosted skills of visual literacy and understanding.

This course includes exclusive video interviews with artists Shirin Neshat, the Guerrilla Girls, and Martine Gutierrez (among others).

Students will learn:

  • To identify key artists in today’s global art world, as well as the central themes addressed in their work.
  • To recognize works by influential artists, thereby enhancing skills of visual literacy.
  • To evaluate how market forces such as galleries, art fairs, auction houses, and museums determine which artists are considered important – as well as how this dynamic is being altered by the rise of online art markets.
The Details
  • Course Dates & Fees

    Course Dates & Fees

    November 18 - December 15, 2020
    Tuition includes four weeks of instructor guidance and an additional 90 days to review the course at your leisure.
    We offer this online course throughout the year with sessions starting approximately every four months. Contact us for more information.
  • Getting Started & How It Works

    Getting Started & How It Works

    SIA Online Community, our learning and networking space, opens two weeks before the course begins. This space provides an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the learning platform and introduce yourself to fellow students from around the world.
    Visit our How It Works page to learn more about the online learning experience.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Week 1: Introduction to Art Now

    • How do we define contemporary art?

    • The Art of the New: Materials, Processes, Techniques

    Week 2: Artists & Audiences

    • The Rise of the Mega Museum: The “Bilbao Effect”

    • Art Fairs & the Art Industrial Complex

    • The Online Art Market: The Great Democratization of Art (Or Is It?)

    Week 3: Theories & Interpretations: Gender & Sexuality

    • The Body in Art: Feminism’s Fourth Wave

    • Questioning Masculinitie

    • Art & AIDS

    Week 4: Theories & Interpretations: Globalism

    • Art Beyond Borders

    • Art & the Environment

    • Protest Art

    • Future Trajectories: Emerging Artists

  • Faculty


    Dr Kay Chubbuck (Director, Non-Degree Programs, Faculty, Online Courses) has over two decades of experience in educational management, university teaching, and art historical scholarship. She has held faculty appointments at Princeton University, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the University of Oxford, where she earned her doctorate on a Rhodes scholarship. She has lectured at Tate Britain, at the Freer Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, and at the Royal Geographical Society in London, among other institutions. She has served on an academic advisory panel for museum education at the Art Institute of Chicago, and on selection committees for the Rhodes scholarship. Dr Chubbuck additionally has a background in journalism, having worked as an international arts correspondent for Newsweek Magazine, reporting from London, Paris, and Beijing.
    Tim Goossens (Associate Director of Academics, Non-Degree Programs and adjunct faculty MA) has continued to expand his curatorial practice and social activism for over a decade with a variety of public art festivals, triennials, art commissions and numerous exhibitions worldwide, all of which inspires his research as a contributing editor for Oxford University Press. He began his career in the Department of New Media and Performance Art at the Museum of Modern Art and later moved as Assistant-Curator to MoMA PS1. Following these museum positions, he became the Founding Director and Chief Curator of Ford Model's art gallery  and a Gallery Director for New York's Envoy Enterprises. He has curated numerous international projects including Listen Up!, India’s first public sound art exhibition (New Delhi, 2015) and and Larger than Love (as part of Berlin Biennial, 2012). In most recent years, he was a curator for Aurora, the large-scale public art festival in Dallas, Texas, for the Art Triennial in Belgium, and the IFPDA Fine Art Print Art Fair in New York in 2019.
  • Certificate Of Completion

    Certificate Of Completion

    For each course successfully completed, you receive a verified Certificate of Completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
    Our digital certificates allow you to share new skills with various social media platforms, including LinkedIn. Successful completion is defined by each instructor in the course syllabus and consists, at the least, of regular, thoughtful participation in online activities and timely submission of assigned papers or projects.
  • Enrollment & Contact Information

    Enrollment & Contact Information

    Enroll Today

    Online courses are open to anyone 18 years of age and older. Registration takes approximately 5 minutes to complete.
    Terms and Conditions
    For further information or course advisement, please contact:
    Hayley Black, Admissions Advisor
    Tel: 212-897-6644 or Request Information

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