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As contemporary art continues to evolve and challenge, it finds new ways to engage the viewer. Introduction to Contemporary Art provides you with a roadmap for understanding contemporary art by examining critical works by artists including Donald Judd, Barbara Kruger, Tania Bruguera, and Alfredo Jaar, among many others.

Through lectures and discussions, this course captures contemporary art’s complex trajectory, exploring the central themes, as well as the ideas behind some of the most important works of the past 60 years. By carefully studying the context of contemporary art, you will gain an appreciation of the impact that momentous social, political, and cultural events have had in inspiring dramatic innovation in the arts. At the end of the course, you will have acquired a comfort level with artworks that might have previously seemed challenging or inaccessible.

What you will learn:

  • The ability to identify critical works representing key moments in the unfolding of contemporary art.
  • The tools for looking at, understanding, and critically assessing contemporary works of art.
  • Familiarity and comfort with art that can seem challenging and inaccessible.
The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    3 July - 13 August 2019
    6 weeks of instructor guidance

    We offer our online courses throughout the year with sessions starting every 4-6 weeks.
  • Faculty


    Georgia KrantzFaculty, Online Courses
    Ph.D., ABD, Queen's University, Ontario; MA, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

    Georgia Krantz is an independent art historian and arts educator with a focus on 20th-century art. She has taught art history at the New School and Pratt Institute and has worked as an educator and education consultant at numerous NYC institutions including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Jewish Museum, the International Center of Photography, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Krantz has extensive university and museum education experience. She currently teaches graduate studies at the Interactive Telecommunications Program and the Interactive Digital Media program at NYU.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Week 1: Challenges to Painting: Minimalism and Conceptual Art

    • Introduction to Contemporary Art

    • Minimalism

    • Conceptual Art

    Week 2:  Expanding Media: Earthworks and Performance Art

    • Ideas and Meaning in Performance Art

    • Actions, Happenings, Events, and Situations

    • Time, Space, Bodies, and Audiences

    • Feminism, Bodies, and Performance Arts

    Week 3: Cultural Authority and Identity Politics - Strategies of Appropriation

    • Power, Identity and Appropriation

    • The Effect of Image Saturation on Society and Culture

    • The Collision of Media, Advertising, Mass Production, and Art

    Week 4: The Art of the Participatory Engagement

    • Social Practice (community engagement)

    • Other Kinds of Social Practice (political interference/social awareness)

    • Artivism and Art Seeking Social Change

    Week 5: Globalization and the Arts

    • Contemporary Art in Dialogue with Tradition

    • Keeping and Losing Identity in a Global World

    • Power Relations

    • Portraying Nationalism

    Week 6: Art and Technology

    • Data Manipulation

    • DNA, Biohacking and the Individual

    • Resistance to New Technologies

  • Getting Started

    Getting Started

    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.
  • Course Fees And Enrollment

    Course Fees And Enrollment

    Tuition includes 6 weeks of instructor guidance and an additional 90 days to review the course at your leisure.

    Terms and Conditions

    Online courses are open to anyone 18 years of age and older. Registration takes approximately 5 minutes to complete.

    Enroll Today
  • 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.
  • Contact Information

    Contact Information

    For further information or course advisement, please contact:
    Hayley Black, Admissions Advisor, Non-Degree Programs
    Tel: 212-897-6644 or Request Information

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