Explore the role of the art museum in contemporary society with the world-class cultural institutions of New York City as your classroom.
This course will explore the history, influence, and role of the art museum, tracing its origins from ancient temples, to Renaissance cabinets of curiosities, to the modern institution as it exists in our global cultural landscape today. With a focus on the world-renowned museums of New York City, students will consider some of the most important questions facing museums today, while also looking toward the future and analyzing how museums are adapting to an increasingly virtual landscape. The course will also engage with important issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion currently informing both the organizational and curatorial practices of the modern museum.
Students will critically examine how museums create narratives through the display of artworks, including the choice of what gets included or excluded from such narratives. Students will question whether an object’s meaning changes through acquisition for a museum collection, and they will explore how museums can respectfully display works from diverse periods and cultures or repatriate objects to their place of origin. In going behind the scenes and speaking with museum professionals, students will investigate how issues such as museum architecture, exhibition design, and curatorial practice all contribute to our understanding not only of works of art but also of ourselves and our perceptions of global cultures.
Visits will include a broad range of important New York art museums, including both larger, encyclopedic museums and smaller, more specialized venues.
In the past, site visits have included:
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
- The Brooklyn Museum Conservation Lab
- The Asia Society’s international exhibitions
- The Rubin Museum of Art
- The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
- The Museum of Arts and Design
Students will hear firsthand about what goes into the research, design, and installation of a major exhibition at an important art museum, and how permanent collections are researched, arranged, and displayed.
In the past, guest speakers have included:
- Museum curators & scholars
- Art conservators
- Exhibition designers
- Museum registrars
- Art critics
- Art historians
Materials Fee: $245
Health Fee: $100
Please note: This information is subject to change at any time at the discretion of Sotheby’s Institute of Art.