June 22, 2015

MFA Art Criticism & Writing now accepting applications for fall 2015

School of Visual Arts (SVA)
“Words Against Photographs,” Teju Cole, David Levi Strauss and Emmanuel Iduma in conversation, May 1, 2015. Photo: Jacqueline Iannacone.

What do MFA Art Criticism & Writing Alumni do?
Watch a short film about life after Art Crit here.

The Art Criticism & Writing program at the School of Visual Arts is one of the only graduate programs in the world that focuses specifically on art writing and criticism. This program is not involved in “discourse production” or the prevarications of curatorial rhetoric, but rather in the practice of criticism writ large, aspiring to literature. We put writing at the center of all our work here.

The practice of criticism involves making finer and finer distinctions among like things, but it is also a way to ask fundamental questions about art and life. The MFA program in Art Criticism & Writing is designed to give students a grounding in the philosophical and historical bases of art and criticism, to improve both their writing and their seeing, and to provide sources they can draw on for the rest of their lives.

Critics cannot afford to be specialists, so our curriculum is wide-ranging. In addition to the foundation seminar, Bases of Criticism I & II, taught by chair David Levi Strauss, three levels of writing practicums, and the thesis seminar, we offer an array of continually changing electives taught by prominent writers and critics.

We concentrate on the essay as form, as well as on shorter forms of review, and learn criticism by doing it. The thesis that students write at the end of their course of study is intended to be a substantial piece of criticism. We want students to come out of this program better prepared to write in the world, and with the connections they need to move forward.

From its inception, this program has also had a special emphasis on the history and future of the image. The critics of tomorrow must study images in all of their manifestations in order to better understand how we are subject to them.

Generous departmental scholarships, as well as other forms of assistance, are available on a competitive basis.

Apply online here.


If you have any questions, please contact the department at [email protected], T +212 592 2408, or go to

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