July 25, 2019

Call for applications fall 2019: MFA Art Writing

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

Loomis Dean, William Burroughs at the Beat Hotel.

We are now accepting applications for the Fall 2019 term. Departmental scholarships, as well as other forms of assistance, are available. Contact us for further information or to set up an appointment.

Situated in the heart of New York City and at the intersection of art and literature, the Art Writing MFA program at SVA offers students the opportunity to bring their language into a complex meeting with the visual arts and the ideas that inform it.

The real history of art writing and criticism is vast, including everyone who has ever written well on art and its relation to the rest of the world. Criticism needs a new “expanded field” of its own, now, and this expanded field has to be grounded in radical literature and philosophy.

Writers on art need a broad base of knowledge, 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 (taught by Jennifer Kabat, Nancy Princenthal, and Jennifer Krasinski), and the thesis seminar (taught by Jennifer Krasinski and Lynne Tillman), we offer an array of continually changing electives taught by prominent writers and critics. This fall we have classes taught by Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, Emmanuel Iduma, and Thomas Beard.

In addition to our exceptional core faculty, we invite many writers, critics, philosophers, editors, artists, and art historians in each year for our Quijote Talks series, and to meet with students individually and in small groups.

We concentrate on the essay as form, as well as on shorter forms of review, and learn art writing by doing it.

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

Our students come from all over the world—Nigeria, Kenya, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Brazil, Ecuador, Ireland, France, England, and Canada—as well as from around the United States. They also come from a wide variety of backgrounds and education, with undergraduate degrees in Art, Art History, Comparative Literature, Philosophy, and Creative Writing, among other fields. What they have in common is intellectual curiosity, a passion for art, and the desire to write well.

It is obviously a big advantage to have such a program situated in the heart of New York City, amidst one of the greatest concentrations of artists and art activity in the world. The connections made in the program between students and others working in the field are invaluable and long lasting.

Our alumni go on to write and publish their own books as well as essays and reviews in all of the art publications, online and in print. Some work as editors and staff writers at these publications. Seven grads (from 2010-2016) are finishing up PhD programs, while others are teaching.

To see sample programs, faculty bios, student testimonies, news, the online journal Degree Critical, recordings of our popular lecture series, and admissions procedures, go to

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