November 15, 2021

MA Curatorial Practice

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

Installation view, Aida Lizalde, Albany Andaluz and Estelle Maisonett. Photo: Carina Martinez.

The MA Curatorial Practice program at the School of Visual Arts is one of the world’s leading programs in the field, offering two years of intensive coursework in professional training for curators, focusing primarily on contemporary art. The courses are designed to present young curators with case studies taught by world-renowned curators and experts.

These case studies bring curatorial history, art history, historical and contemporary theory, and philosophy together with practical knowledge of curating in institutional and non-institutional venues. Focusing on curating specific media—such as film, video, performance, photography, painting, sculpture, and digital media—the case studies are joined by in-depth coursework in transnational art history, exhibition history, writing on exhibitions, hands-on studio art, along with numerous opportunities to produce exhibitions and other curatorial projects with funding support from the program. Students meet in weekly sessions over two years with more than fifty leading curators and artists from all over the world discussing their projects and practical problem-solving.

Our extraordinary faculty include leading curators, institution leaders, scholars, writers, and professionals such as Chrissie Iles, the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Roddy Schrock, director of Eyebeam; Noam Segal, independent curator; Ivy Blackman, managing librarian of the Whitney Museum; Sara Reisman, chief curator and director of National Academician Affairs at the National Academy of Design; Christian Nyampeta, performance artist and scholar; Laurel Ptak, independent curator and former director of Art in General; David A. Ross, chair of the MFA Art Practice program at SVA and former director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum; Claire Tancons, independent curator; Charles Renfro of Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Brian Kuan Wood, co-founder of e-flux journal; Mirene Arsanios, fiction writer; Daniel Kunitz, editor in chief of Sculpture Magazine and former editor in chief of Modern Painters; and Keith Whitmoyer, philosopher. Our associated faculty at large includes such major international figures as Hou Hanru, artistic director of MAXXI, Rome; Clémentine Deliss, associate curator, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Mick Wilson, professor of art and director of doctoral studies, University of Gothenburg; Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, director of MUSAC, Léon; Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy, director of Kunst Institut Melly, Rotterdam; and Terry Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh, among others.

Based in the heart of New York City, the program is walking distance from literally hundreds of art galleries and close to several of the world’s greatest museums. Students work in the collections and archives of New York's museums and have workshops covering crucial facets of curatorial work including lighting design, exhibition design, grant writing, making presentations, and conservation issues. Students then put into practice what these various sessions have offered, making exhibitions in our own gallery and in other spaces in New York City, while also producing other curatorial forms, whether online projects, publications, symposia, and more.

During the summer between the two years of the program, students embark on internships at carefully selected museums and Kunsthallen across Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the US. These two-month internships follow a visit on a special grant to the opening of a major exhibition, such as documenta, the Venice Biennale, Manifesta, or the Berlin Biennale.

Integrating history, theory, and philosophy with practical training, the MA Curatorial Practice program is now accepting applications for full-time and part-time students. We seek diversity of every kind, and we offer small merit-based scholarships. For information and to apply, visit here. To join a special information session about the program on November 20, visit here.

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