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This course provides an immersive encounter with curatorial practice in today’s art world, with an emphasis on curating contemporary art. You will learn the skills needed to navigate this exciting field, from understanding the role of the curator to planning for an exhibition, to what it takes to be successful. Introduction to Curating discusses the history of curating, the day-to-day responsibilities of a curator and examines how a curator builds a museum-quality collection. The course also provides you with the opportunity to understand the way the field is changing to address the increasingly complex nature of today’s art world.

By the end of this course:

  • You will become familiar with the nature of curatorial practice today, including different types of curators and the variety of spaces they work in.
  • You will articulate the key components of putting together an exhibition, including how to write exhibition and tour proposals.
  • You will understand how collections are built within and outside of museum spaces and how curators make acquisitions
  • You will gain the ability to write a wall text and extended object labels.
The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    February 6 - March 19, 2017

    Online orientation opens on January 30, 2017.
  • Faculty


    Alexandra Schwartz
    Ph.D. and MA, History of Art, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

    Alexandra Schwartz is a curator and scholar of modern and contemporary art. Until recently, she served as the founding Curator of Contemporary Art at the Montclair Art Museum. Her exhibition Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s toured nationally in 2015–16. At Montclair she also established the New Directions series of exhibitions and was involved in acquisitions and commissions of work by artists including Mark Dion, Spencer Finch, Natalie Frank, Vik Muniz, and Michalene Thomas. Previously she was a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, where her exhibitions included Mind and Matter: Alternative Abstractions, 1940s to Now and Modern Women: Single Channel at MoMA PS1. Schwartz has taught at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and Montclair State University, and in the Education Departments at MoMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Week 1: What is a curator?

    • Overview of curatorial roles

    • Who are today’s curators?

    • A brief history of the field

    Week 2: A month in the life of a curator

    • Exhibitions

    • Care of collections

    • Acquisitions

    • Research and writing

    • Research and travel

    Week 3: How does a curator put together an exhibition?

    • Solo artist/historical

    • Solo artist/contemporary

    • Group show/historical

    • Group show/contemporary

    Week 4: How does a curator build a collection?

    • Types of collections

    • Museum collecting strategies

    • How work is acquired (purchases, gifts, etc.)

    Week 5: What skills are required to be successful?

    • Fundraising and grantwriting

    • Managing budgets

    • Building networks and relationships

    • Creating events

    • Getting the word out through PR and Social Media

    Week 6: What is the future of curating?

    • Current challenges to the field

    • Ways in which curating is changing

  • Online Orientation

    Online Orientation

    Our online orientation operates the same way as the course, giving you the opportunity to become familiar with the technology and the dynamics of online teaching and learning. Participation in the  orientation is not required, but it is strongly encouraged as students who complete the experience have a better chance of success. The orientation is available one week prior to class and remains open for you to use as a resource.
  • Course Fees And Enrollment

    Course Fees And Enrollment

    $1485 ($1335 if booked before December 20, 2016)

    Registration Fee: $15

    Click here to enroll and pay online.
    Terms and Condition
  • Contact And Request Information

    Contact And Request Information

    For further information, please contact:
    Claire Hoover, Program Manager of Online Learning
    Email: or Request Information Tel: +1.212.897.6644

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