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Modern and Contemporary Art


Modern and Contemporary Art

A discounted tuition rate is available for individuals who are interested to enroll in two or more Sotheby’s Institute of Art In-Person Professional Courses within the same term. Contact our admissions team at for more information and a discount code.

As the scholarship surrounding both modern and contemporary art continues to evolve and challenge, this innovative and intensive course finds new ways to engage the viewer and connect the two periods, providing students with a strong foundation in recent art history.

London is one of the world’s most vibrant centers of modern and contemporary art. Full of enterprising galleries and artists’ spaces that have burgeoned across the capital, it has attracted artists of many different nationalities to live and work there while also being the home of many important art institutions.

This twelve-week course is aimed at students seeking to experience the art scene in London at close quarters and to learn about the wider historic and cultural implications of modern and contemporary art in context.

This course incorporates both in-classroom teaching and on-site visits to a wide spectrum of art world institutions where students can practice their visual analysis skills in front of the original works of art. Visits include artist studios, museums, foundations, private museums, and both established and emerging commercial galleries. The market for modern and contemporary art and the role of the art curator and collector are also addressed.

Orientation: 9am GMT, September 11

  • Price
    Enroll in 2 or more In-Person Professional Courses within the same term for a discounted rate, contact admissions for a discount code.
  • Register
  • Date
    Fall | September 11 - November 28
  • Time
    10am – 4pm GMT, Monday and Tuesday
  • Duration
    12 Weeks
  • Location
  • Topics
    • Art History,
    • Contemporary Art
  • Language
  • Contact Admissions


  • Daily visits to contemporary art institutions and commercial galleries

  • Access to leading Contemporary Art Professionals

  • An in-depth exploration of the key contemporary art sectors


Viv Lawes

Course Leader, Summer Program, London

Viv Lawes is an author, journalist, lecturer and curator with over 25 years’ experience in the art market. She studied History at York University and graduated with an MA in Fine and Decorative Art from Sotheby’s Institute in 1997, where her thesis focused on the textile trade between England and India/ China in the 17th and 18th centuries. Learn more...

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Sample Schedule

More Information

  • Course Combinations

    Course Combinations

    A discounted tuition rate is available for individuals who are interested to enroll in two or more Sotheby’s Institute of Art In-Person Professional Courses. Contact our admissions team at for more information and a discount code.

    For individuals looking for an expansive grounding in art business or curating studies, Modern and Contemporary Art can be paired with the 12 week Art Business course or the 12 week Curating course to create a full time (4 days per week) schedule of study over the course of a semester.

    For individuals with existing experience in art finance topics, looking to expand their knowledge, this course can alternatively be paired with the 6 week Art Finance and Innovation course to create a full time (4 days per week) schedule of study for the last 6 weeks of this course.

  • Requirements


    English Language Requirement
    Course participants should be proficient in written and spoken English and be able to participate in group discussions and presentations in English. It is recommended that participants have the equivalent level of IELTS score of 6.0 /TOEFL score of 78 IBT, however evidence of test scores is not required to register.

    Age Requirement
    Courses are open to participants 18 years of age or older.

    For more information, please see our Terms and Conditions.

  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    • The Origins of Performance Art
    • Minimalism
    • Contemporary Art 1968-1979
    • Contemporary Art in the 1980s
    • Pop to Postmodern Design
    • Contemporary Art in the 1990s
    • Contemporary Photography
    • Moving Image Art
    • Global Art in the New Millennium
    • Artists’ studios
    • Commercial Contemporary Art Galleries
    • Leading International Museums
    • Grassroots not-for-profit organisations
  • Assessment


    The course is assessed via an oral presentation and a practical written brief.

  • Students Will Learn

    Students Will Learn

    • To recognise the major stylistic changes in your given period of study.
    • To distinguish, and make links between, a range of architectural, fine and decorative art and design art forms.
    • To demonstrate a sound understanding of how and why these stylistic developments came about.
    • To relate historical and visual evidence to provide a coherent basis for visual analysis.
    • To develop visual analysis skills through first-hand observation of the art works.
    • To employ a variety of observational and art historical methods for the identification, dating and analysis of a range of art objects from each optional study period.
    • To discuss the wider cultural context of art objects.
  • Course Completion

    Course Completion

    Course participants take away in-depth and valuable insight into the current and future art world, to be sufficiently prepared for a wide-ranging career within the art industry. Those who successfully complete their course will receive a certificate of completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

    Sotheby’s Institute of Art course participants come from all over the world, from a wide variety of backgrounds. As they study, travel, and explore the art world alongside each other throughout the program, fierce and long-lasting collaborations are frequently born. Individuals who complete these courses join our network of over 8,000 alumni around the globe who hold top positions at renowned art organizations.