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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, January 22

Deadline to Register: January 8

  • Price
    You may select your preferred local currency as the payment option.

    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
    Spring | January 22 - April 11
  • Time
    10am – 4pm GMT, Monday and Thursday
  • 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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Amy Mechowski

Course Leader: Curating., and Course Leader: Modern and Contemporary Art

Originally from Chicago, Amy holds a PhD in the History of Art from University College London on the construction of the self in fin-de-siècle photography. Since 2007 she has been an Assistant Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum. In the Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass Department, she has undertaken a very wide range of curatorial activities, working on major exhibition projects, with special responsibility for the sculpture collection and expertise on wax objects.

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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 in the same term. Contact our admissions team at for more information and a discount code.

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

  • 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.