Required Courses

First Year

Semester I

Proseminar: Histories and Theories of Curating. This course introduces key concepts, terms, and methodologies in modern and contemporary art history, analyzing discursive and cultural shifts while focusing on artworks, exhibitions, and presentation models. (2 credits)

Seminar: Theory and Criticism in Contemporary Art I. This two-semester course sequence presents an overview of key theories and theoretical debates in the critical discussion of modern and contemporary art. (2 credits)

First-Year Practicum I
. The first-year practicum runs over two semesters. It examines the practical, conceptual, discursive, and social processes of curating across a variety of institutional platforms and pedagogical modalities. The fall semester includes solo hangs with works from the Hessel Collection; collaboratively produced curatorial projects; and writing and research workshops. (3 credits)

Semester II

Proseminar: Studies in Contemporary Art. This course surveys the history of museums, galleries, and other exhibition spaces and explores how social and cultural conditions, institutional requirements, and aesthetic conceptions have shaped past and current exhibition practices. As part of the proseminar, students conduct intensive studies of past curatorial projects utilizing museum and other archives throughout New York City.  (2 credits)

Seminar: Theory and Criticism in Contemporary Art II
. A continuation of the first-semester seminar in criticism and theory. The spring semester presents a set of concepts and categories that have become important for the examination of cultural production during the last two decades, reflecting on their relevance for thinking about artistic and curatorial practice today. (2 credits)

First-Year Practicum II. 
The spring semester continues the first year practicum and includes hangs of works from the Hessel Collection organized in pairs; collaboratively produced curatorial projects; and writing and research workshops. (3 credits) 

Second Year

Semester III

Independent Research: Master’s Degree Project 
Research. This course is designed to prepare students for researching and writing a draft of their master’s degree thesis project. The course components include individual meetings with core faculty and the thesis academic advisor, in addition to four group meetings. During these group meetings, students explore forms of academic and curatorial writing together, conduct peer reviews of their texts-in-progress, and discuss issues regarding the production of their MA theses. (2 credits)

Second-Year PracticumI. The second-year practicum runs over two semesters and develops a focused engagement with the conceptual and methodological foundations of students’ thesis work, as well as the role of mediation and public programming in curatorial practice. The course consists of faculty-led study groups; student presentations; the planning and production of a public event; and a variety of workshops with faculty and visiting guests. (3 credits)

Semester IV

Independent Research: Exhibition Preparation. 
Final design, preparation, and installation of the exhibition for the master’s degree project. This independent research course, like the third-semester course, involves periodic consultations with a faculty member. (2 credits)

Second-Year Practicum II. A continuation of the second-year practicum, with faculty-led study groups; student presentations; the planning and production of a public event; and a variety of workshops and critiques of student exhibitions with faculty and visiting guests. (3 credits)


Particular attention is given in elective courses to developing interdisciplinary perspectives on the visual arts and their presentation. Specialized courses taught by core faculty as well as visiting curators and scholars offer studies of the contemporary arts, their expanded contexts, and the discourses upon which they bear. Students must complete a total of five elective courses, each carrying 2 credits.

The following are some of the seminars previously offered:

Appropriation and Its Discontents
Arab Modernism
The Catalogue as Site
City-Space and the Museum
Curatorial Practice: Mapping a Territory
Exhibiting Feminism: The 1970s
Fictions of the Artist
Histories of Performance
Intellectual Property in an Open Source Culture
Latin American Contemporary Curatorial Contexts
On Globalization: A History, Some Theories, and a Few Interpretations
Politics in the Arts: Art, Criticism, and Democratic Culture
The Projective Artwork in the Age of Digital Reproduction
Reconsidering Institutional Critique

Since 2011, CCS has offered electives that are cross listings from The Human Rights Project and The Hannah Arendt Center, both at Bard College. The relationships between these select programs encourages the exploration of the increasingly profound and manifest intersec¬tions between the discourses of contemporary arts, human rights, and political thinking, both affirmative and critical. Recent cross-listed electives have included:

Family of Man (with Tom Keenan)
Evidence (with Tom Keenan)
Hannah Arendt: The Human Condition (with Roger Berkowitz)
Martin Heidegger: A Letter on Humanism (with Roger Berkowitz)