Contemporary Art and Criticism in New York City

Study Abroad Students listen to gallery listen

January 5—15, 2020
*Note: Dates subject to change

New York City is a cultural center, and no matter where you choose to live and work, you will need to negotiate the economic, critical, and institutional hierarchies governing this metropolis. This trip starts to map the different art worlds that operate in this city and their intersections.  We will meet with artists, critics, curators, dealers, and collectors as a means of examining the dense exchanges of making and discourse. Sites visited will include artists’ studios, current exhibitions, museums, commercial galleries, and non-profit spaces.

This class is both exciting and more importantly hugely essential to all young artists and burgeoning cultural producers as it illustrates firsthand the increasingly important interrelationship between making and distribution. The contemporary art landscape is shaped by a supply-and-demand economy and to pretend otherwise is naïve. Thus, this class focuses on the interchange set up between critical, commercial, and institutional frames of success. It discusses the pros and cons of living in a cultural and economic center and should be a required class for all students, even if they hail from NYC.

Credits: 3 credits STUDIO and/or 3 credits ARTHI (4000-level) 

Michelle Grabner, Painting and Drawing
David Getsy, Art History, Theory, and Criticism

Program fee including group accommodation in shared room: $1,520 (not including meals, or airfare.)
Program fee not including group accommodation: $960 

PLUS Tuition cost per credit:
Undergraduate—$1,666 per credit hour;
Graduate—$1,730 per credit hour.

Accommodation: Students are not required to stay in group accommodation for this class and may find their own accommodation in New York provided they can meet the faculty at the scheduled departure point each morning.  

Group accommodation option: Students may opt to stay at the Pod Hotel 51 ( at 230 E. 51st St., New York, NY 10022; tel: +1.212.355.0300. This is where the group will often meet and depart each day.

Online registration begins: October 9, 2019

Deposit due at registration: $525

Information sessions:
Tuesday, September 24,  12:10-12:50 p.m., MacLean room 111
Wednesday, September 25,  4:15-5:15 p.m., MacLean room 111

From the previous trip's course evaluations:

  • The course gave extensive insight into the multitude of real world applications of an MFA in NYC. It is exceptionally fast paced but rewarding. Pack snacks! This is very important as sometimes there is no time to stop. The hotel bagels were great.
  • It was a unique experience that provided insight into the world of NYC-based institutions, artists, and curators. I don't think I would have had such a behind the scenes look if I had attempted to do this independently. I'm very grateful to have been able to experience it with two great minds like Michelle and David.
  • I can tell that teachers put a lot of consideration in choosing the artists and curators and galleries we meet. We encountered lots of great people who are willing to share everything they knew to us. I see many possibilities of the future roads. I understand that it is nothing scary about the uncertain. If we know what is important and what we need to do right now, that is enough
  • I have reconsidered my relationship with the Chicago, American and global art world based on our conversations with guests. I see levels of complexity and nuance that I had not previously
  • Keeping pace with the intense schedule and the daily readings and writing assignments was extremely challenging.
  • David is brilliant. His knowledge and experience jump started many of the conversations and helped our group think critically about our visits.
  • Michelle is a gem. Her perspective was always enlightening, and I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with her on our subway rides to and from visits.
  • It made me think of community in a different way
  • Try to be humble. There will be visits and experiences that confuse your understanding of art and what it means to be a cultural producer, but this should not worry you. Whether or not you have a sense of how to make it as a practicing artist, the trip has a wide scope and you will see that there is no linear path to "success." Talk to your classmates as much as you would want to talk to any of the artists or professors on this trip, you are all in this together