Academic Courses

Center for the Study of Modern Art

The Center for the Study of Modern Art offers courses in art history, museum studies, and modern and contemporary art theory and practice. Courses are offered every fall and spring and are in collaboration with regional universities.

Fall 2014 Courses

Curating: Theory and Practice

Mondays, August 25December 1, 2014
6:30 pm 

Instructor: Vesela Sretenović, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Phillips Collection

$400, $350 for members

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This course traces the development of curatorial practice as the role of art institutions and artists continuously evolves. While addressing both historical and modern strategies and practices, the focus will be given to the emergence of curatorial discourse from the late 1960s to the present. The aim will be to link theoretical knowledge with practical experience in the field. Questions to be raised concern: redefining the curatorial practice as more than a mere organizational point (i.e. from collection management and exhibition display to a way of thinking and providing the viewer with a new visual and learning experience); rethinking the format of an exhibition within and outside of the institution; and expanding the format of exhibition to include temporary events and time-based projects. In addition, the course will address new curatorial tasks and challenges in presenting ephemeral and site-related works, organization of large-scale exhibitions in the context of biennials, and the recent convergence of curatorial and artistic practice.

The course will engage both theoretical readings and practical components such as exhibition visits. The course will also utilize internal resources of The Phillips Collection, including presentations by curatorial and other staff in their fields of expertise to encourage further engagement and participation from students.

In collaboration with George Washington University.

About the Partnership with the George Washington University
The Phillips Collection has a wide-ranging partnership with George Washington University, including co-organization of the Conversations with Artists series, internships, an art therapy program, art history courses at the Center, and an annual postdoctoral fellowship position.

Globalization, Diplomacy, and the Politics of Exhibitions

Tuesdays, September 2–Decmeber 2, 2014
1–3 pm

Instructor: Shiloh Krupar, Professor of Culture and Politics, Georgetown University, together with staff of The Phillips Collection

$400, $350 for members

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This course examines the rising role of international art biennales, art fairs, and museums in the world of cultural diplomacy and global exchange. We will trace a critical genealogy that begins with the rise of World Fairs, industrial modernity, and colonial spectacle, and various national museum projects, to dissident art in the age of social networks, contemporary “glocal” exhibition practices, and the transnational urban enterprises and geographies of art/museums/biennales today. We will look critically at the ways in which museums—through their policies, programs, exhibitions, and architecture—can define regional or national values, shape cultural attitudes, inform social and political views, promote wellbeing, and even affect one’s understanding of the meaning of a work of art.

We will investigate some of the most famous examples of the 20th- and 21st-century recurrent state-sponsored exhibitions, contextualized by critical literature on the relationship among culture and politics. Case studies may include: the Venice Biennale, the Havana Bienal, Documenta, and the soaring number of contemporary art fairs.

Students will also be introduced to the history, politics, and logistics of sending exhibitions drawn from The Phillips Collection on international tours. Since 1981 The Phillips Collection has organized several major international tours of its collection to Europe, Asia, and Australia, most recently Conversations: Impressionist and Modern Master Works from The Phillips Collection, which is currently on view in Daejeon, Korea. 

In collaboration with Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.