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Master's degree in Curatorial Practice

  • Rigorous curatorial training in the heart of Manhattan with leading curators and experts from New York’s major arts institutions
  • Historical and theoretical study of the expanded curatorial field
  • International network of institutions and organizations for career development

The Master of Arts degree in Curatorial Practice is a two-year program that focuses on professional training, with a thorough grounding in the relevant study of history, research, and theory, and with an emphasis on hands-on work with experts in the field, professional networking, and the foremost goal of placing graduates of the program in curatorial jobs. The program takes full advantage of the vast number of arts institutions and professionals on the doorstep of the school in Chelsea and throughout New York City, which provides countless opportunities for study, mentoring, and professional development. Our faculty members are all working in significant institutions in New York, with curators, museum and gallery professionals, and artists streaming into our space on 21st Street each week from around the world to talk about their exhibitions, programs, and events, and to meet with our students.

There has never been a moment so potent in the explosive growth of venues for curatorial work across the globe. Our program in Curatorial Practice (CP) is predicated on the fact that the global enterprise of the art world—including museums, Kunsthallen, commercial and nonprofit galleries, private collections, alternative spaces, biennials, art fairs, online art sites, and a vast number of other publicly and privately supported art platforms—has increased the number of curatorial ventures for programming on local, national, and international stages. CP embraces the nature of artistic and curatorial practices as fully interdisciplinary. The visual arts, design, film, new media, performance, research-based practices, and other aspects of knowledge production and transfer are all within our program’s active educational and professional purview.

To emphasize the deeply entwined nature of education and professional engagement, CP considers itself a hub for practitioners in the global field, not an academic cloister. What this means in real terms are established relationships with museums, as well as other organizations and independent experts, in New York and from around the world. Ongoing exchanges, internships, and both local and international opportunities to train and collaborate with others in the production of exhibitions, publications, conferences, and events, along with collateral online efforts, are critical components of what curatorial candidates experience in the program.

The space that CP occupies on West 21st Street, close by the galleries in Chelsea, with easy access to museums and other exhibition venues in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the other boroughs, affirms this programmatic approach. Our facilities have been designed from the ground up specifically for us by Charles Renfro of the world-renowned architectural practice of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in association with the young design firm Leong Leong. Their mission is to create a dynamic environment in which continual discussion, pedagogy, professional visits, critical encounters, research, and production take place. Of course, our purpose-built facilities fit within the exceptional network of studios and workshops for every creative practice, along with libraries, labs, and galleries that comprise the School of Visual Arts. The faculty and artists of SVA’s other programs offer still more possibilities for collaboration.

No other curatorial program in the world brings more extraordinary resources, more creative enterprises, more artists and experts as faculty and visitors, more internationally respected and bountiful institutions, more adventurous and vanguard undertakings across every disciplinary practice, more of an intellectual seedbed for thought and production, and more opportunities for professional connections than what our Masters in Curatorial Practice has at its fingertips in New York to bring to its students.

Steven Henry Madoff, chair

MA Curatorial Practice Advisory Council
  • Marina Abramovic, performance artist, New York
  • Daniel Birnbaum, director, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
  • Okwui Enwezor, director, Haus der Kunst, Munich
  • Defne Ayas, director, Witte de With, Rotterdam
  • Thelma Golden, director, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
  • Madeleine Grynsztejn, director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
  • Hou Hanru, artistic director, Maxxi, National Museum of 21st Century Art, Rome
  • Udo Kittelmann, director, National Gallery, Berlin
  • Suzannne Landau, director and chief curator, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv
  • Ivo Mesquita, director, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo
  • Lars Nittve, executive director, M+, Hong Kong
  • Lisa Phillips, director, The New Museum, New York
  • Cay Sophie Rabinowitz director, Osmos, New York
  • Paul Schimmel, partner, Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles
  • Olga Viso, executive director, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
  • Sheena Wagstaff, chairman, Modern and Contemporary Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587