Institutions and Agencies: the Business of Contemporary Art (AHVM001)

30 credits

This module explores the multifaceted apparatus of the contemporary art world, from public galleries and museums to the commercial sector, from art fairs to international biennials, from collections and collectors to commissioning agencies and socially engaged projects, as well as the critical, institutional and economic structures that support them. It provides you with an overview of the multiple roles of the curator, along with their historical grounding, and is designed to equip you with the understanding and skills necessary to navigate your way through this complex system.

The module also investigates the economics of the art world, including the role of auction houses and the commercial gallery sector, and their relationship to the public sector, the direct patronage of artists and exhibitions, the acquisition of contemporary art (including digital art, installation, performance, sonic art, etc.) by both public and private collectors, the theoretical and practical contexts for devising exhibitions and the constraints that govern curatorial decisions. In addition, there will be a series of seminars focusing on professional practice, providing practical business knowledge and curatorial methodologies in relation to project development, fundraising and partnerships, financial management and administration, and how to communicate your ideas to diverse audiences. There will also be a series of studio workshops exploring curatorial and artistic practice. During Term 1 you will visit a variety of exhibition venues and arts institutions, as well as participating in discussions with art world professionals.

This module is suitable for non-specialist students.

This module is recommended for interdisciplinary pathways.