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Courses

Whitney courses are multi-week programs that examine key issues in twentieth- and twenty-first-century American art and culture.

Jeff Koons, Gazing Ball (Farnese Hercules), 2013. Plaster and glass; 128 ½ x 67 × 48 5/8 in. (326.4 × 170 × 123.5 cm). Amy and Vernon Faulconer and The Rachofsky Collection. © Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons, Gazing Ball (Farnese Hercules), 2013. Plaster and glass; 128 ½ x 67 × 48 5/8 in. (326.4 × 170 × 123.5 cm). Amy and Vernon Faulconer and The Rachofsky Collection. © Jeff Koons

Barnett Newman, The Promise, 1949. Oil on canvas, 51 1/2 × 68 1/8 in. (130.8 × 173 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Adriana and Robert Mnuchin  2000.338. © 2009 Barnett Newman Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Barnett Newman, The Promise, 1949. Oil on canvas, 51 1/2 × 68 1/8 in. (130.8 × 173 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Adriana and Robert Mnuchin  2000.338. © 2009 Barnett Newman Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Spring 2014
Inside the Whitney Biennial

Five Thursdays: April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1

Morning Session: 9:30–11:00 am
OR
Afternoon Session: 1:30–3:00 pm

Enrollment: $460
Members: $375

This 5-week course offers an in-depth exploration of the Whitney Biennial 2014. By focusing on one floor of the Biennial each week, detailed attention will be given to the curatorial visions, artists, and themes that emerge within the Biennial. Select Biennial artists will also visit the course to discuss their work. 

Instructor: Jennie Goldstein, a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum since 2011, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in art history at Stony Brook University where she studies late modern and contemporary art. Her area of focus is on intersections of visual art and dance, and her in-progress dissertation, “Moving Bodies, Moving Things: Convergences of Art and Dance, 1960–1975,” reveals historical underpinnings for the recent surge in dance in museums. Prior to pursuing her doctorate she worked as a curatorial assistant and senior curatorial assistant at the Whitney, where she contributed to many exhibitions and publications.

For general inquiries about Whitney courses, please email courses@whitney.org.

Dawoud Bey (b. 1953), Maxine Adams and Amelia Maxwell (from The Birmingham Project), 2012. Archival pigment prints mounted on dibond, 40 × 64 in. Courtesy the artist. © Dawoud Bey

Dawoud Bey (b. 1953), Maxine Adams and Amelia Maxwell (from The Birmingham Project), 2012. Archival pigment prints mounted on dibond, 40 × 64 in. Courtesy the artist. © Dawoud Bey

Fall 2013
BETWEEN BODIES AND OBJECTS: PERFORMANCE IN CONTEMPORARY ART

Six Thursdays: October 17, 24, and 31; November 7, 14, and 21

Morning Session: 9:30–11 am
OR
Afternoon Session: 1:30
3 pm

Enrollment: $460
Members: $375

This six-week course will help to contextualize and make sense of the current proliferation of performance in museum and gallery settings. How do we understand the notion of an art object in the context of performance? What role does the body—both of the performer and of the spectator—play in live art? What are the disciplinary boundaries of theater, choreography, and performance art? Are these categorizations productive or are they breaking down? This course will trace the historical roots of performance in American visual art and situate the present performative impulse within the changing landscape of modern art in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. We will highlight recent and current exhibitions that feature performance as a primary element, including a special session with Jay Sanders, the Whitney’s curator and curator of performance. This course includes a guided tour of downtown galleries.

Instructors: Jennie Goldstein, a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum since 2011, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in art history at Stony Brook University where she studies late modern and contemporary art. Her area of focus is on intersections of visual art and dance, and her in-progress dissertation, “Moving Bodies, Moving Things: Convergences of Art and Dance, 1960–1975,” reveals historical underpinnings for the recent surge in dance in museums. Prior to pursuing her doctorate she worked as a curatorial assistant and senior curatorial assistant at the Whitney, where she contributed to many exhibitions and publications.

Suzanne Hudson is Assistant Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art, at the University of Southern California. She is co-founder of the Contemporary Art Think Tank and president of the College Art Association-affiliated Society of Contemporary Art Historians. A regular contributor to Artforum, she is the author of Robert Ryman: Used Paint (MIT Press, 2009) and the co-editor of Contemporary Art: 1989–Present (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). Her book Painting Now is forthcoming from Thames & Hudson.

This program is fully registered. For general inquiries about Whitney courses, please email courses@whitney.org.

Sylvia Palacios Whitman (b. 1941), Passing Through, performance at Sonnabend Gallery, New York, May 20, 1977. Courtesy the artist.  Photograph by Babette Mangolte; © 1977 All reproduction rights reserved 

Sylvia Palacios Whitman (b. 1941), Passing Through, performance at Sonnabend Gallery, New York, May 20, 1977. Courtesy the artist.  Photograph by Babette Mangolte; © 1977 All reproduction rights reserved 


Spring 2013
Insiders/Outsiders

Six Thursdays: February 28; March 7 and 14; and April 4, 11, and 18

Morning Session: 9:30–11:00 am
OR
Afternoon Session: 1:303:00 pm

Enrollment: $450
Members
: $375

Hierarchies in the evaluation and classification of art have long served to confer a sense of authenticity and belonging to certain works while relegating others to outsider status. Many artists have been excluded on account of their race, gender, subject matter, medium, and material. This six-week course explores the implications of shifting boundaries of inclusion and exclusion in the canon of high art. What is gained and what is lost when artists who take up the mantle of identity get folded into the system they are critiquing? How do we understand the distinctions between “art” and “craft”? What is the role of institutions, such as museums, in legitimating cultural authority to marginalized objects, artists, or practices, and what is the role of the marketplace in privileging certain collectible modes of working? This course will engage questions of belonging and otherness in modern and contemporary art.

Instructor: Anna Katz, a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney since 2008, holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. Her area of focus is postwar American sculpture. Her current research project, “Hybrid Species: Lee Bontecou’s Sculpture and Drawing, 1958–1971,” will be the first book-length study devoted to Bontecou’s oeuvre.

Fall 2012
Painting Now

Five Thursdays: October 18, 25; November 1, 8, 15

Morning Session: 9:30–11:00 am
OR
Afternoon Session: 1:303:00 pm

Enrollment: $450
Members
: $375

The range and material practice of painting today has expanded greatly beyond traditional methods of oil on canvas. This five-week lecture course examines the legacy of painting within Modernism and its enduring importance in contemporary art. What is painting still capable of representing that no other medium can? How can we understand the role of technology within the practice of painting? We will focus on topics and key concerns that numerous artists are addressing, with detailed attention to prominent figures, aesthetic impulses, and artistic processes. The course will look at artists ranging from groundbreaking figures such as Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Lynda Benglis, and Richard Artschwager to contemporary practitioners such as Wade Guyton, Elizabeth Peyton, Mark Bradford, and Amy Sillman. This course includes downtown gallery tours.

Instructor: Anna Katz, a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney since 2008, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University where her area of focus is postwar American sculpture. Her in-progress dissertation, “Hybrid Species: Lee Bontecou’s Sculpture and Works on Paper, 1958–1971,” will be the first book-length study devoted to Bontecou’s oeuvre.

Spring 2012
Inside the Whitney Biennial

Five Thursdays: March 8,15; April 5, 12, 19

Morning Session: 9:30–11:00 am
OR
Afternoon Session: 1:303:00 pm

Enrollment: $450
Members
: $375

This five-week course offers an in-depth exploration of Whitney Biennial 2012. By focusing on one floor of the Biennial each week, detailed attention will be given to the artists, mediums, and themes that emerge within the Biennial. Select Biennial artists and the curators will also visit the course to discuss their work. 

Instructors:

Suzanne Hudson. Hudson is Assistant Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art, at the University of Southern California. She is co-founder of the Contemporary Art Think Tank and president of the College Art Association-affiliated Society of Contemporary Art Historians. A regular contributor to Artforum, she is the author of Robert Ryman: Used Paint (MIT Press, 2009).

Anna Katz. A Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney since 2008, Katz is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University where her area of focus is postwar American sculpture. Her in-progress dissertation, “Hybrid Species: Lee Bontecou’s Sculpture and Works on Paper, 1958–1971,” will be the first book-length study devoted to Bontecou’s oeuvre.

Fall 2011
Artists’ Communities

Six Thursdays
October 13, 20, 27; November 3, 10 and 17

Morning Session: 9:30–11:00 am
OR
Afternoon Session: 1:30-3:00 pm

Enrollment: $450
Members
: $375

This six-week course focuses on “Artists’ Communities” and explores the informal networks, communities, and movements that develop among artists working with similar concerns and a shared sensibility. It begins by looking back to historical groups such as the Stieglitz circle, and then examines the Earth Art movement, the Pictures Generation, and more contemporary communities.This course includes two guided tours of downtown galleries.

Instructor: Suzanne Hudson. Hudson is Assistant Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Southern California. She is co-founder of the Contemporary Art Think Tank and president of the College Art Association-affiliated Society of Contemporary Art Historians. A regular contributor to Artforum, she is the author of Robert Ryman: Used Paint (MIT Press, 2009).

Sherrie Levine, “La Fortune” (After Man Ray: 4),  1990. Felt and mahogany, 33 × 110 × 60 in. (83.8 × 279.4 × 152.4 cm)  overall. Edition of 6. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York;  purchase with funds from Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo, Beth Rudin DeWoody,  Eugene Schwartz, and Robert Sosnick  92.1a-h© 1990 Sherrie Levine

Fall 2010
Inside Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time

Four Wednesdays: November 3, 10, 17, and December 1
10–11:30 am

Enrollment: $350
Members
: $275

This four-week course offers an in-depth exploration of Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time. By focusing on select works within the exhibition each week, detailed attention will be given to the stylistic and thematic choices of the artists, as well as the historical context in which the works were produced. We will explore the development of different modes of realism in American art in the early twentieth century, and the rise of the city and urban life as a subject for this group of painters. This class includes exclusive access to the galleries when the Museum is closed to the public.

Instructor: Michael Lobel. Lobel is Associate Professor of Art History and Director of the M.A. Program in Modern and Contemporary Art, Criticism, and Theory at Purchase College, State University of New York. He is the author of Image Duplicator: Roy Lichtenstein and the Emergence of Pop Art (Yale University Press, 2002) and James Rosenquist: Pop Art, Politics and History in the 1960s (University of California Press, 2009). He is currently writing a book on John Sloan, the Ashcan School, and popular illustration.

Fall 2010
Beyond the Artist’s Hand: Contemporary Art Methods and Practices

Six Thursdays: October 7, 14, 21,28, November 4 and 18
10–11:30 am

Enrollment: $450
Members
: $375

This six-week course examines the range and variety of contemporary artists’ working methods and processes, and will help to make sense of significant shifts in artistic modes of production. We will explore the trend of moving away from conventional materials and traditional definitions of mediums to a more expansive understanding of what constitutes an object. We will look at key artists working today and ask how their work relates to the art of the past. This course includes a studio visit with a guest artist and a tour of Chelsea galleries.

Instructor: Suzanne Hudson. Hudson is Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is co-founder of the Contemporary Art Think Tank and president of the College Art Association-affiliated Society of Contemporary Art Historians. A regular contributor to Artforum, she is the author of Robert Ryman: Used Paint (MIT Press, 2009).

Spring 2010
Inside 2010, the Whitney Biennial

Five Thursdays
March 11, 18, April 8, 15, and 22
10–11:30 am

Enrollment: $375
Members
: $300

This five-week course offers an in-depth exploration of 2010, the Whitney Biennial. By focusing on one floor of 2010 each week, detailed attention will be given to the artists, mediums, and themes that emerge within the Biennial. Close examination of Collecting Biennials, a related exhibition which will showcase previous Biennial artists from the Whitney’s collection, will offer an historical framework for this 75th Biennial, while also allowing for consideration of the legacy that 2010 will impart. Select Biennial artists will also visit the course to discuss their work.  

Instructor: Kate Nesin. Nesin is a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney and a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, where she specializes in Post-War and contemporary American artists and is working on a dissertation examining the constructed objects of painter Cy Twombly. Her publications include essays on Richard Serra for the Guggenheim Bilbao, the journal Parkett, and the Gagosian Gallery; as well as essays on Twombly for Tate Papers and the Gagosian Gallery. She has lectured on Twombly at the Tate Modern in London and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Fall 2009
American Abstract Art: O’Keeffe to the Present

Daytime session: 11 am–12:30 pm or
Evening session: 7–8:30 pm

    Enrollment: $450
    Members
    : $375

    This eight-week course investigates key movements and artists with particular focus on the historical origins of abstract art and on significant models of abstraction as they developed in the twentieth century and continue to develop today. We will explore topics ranging from the emergence of nonrepresentational painting to the persistence of abstraction in contemporary art. The course includes two downtown gallery tours.

    Suzanne Hudson is Assistant Professor at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in residence at the Phillips Collection Center for the Study of Modern Art, Washington, DC. She is co-founder of the Contemporary Art Think Tank and president of the College Art Association-affiliated Society of Contemporary Art Historians. A regular contributor toArtforum, she is the author of Robert Ryman: Used Paint  (MIT Press, 2009).