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The Independent Study Program (ISP) consists of three interrelated parts: Studio Program, Curatorial Program, and Critical Studies Program. The ISP provides a setting within which students pursuing art practice, curatorial work, art historical scholarship, and critical writing engage in ongoing discussions and debates that examine the historical, social, and intellectual conditions of artistic production. The program encourages the theoretical and critical study of the practices, institutions, and discourses that constitute the field of culture.
Each year fifteen students are selected to participate in the Studio Program, four in the Curatorial Program, and six in the Critical Studies Program. Curatorial and critical studies students are designated as Helena Rubinstein Fellows in recognition of the substantial support provided to the program by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation. The program begins in early September and concludes at the end of the following May. Many of the participants are enrolled at universities and art schools and receive academic credit for their participation, while others have recently completed their formal studies.
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 19, 2016, 5–8 pm
The studio exhibition presents work made by participants in the 2016 Whitney Independent Study Studio Program: Noor Abed, Damali Abrams the Glitter Priestess, Tasha Bjelić, Brian Block, Daniel Cerrejón, Zorica Čolić, Sonia Louise Davis, Raphael Fleuriet, Maya Krinsky, Jim Grilli, Julia Phillips, Alan Ruiz, Carrie Schneider, Shevaun Wright.
The exhibition remains on view from May 19–June 2 at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (EFA) Project Space, 323 West 39th Street, 2nd Floor. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 12–6 pm. Admission is free.
2016 Studio Program posterDownload
2014 Studio Program posterDownload
2013 Studio Program posterDownload
2012 Exhibition CatalogueDownload
Curatorial students collaborate to produce an exhibition. Working closely with the program’s faculty and curators at the Whitney, the students develop proposals for the exhibition. Once a proposal has been approved by the Museum’s curators, the students proceed to select artworks, arrange loans, and design and oversee the installation of the exhibition. The students write essays for and participate in the production of a catalogue accompanying their exhibition.
Curated by denisse andrade, Liz Park, Tim Saltarelli, and Kristina Scepanski, Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellows of the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, 2011–2012.
Curated by Anik Fournier, Michelle Lim, Amanda Parmer and Robert Wuilfe, Whitney Independent Study Program Curatorial Fellows, 2009–2010
Curated by Jennifer Burris, Sofía Olascoaga, Sadia Shirazi, and Gaia Tedone, Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellows of the Whitney Independent Study Program, 2010–2011
Critical Studies participants engage in individual scholarly research and critical writing projects through tutorials with a professional art historian, critic, or cultural theorist. The program’s faculty arranges tutorials and provides additional advice and guidance. A symposium is held in May at the Whitney, at which the Critical Studies students present papers.
The faculty of the ISP is available to meet individually with all members of the program to discuss their work or more general practical, theoretical, or historical questions. The program’s regular and visiting faculty members are Ron Clark, Mary Kelly, Benjamin Buchloh, Hal Foster, Laura Mulvey, Isaac Julien, Gregg Bordowitz, Andrea Fraser, Chantal Mouffe, Alex Alberro, Jennifer Gonzalez, Soyoung Yoon, Okwui Enwezor, and Trista E. Mallory.
Each week during the year, a professional artist, theorist, or historian conducts a seminar at the program. Members of all three components of the program participate in these seminars, which focus on the work of the seminar leader. In addition, all members of the program participate in a weekly reading seminar in social and cultural theory led by Ron Clark and members of the program’s visiting faculty. This seminar provides an occasion for the group to collectively study and discuss contemporary critical theory. There is a particular emphasis on the methodologies of critical cultural studies and social art history.
Those eligible for participation in the ISP include graduate students, candidates for advanced postgraduate degrees, undergraduates with a demonstrated capacity for advanced scholarship, or those who have recently completed formal academic study. The ISP welcomes international applications and can provide a J-1 cultural visa if needed.
Credit may be granted by the students’ home universities for work done in the ISP. Most cooperating schools grant twelve to sixteen credits for participation in the program. Students need to make the necessary arrangements to receive credit.
All application materials and supporting documents must be received by April 1.
Send applications to:
Ron Clark, Director
Independent Study Program
100 Lafayette St., 5th floor
New York, NY 10013
t (212) 431-1737
f (212) 431-1783
Email inquiries are preferred. Faxed or emailed applications will not be accepted.
After a preliminary review of applications by the program’s faculty, arrangements will be made to interview final candidates. Studio Program and Critical Studies Program applicants will be contacted in late April; Curatorial Program applicants will be contacted in early May.
Support for The Independent Study Program is provided by Margaret Morgan and Wesley Phoa, The Capital Group Charitable Foundation, the Whitney Contemporaries through their annual Art Party benefit, the Easton Foundation, the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Edward and Sally Van Lier Foundation, and an anonymous donor.
Endowment support is provided by Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo, the Dorothea L. Leonhardt Fund of the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, the Helena Rubinstein Foundation, and George S. Harris.
The Independent Study Program is an equal opportunity education program. The Program does not discriminate because of age, sex, religion, race, color, national origin, disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other factor prohibited by law.