This course examines the history of contemporary art through key developments in the exhibition form.
Delivered in collaboration with Afterall, the art research and publishing enterprise based at Central Saint Martins. It's part of our research community which includes students in MPhil/PhD programmes and research staff. This course is part of the Art Programme.
Great reasons to apply:
Exhibition Studies enables you to pursue your studies whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities. You are expected to commit 30 hours per week to your studies; your taught input will normally be scheduled over a maximum of two to three days per week during term time. This course is delivered in conjunction with Afterall, the art research and publishing organisation based at Central Saint Martins. You'll have unique access to the resources and knowledge already amassed by Afterall, as well as to its network of contributors and collaborating institutions, including high profile curators and theorists such as Roger Buergel and Claire Bishop.
Collaborative work with publishing projects led by Afterall. A long-term current project is 'Exhibition Histories' produced in partnership with the Centre for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, with the support of MUDAM, Luxembourg, and Arts Council England. It represents the first comprehensive attempt at writing a history of contemporary exhibition practice. You'll be part of a wider research community within Central Saint Martins. The College has its own, dedicated Research Group, 'Exhibitions - histories, practices' which brings together theorists, artists and curators who are investigating the exhibition form:
- You'll have the chance to direct and participate in a group event with invited professionals.This event builds your professional skills and provides a discussion forum challenging you to recognise and debate key questions arising from your research project work to date
- You'll be equipped with the skills to pursue work in the academic and research contexts of professional environments, to undertake PhD study, or pursue independent research and you'll benefit from links with relevant professional and academic organisations in London and internationally and from the varied expertise of our research staff.
Who should take this course
MRes Art allows you to address a specialist area of fine art research and to explore the relationships between your chosen specialism and the broader fine art community in the context of our Fine Art Programme. Synergies in our Fine Art Programme - incorporating MA Fine Art, MA Art and Science, MA Contemporary Photography - Practices and Philosophies, MRes Art: Exhibition Studies, MRes Art - Moving Image, and MRes Art -Theory and Philosophy - create a dynamic context for exploring practices and issues within contemporary culture. In its extended full-time mode the course gives you the flexibility to access London's richly varied opportunities for work and study while maximising your personal and professional development.
MRes Art prepares you to work particularly in the academic and research contexts of professional environments, to undertake PhD study, or pursue independent research. The course benefits from links with relevant professional and academic organisations in London and internationally and from the varied expertise of its research staff. The three pathways provide a focus for your study while also enabling you to explore shared ground and questions of disciplinary territories and boundaries.
Exhibition Studies considers exhibitions and curating inside and outside the museum and gallery, in order to analyse their effects on contemporary art practice, and construct an alternative, critical art history. Debate follows the broad lines of art history's historiography and methodology with the goal to deepen your understanding of important questions of method in the field
Exhibition Studies is delivered in conjunction with Afterall, the art research and publishing organisation based at Central Saint Martins. It provides for the first time an opportunity to examine the history of contemporary exhibition practice through the detailed study and analysis of case studies and practical, theoretical, cultural or socio-political developments. This specific approach to the study of curatorial practice is unique. Art history courses don't systematically tackle the exhibition form, which is the first point of access to art by an audience and therefore shapes the way art is understood, while curatorial courses tend to have a vocational character and don't promote a thorough analysis of the history of the mechanisms and implications of display strategies.
MRes Art - Exhibition Studies supports and is shaped by:
Development of scholarship and research in the history of contemporary art through the history and theory of exhibitions. Collaborative work with publishing projects led by Afterall. A long-term current project is ‘Exhibition Histories, currently produced in partnership with the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, with the support of MUDAM, Luxembourg, and Arts Council England. It represents the first comprehensive attempt at writing a history of contemporary exhibition practice. Potential student participation in such projects leading to specific public outputs such as publications, conferences and symposia. Student/staff access to the resources and knowledge already amassed by Afterall, as well as to its network of contributors and collaborating institutions, including their staff and archives.
From the mid nineteenth century onwards, and more notably since 1945, exhibitions have played a key role in defining art's development or opening up new artistic positions. By documenting and analysing institutional exhibitions, spectacular public events, artistic manifestoes and counterpublic gatherings amongst other forms, it is possible to write new art narratives that involve artistic, curatorial and public moments of exchange. We have chosen 1955, the date of the first Documenta in Kassel, as the starting date for the course as marking a moment when the avant-garde moved fully into the public domain and integrated into spectacular culture. Since then, it is largely exhibitions through which the possibilities and meaning of modern and contemporary art have been disclosed and the curatorial has assumed a new significance. MRes Art: Exhibition Studies will focus on these public artistic phenomena in all their forms as a way to write the history of the last half-century of art.
The term 'exhibition' covers a variety of forms of public presentation of art, from the physical exhibition and catalogue to websites and independent publications. In general, such exhibitions are understood as collective enterprises involving more than one artist or curator.
One of the key focuses of the course will be the history of the white cube, as an exhibition space that became the default curatorial style. The consequences for artworks of this supposedly "neutral" location have been hugely influential, but there have always been many alternative proposals that mediate a viewer's relationship to the art differently. Both large and small-scale exhibitions have offered such alternatives, while the modernist paradigm still largely survives in museums. Recent decades have also been characterised by an expansion of the geographies of contemporary art that call out for more analysis and thoughtful documentation of the biennales, triennIales and mega-shows that have proliferated in recent times. The development of installation art, event sculpture, expanded cinema and the blurring of art and curatorial roles will all be potential subjects for study.
The professional curator and the globetrotting artist, together with the 'cultural producer', the dealer and the corporate patron/collector, are the archetypal positions through which the art world operates. Their interrelationships will be examined in the course, drawing attention to global relations and hierarchies of power. The connections to 'neo-liberal' economics, the demands of global markets and audiences, the emergence of media and forms that communicate across cultural difference (or don't) will be the subject of studies based on specific and exemplary exhibitions.
Exhibition Studies is unique in its relationship with Afterall, the international art research and publishing organisation based in London, at CSM. MRes Art: Exhibition Studies is spearheaded by the academic expertise within the Afterall team and benefits from the professional networking opportunities of publishing projects. Afterall publications include the Afterall journal and website, and the 'Exhibition Histories' series, all of which provide relevant discursive materials for study. There will also be opportunities for student involvement in professional practice and relevant contacts for individual research development will be provided.
Fees & Funding:
Home/EU feeTuition fees for 2019/20 -
About Course Provider
University of the Arts London (UAL) is Europe’s largest specialist art and design university. Its unique creative community is made up of six renowned Colleges, each with its own world-class reputation: Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Arts.
UAL is the world’s sixth best University for Art and Design in the QS World University Rankings 2018. Offering an extensive range of courses in art, design, fashion, communication and performing arts, UAL is the main talent pipeline to the UK’s creative industries.
Home to a diverse community of over 18,000 students from 129 countries, UAL has a track record for launching and furthering careers. Our graduates can be found in every part and at every level of the creative and cultural sectors, from heads of global business to self-employed practitioners, and on shortlists for awards ranging from the Turner Prize to the Oscars.
Building on UAL’s association with some of the most original thinkers in the arts, students and staff are inspired to challenge convention, generate new ideas and nurture talent. Home to award-winning staff and students for more than a century, UAL’s Colleges are at the forefront of learning, creativity and practice in their specialist subjects. This close-knit College structure offers opportunities for learning and enquiry for people at all stages of their creative development.
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