An Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art

29 Dec 2022

‘Living artists are concerned with the same issues and debates that we are all experiencing and share. So while contemporary art can be challenging, many of the themes are nevertheless highly familiar and relevant’.

—Joshua White, lecturer, founder and presenter of The Art Channel

Inquisitive and enthusiastic, Joshua White was interested in art from an early age, having grown up wandering the Victoria & Albert Museum around for pleasure and discovery.

An alumni of Christie’s Education himself, White studied a Master’s degree in History of Art following an undergraduate degree from the University of Oxford and a career in television, film and the internet. ‘When I graduated from Christie’s,’ White explains, ‘I was asked by my course tutors to teach some classes and lectures for new students, which led me to full time teaching in the field of modern and contemporary art’.

‘My role is fundamentally to communicate facts, ideas, and debates about what artists do and what they have achieved while also explaining the techniques and materials that they use. I principally teach through illustrated lectures and leading visits to collections and temporary exhibitions’.

Offering the insight of one who has literally been through it, White’s teaches the course with the flourish of one who fundamentally loves the subject and the familiarity and ease of someone for whom modern and contemporary art is an area of expertise. ‘My approach to teaching is to share my enthusiasm for the subject with students and planting that seed of interest, trying to inspire people to begin their own process of discovery’.

White has gone on to embellish his degree through constant research, learning, looking, thinking, writing and teaching. Through his online project, The Art Channel, White currently makes and presents films about artistic exhibitions, keeping a finger on the pulse of the movements of the contemporary art world. Not only does the course cover the recent history and developments in visual culture, but it also addresses art being made today and reflects the times we live in. ‘Living artists are concerned with the same issues and debates that we all experience and share’, says White. ‘So, while contemporary art can be challenging, many of the themes are nevertheless highly familiar and relevant.

This acute survey will take its participants through the story of how modern art developed as a radical challenge to traditional and historic ideas about artistic images and objects and will track how this artistic avant-garde rebellion became the prevalent taste of today’s art market. Through the foundation and a set of tools that the course grants students, they will gain the confidence to keep learning about art. Participants can expect to be inspired to visit collections and exhibitions and be able to interpret them through the core understanding of the tenets of modern and contemporary art.

‘I aim for my classes to start an educational journey that never ends, providing a foundation of knowledge and the ability to interpret art for themselves with zest and confidence. Students can then take that progress in any direction they wish, whether to become art world professionals or simply become life-long enthusiasts and connoisseurs.’


For more information about An Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art, presented by Joshua White, please click here.