Speak with Confidence about Contemporary Art
Speak with Confidence about Contemporary Art
Many people find the language around contemporary art daunting, while the art objects themselves can be mystifying. What is ‘contemporary’ art? How does it differ from the art of previous generations? How can we approach it, begin to discuss it, and form opinions and ideas about it? How is contemporary art made and where is it displayed? How is it validated, bought and sold? How do we begin to draw meanings from it and make it relevant to our own lives and experiences?
This self-directed course will address such questions (and demystify key concepts) by modelling conversations in four twenty-minute filmed interviews with art world practitioners. Lizzie Perrotte, experienced educator and highly skilled communicator, provides an approach to discussing contemporary art. Artist Ann Carrington, whose work has been acquired by museums such as the V&A and collectors like Gwyneth Paltrow, discusses her inspirations, how she makes her work, and how an artist views commissions, collections and exhibitions. Victoria Pomery OBE, director of Turner Contemporary, talks about the social and cultural value of contemporary art, and how contemporary galleries can lead to economic regeneration. Christie’s London’s head of the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, Tessa Lord, explores the sale of contemporary art and explains the terminology used by galleries and auction houses.
The course will guide you through these interviews, encourage you in your analysis of them, and provide you with questions and ways of thinking that you can apply to the wider contemporary art world in your future conversations.
Also supplied with this course are handouts consolidating key ideas, optional readings and assignments, and opportunities to put into practice the visual and verbal vocabulary acquired on the course.
This course is self-directed. Students will have 12 weeks from registration to complete the course.
This course has been CPD certified.
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Images courtesy of Ann Carrington. © Ann Carrington
By the end of this course:
• You will have deepened your understanding of what is meant by the term ‘contemporary art’ and the processes by which it is made, displayed, viewed, validated, valued and sold.
• You will have developed a greater understanding of some specific contemporary artworks and their art-world context.
• You will have learned how to approach an artwork methodically and what questions to ask of it to learn more about its appearance, materials, maker and meanings.
• You will be equipped with appropriate vocabulary with which to discuss works of contemporary art (and their art-world contexts).
• You will have reflected on your own tastes and interests relating to the contemporary art field, and furthered your understanding of how such opinions might be formed and expressed.
• You will be equipped with key discussion topics relevant to the field of contemporary art, thereby honing analytical and conversational skills that could feed into both professional and personal environments.
2.5 hour Single-Session Program
Section 1 – Welcome – Defining Contemporary Art
Section 2 – Approaching Contemporary Art including video interview with educator Lizzie Perotte
Section 3 – Making Contemporary Art including video interview with artist Ann Carrington
Section 4 – The Impact of Contemporary Art including video interview with gallery director Victoria Pomery OBE
Section 5 – Selling Contemporary Art including video interview with Head of Christie’s London’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, Tessa Lord
Section 6 – Applying the lessons of the case-studies.
Online Course Brochure
Online Course Brochure
"The case studies and research links provided an effective way for the information to be communicated."
“I liked how it was designed, it was engaging and the instructor very clear.”
“As a contemporary gallery owner, I facilitated my sales team of four to take the course. Everyone (including myself) found it informative and valuable.”
“I would recommend to go for a self-directed class whenever it is possible. I am working and living in Asia, so this format is much more practical for someone like me to be able to connect whenever and wherever I can.”
“I particularly appreciated the way contemporary art was analysed from the perspective of different professionals working in the art field. This helped me to develop a wide view of the contemporary art world and to learn in an interactive way”
“I would highly recommend the course. Everyone, from novice to professional, will benefit from the curriculum. I am a painter who's been showing my work internationally for 40 years, and have a degree in art history, and I still felt the course was very informative.”
“I really enjoyed the interviews that were conducted. I learned so much. I liked having the handout for vocabulary and making notes...and using that for each section with the interviews. The interview subjects were great choices – they were able to speak about their areas very clearly and passionately.”
"I would recommend the course as it offers an easy accessible way to approach the subject and to think about some key aspects of the contemporary art world."
"I think, as someone who works in the contemporary art world but whose background is in history, it's a nice introduction to the basic vocabulary and concepts."
"The lessons were fairly succinct, but packed a lot of valuable information into them."
“The videos and quality questions were interesting and engaging. Although I studied and explored the world of contemporary art, sculpture and music, Christie’s extended my knowledge. Thank you, I enjoyed this course.”
“I would totally recommend this class.”
“I very much liked the structure of the course...I liked the flexibility to come and go, and also to go back and re-watch sections to reinforce the topics. I really feel that I gained a lot of insight into contemporary art.”
The course will require approx. 2.5 hours of study time. There will be optional assignments and optional further reading.
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The course is facilitated through an online learning environment that is compatible with most modern browsers. It is the responsibility of students to have the proper hardware and software required to participate, along with access to WiFi. The basic technical requirements can be found in the FAQs.
Terms and Conditions
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