Contemporary Art History is a specialization focusing on visual, process-based, and digital art since the 1960s. Far from being restricted to the classical art forms of painting, sculpture, and graphics, todays art includes installation art and site-specific projects, digital or new media art (interactive installations, locative media works, software art, networked art, electronic art and video art), performative and activist projects and artistic research.
What unites these art forms is that they directly address the complexity of todays society, within which information technologies and globalization play an ever-increasing role, leading to networked forms of artistic practice that transgress national and cultural borders. At the same time, artists are very aware of the heritage they build upon, deconstructing, commenting on, or appropriating art history, leading to various attempts to describe contemporary art with terms such as post-modern, post-conceptual, post-medium, and more recently even post-internet and post-digital and post-contemporary...
Contemporary Art History trains you as an art historian who is equipped to deal with the challenges of tackling this complex but fascinating field. After having followed this program, you will have a solid knowledge of todays visual, process-based, and digital art, and be equipped with the means to research, present, and write about the latter, enabling you to pursue a career in the cultural sector (museums, festivals, art galleries, archives), as art critic, or freelance cultural entrepreneur.
The programme in a nutshell
The Master's programme comprises 60 ECTS and is completely taught in English.
You will kick off your first semester by self-critically questioning your role as an art historian with a specific interest in contemporary art by following a class on Methods and Theories of Art History in the first period. Parallel to this, you will follow a research seminar dedicated to a specific topic within contemporary art, in order to immediately get started in developing your knowledge of the field and to improve your research and writing skills. While this class continues in the second period, the second period will also allow you to delve into the depth of digital and process-based art while following a class specifically dedicated to new media art.
While the major part of the second semester will be dedicated to supporting you in writing your MA thesis, in period four you will follow a class on art criticism to further develop your skills in writing and in critically assessing contemporary art.
Next to this mandatory package, you have plenty of space to follow electives, such as the classes Reading Concepts of Intermediality, Crossmedial Exhibitions, or The Art of Comparison offered in the framework of the CAMS programme.
Prepare for a career in the cultural sector, art festivals, exhibitions and galleries, art journalism, or the creative industries. Contemporary Art History equips you with skills and critical insight to be able to comment on, judge, present, and write about art in the information age in an independent and critical manner. The program thereby prepares you for a position in which substantial knowledge and research skills in the field of contemporary and digital art are required, such as organizing exhibitions, events, or festivals, writing about art for newspapers, magazines or online-media, working in public programming or educational departments of museums, the city council, festival organizations, in public or private archives, or pursue research on a freelance basis or within academia.
Studying at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880.
The university is located in the vibrant city of Amsterdam, one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with the largest concentration of students in the Netherlands and where English is the second language spoken. The campus is surrounded by one of the most dynamic and fast-growing business districts in the Netherlands hosting over 700 companies.
With more than 23,000 students, of which 3000 are international, the university conducts cutting-edge research into problems of major societal and scientific importance. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes reflecting a strong level of involvement in current societal issues: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, to engage with society and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world. In addition Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.
For more information, go to: www.vuamsterdam.com