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2009-03-17 11:03:03

MFA in Art Criticism Writing
at the School of Visual Arts in New York City

(212) 592-2408

The practice of criticism involves making finer and finer distinctions among like things, but it also a way to ask fundamental questions about art and life. To pursue both of these functions requires a grounding in art history and aesthetics and also a wide-ranging knowledge of and curiosity about contemporary culture.

The Art Criticism Writing graduate program at the School of Visual Arts offers a two-year course of study leading to an MFA degree. SVA is one of the nation's leading independent colleges of art and design, located in the heart of Manhattan, just blocks from the Chelsea gallery district.

For students who want to improve their writing and advance their knowledge of contemporary art, theory, and history, this program offers specialized instruction from practitioner-teachers led by the Chair of the program, David Levi Strauss. Current faculty includes Robert Hullot-Kentor, Tom Huhn, Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, Raphael Rubinstein, Ken Johnson, Suzanne Anker, Susan Bee, and Bill Beckley.

The core faculty is joined by visiting critics and scholars who come into the program in various capacities on a frequent basis. Publisher of the Brooklyn Rail Phong Bui, Art in America senior editor Nancy Princenthal, and poet and essayist Ann Lauterbach all visited our Thesis Seminar in the spring, and Leo Steinberg conducted a special seminar for our students last fall. Recent visiting lecturers include Bill Berkson, Carol Becker, W.J.T. Mitchell, Susan Buck-Morss, John Yau, Michael Taussig, and Avital Ronell.

The small class size of the program allows a great deal of one-on-one time with the faculty and extensive dialogue with other students. The focus in writing is on the essay as form, as well as on shorter forms of review, through our criticism blog Degree Critical.

An underlying principle of this program from its inception has been that the image should begin to occupy a place in the understanding of life comparable to that occupied by the humanities and sciences. To that end, we spend a good deal of time studying the history of images and how they currently operate in the world.

The early decision deadline for applications was January 15, 2009. We are now accepting applications on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. Significant scholarship packages are available on a competitive basis.

The Chair will be available through the spring to meet with interested candidates to discuss the program and its philosophy. Potential applicants are also invited to sit in on the foundation seminar by appointment.

To download an application, go to or contact, (212) 592-2408 to arrange an interview or visit.
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