Curatorial Practice

Over the last 20 years, curatorial studies have focused on the role of the curator in shaping relationships among artists, artworks, exhibition spaces, and audiences, and the exhibition as the preeminent forum for presenting and analyzing artistic developments.

The first of its kind on the West Coast, CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice operates within this trajectory and offers an expanded perspective on curating contemporary art and culture.

Alongside an investigation of the history of exhibitions, the program seeks to explore collaborative, artist-led, and other curatorial initiatives that challenge and advance existing paradigms of exhibition making.

Reflecting San Francisco's geographic location and cultural histories, the program also emphasizes curatorial and art practices in Asia and Latin America.

The curriculum provides a flexible framework for research and investigation into the contemporary art history, theory, and criticism informing curatorial practice, as well as opportunities for the articulation of these in exhibition and publication projects. Students take courses off campus to gain direct experience with the challenges of specific locations and situations. Project-based learning and case studies help to focus discussions and research.

And students enjoy access to the unique resources of CCA’s Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, which enables direct contact with artworks, archival material, and artists as well as opportunities to curate exhibitions.

Our core faculty, together with an international roster of visiting curators and artists, expose students to a number of possible modes of operation in intensive seminars, critiques, and studio visits. In tandem with promoting the students’ intellectual and aesthetic development, the faculty members contribute to the students’ refinement of judgment by advising and critiquing their practices and writings.

We particularly encourage students who are interested in thinking broadly about innovative forms of exhibition making, and who find inspiration in current artistic practice and potential in the curatorial role. We welcome highly motivated applicants from a broad spectrum of cultural, professional, and academic backgrounds.

Recent Projects

Many Places at Once
Words and Places: Etel Adnan
On Apology
God Only Knows Who the Audience Is
HSz: as is/as if

For information on programs and resources available to all CCA graduate students, see Graduate Studies.