MFA Art Writing scholarships for fall 2017


Left to right: Emmanuel Iduma, Teju Cole, and David Levi Strauss in the SVA Theatre, 2015. 

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

Do you want to write about art, study the philosophical and historical bases of art and criticism, and explore the history and future of the image? Are you looking to develop the way you write and see, and to make connections to move forward? Generous departmental scholarships, as well as other forms of assistance, are available for successful applicants to the MFA program in Art Writing at the School of Visual Arts this year. It’s not too late to apply for fall 2017.

Situated in the heart of New York City and at the intersection of words and images, the Art Writing MFA program offers students the opportunity to bring their language into a complex meeting with the visual arts and the ideas that inform it. From its inception, this program has also had a special emphasis on the history and future of the image. The writers of tomorrow must study images in all of their manifestations in order to better understand how we are subject to them.

Our students come from all over the world—Nigeria, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Brazil, Ecuador, Ireland, France, England, and Canada—as well as from around the United States. They also come from a wide variety of backgrounds and education, with undergraduate degrees in Art, Art History, Comparative Literature, Philosophy, and Creative Writing, among others. What they have in common is intellectual curiosity, a passion for art, and the desire to write well.

In addition to our exceptional core faculty—including chair David Levi Strauss, Nancy Princenthal, Jennifer Krasinski, Dejan Lukic, Chuck Stein, Debra Bricker Balken, Thomas Beard, Emmanuel Iduma, and Lynne Tillman—we invite many other writers, critics, philosophers, editors, artists, and art historians in each year to give lectures and to meet with our students individually and in small groups.

This September, three new instructors will be joining the faculty to teach new courses:
Kaelen Wilson-Goldie: “Home Is a Foreign Place: Writing on Art, Conflict, and Estrangement”
Michael Taussig: “Walter Benjamin: Profane Illumination and the Dialectical Image”
Siddhartha Mitter: “Writing Art and Race”

It is obviously a big advantage to have such a program situated in the heart of New York City, amidst the greatest concentration of artists and art activity in the world. The connections made between students, faculty, and departmental guests working in the field are invaluable and long lasting.

If it’s not good writing, it can’t be good criticism, to paraphrase Walter Benjamin in “The Author as Producer.” That’s the basic premise of the graduate program in Art Writing at the School of Visual Arts. The real history of art writing and criticism is vast, including everyone who has ever written well on art and its relation to the rest of the world. The discipline of art history has its own traditions, methodologies, terminology, and biases. Criticism needs a new “expanded field” of its own, now, and this expanded field has to be grounded in radical literature and philosophy. See responses from 15 of our alumni to the question “What Is Criticism, Now?” in the December 2016/January 2017 issue of the Brooklyn Rail.

There are still a few seats at the table for this year’s MFA Art Writing class.

Contact us at Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo. or T (212) 592 2408 for further information about the application, or to set up an appointment to tour the department. Curriculum information, faculty bios, recordings of our popular lecture series, student writing, and news can all be found at