7 Online Art Courses and Lessons You Can Take Right Now

March 19, 2020

Under the current threat of the notorious coronavirus, the world is going digital. Many cultural institutions are sharing their content online so that the people can feel empowered to explore, educate and enjoy art in these hard times.

The concept of online leaning, or e-learning, on the other hand, is hardly a novel concept. Attending lessons and doing courses from the comfort of our homes has been first choice of many, which is why were inspired to find our which are the most interesting courses and lessons related to modern and contemporary art available at the moment on the world wide web. Most of them are free and self-paced, so all you gotta do is - sit and learn!

Here is a list of seven art courses and lessons you can attend online right now!

Featured image: What is Contemporary Art MoMA Coursera Course.

Coursera Courses by MoMA

The first set of courses on our top list are the ones offered by The Museum of Modern Art in New York via an online platform called Coursera. To bring closer both the past and present, MoMA decided to feature several free courses based on the artifacts from their collection to help people understand and enjoy the art.

The first one Fashion as Design unravels the story about the development of this specific creative field with a specific emphasis on the craft itself, as well as its social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental implications. This course includes interviews, studio visits, and other useful resources for better comprehension of the development of each garment and their changing uses, meanings, and impact over time.

In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting revisits the legacy of the 20th century’s leading masters of abstraction by focusing on the practices of seven New York School artists, such as Willem de Kooning, Yayoi Kusama, Agnes Martin, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, and Mark Rothko.

The third course What is Contemporary Art? tends to answer this question with more than seventy artworks since the 1980s until the present day. All the major tendencies will be discussed from painting to computer art with artists, architects, and designers speaking about their creative processes, materials, and inspiration.

The course Art & Ideas: Teaching with Themes is conceived to support the development of critical skills based on thematic teaching practices and building of confidence in including modern and contemporary art into interdisciplinary lesson plans. Similarly, the course Art & Inquiry: Museum Teaching Strategies For Your Classroom offers methods of integrating artworks into your classroom.

Seeing Through Photographs offers a concentrated survey of photography as media with photographs from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art and an array of perspectives on what a photograph is and the ways that photography has been used throughout history.

Art & Activity: Interactive Strategies for Engaging with art is formed for primary and secondary teachers of all disciplines to offer useful methods and strategies that will make the students empowered participants. The last course titled Modern Art & Ideas is designed for anyone interested in learning more about modern and contemporary art.

The Whitney Museum Courses

The second set of courses on our top list is offered by the Whitney Museum. Although mostly charged, they are conceived with great effort and aimed to broaden the ways we perceive art.

At the moment, three courses are offered - the first one called Art Beyond Border departs from the exhibition Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945 and examines how artists challenge the common ideas of citizenship and belonging while rethinking new forms of community.

The second one is Crash Courses, single-session courses, conceived by the established experts to revisit key topics in modern and contemporary art.

The last course called How To Look aims to help people to focus on attentiveness by learning simple tools for observing and describing works of art.

#metkids by The Met Museum

The Met Museum formed a special program for kids who can discover the museum in a fun and educational manner along with the adults. Most importantly, #MetKids was inspired, tested, and approved by real kids aged seven to twelve.

The web page offers an interactive map that unravels more than 5,000 years of art; fun facts about artworks depicting dragons, dancers, mummies, masks and more; enables creative projects for at home or in the galleries; and generates #MetKids blog.

Smarthistory Art Courses

The fourth set of courses is offered via Smarthistory, a renowned art history resource that supports students, instructors, and lifelong learners. This valuable online platform also features essays, PDF art books, and videos. Currently, Smarthistory has six thematic courses that you can attend free of charge.

The first one called Seeing America was conceived by Smarthistory in collaboration with sixteen leading museums and explores the long history of the United States, starting from the American natives to the modern era.

ARCHES (Cultural Heritage at risk) is a mini-course focused on the endangered cultural heritage around the world, whilst the course Art Appreciation conceived by Dr. Asa Mittman aims to explore human interaction with art.

There are also Short and long courses for AP and A-level art history, Creating and conserving courses devoted to the materials and techniques used by artists over the centuries, as well as a Video creation guide that offers users to learn how to make a Smarthistory-style video.

I Speak Contemporary, by Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

The Education Department of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo within the Diderot Project launched the I Speak Contemporary project, intended to introduce a program of e-learning and workshops in schools as useful educational tools for students and teachers. Since 2013/2014, I Speak Contemporary gathered more than fifty thousand students from primary and secondary schools in Italian regions Piedmont and the Aosta Valley.

This online platform offers the cycle of video-lessons called Art at Times as an interactive learning tool. Currently, six courses are available, and we’ll describe briefly two of them.

The first one called Reflects on Itself brings the case study of the art piece La rivoluzione siamo noi (a mannequin hanging from a coat hanger; a self-portrait of the artist dressed in a felt suit reminiscent of Josef Beuys) by the celebrated artist Maurizio Cattelan, best known for his memorable and rather humorous installations. The second course is focused on Goshka Macuga’s performance The Letter which was the reenactment of historical performance by a celebrated avant-garde artist Tadeusz Kantor (in which seven postmen carried an enormous letter throughout the streets of Warsaw), aimed to explore the theme of censorship.

I Speak Contemporary also features a bilingual e-book called Art at Times... made to introduce the key concepts of contemporary art (museum, artist, video, performance, installation, etc.).

The edX Courses on Art and Culture

The sixth set of online art courses on our top list is offered by the global nonprofit educational platform edX founded by Harvard and MIT. The same supports learners in different stages of their professional or private development by delivering an array of courses from data and computer science to leadership and communications. When it comes to visual arts there are several courses, so we chose two that seem to be the most interesting ones.

The first one titled European Paintings: From Leonardo to Rembrandt to Goya will lead you through the fruitful period of European art made between 1400 and 1800, with a special emphasis on the works of the leading masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Velázquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Goya.

On the other hand, the second one Art and Design in the Digital Age will present thoroughly the leading ideas and explorations of the artist in the digital age with a selection of lectures, interviews with theoreticians and artists, artwork analysis, case studies and stimulating discussions.

Art Courses by Kadenze

The last set of art courses that can be found online are offered by the platform Kadenze which generates the courses made possible by the world's leading colleges, universities, and industry partners from various social and natural sciences.

When it comes to visual arts Kadenze offers a total of thirty-two courses from Easy Watercolor Sweets & Treats! Step by Step Beginner Level, over Gender, Race and Technology, to Introduction to Graphic Design History and The Modern Genius: Art and Culture in the 19th Century.