General Information


Spring, 2008, School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Catherine D'Ignazio, professor
AIM: kanarinkabot
Yahoo: kanarinkabot
GoogleChat: kanarinka

Richard Spartos, TA Archive:

username: therealworld
password: therealworld

Course Description

Like other careers, being a successful visual artist requires identifying goals, marketing skills, social navigation, political acumen, business savvy, and strategic approaches. This workshop-structured course will provide a practical overview of the working lives of exhibiting artists, exploring the visual art ecosystem that supports and platforms emerging artists. Students will be exposed to the landscape of the visual arts, navigating non-profit art centers and commercial galleries; examining the roles of curators, critics, and art dealers; accessing alternative venues and institutional frameworks; application to foundations and residencies; and the reiterating importance of the individual artist at the center of this ecosystem. The course will be oriented towards the practical, with the goal of developing presentation and communication skills. Guest speakers will include leading curators, critics, gallerists and exhibiting artists of international renown.



PARTICIPATION. Participation, peer feedback, discussions and attendance are extremely important.

MAPPING ASSIGNMENT Draft #1: Create a network diagram or psychogeographic map of your art world. Use this worksheet as a starting point for what should go on your map. Note: Please bring a large, PRINTED COPY of your map to class.

OPPORTUNITIES COLLECTION: 5-10 min. presentation on 5 - 10 opportunities that you will research, eventually deciding on one to use for your final project. Tell us about each opportunity, its history, what its requirements are, and what your strategy is for researching it further and for putting together your materials for the application/portfolio. IMPORTANT: Upload your opportunity links to (see above for account information).

PUBLIC SPEAKING PRESENTATION, Bad + Good: You will make one "bad" and one "good" public presentation of your work.

FINAL PROJECT: Your final project should be an opportunity that you apply to. It can be a grant, job, scholarship, academic program, materials to send to a gallery or another kind of professional opportunity. It should have both a WRITTEN and a VISUAL component. It should be turned in to me at the final class ON CD/DVD (not email).


Course Calendar

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 - Overview

  1. Overview & discuss syllabus.
  2. Circle time - Discuss class, time, money, work & life. Discuss Art Worlds.
  3. Poll for interest in NYC field trip.
  4. Catherine's art world map

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 - DIY Panel + Making Maps

2PM - 3:30PM: Guest speakers: Matthew Nash (Big, Red & Shiny), Susan Sakash (The Berwick Research Institute), Phaedra Shanbaum (Axiom Gallery), & Kathy Bitetti (Artists Foundation)

3:30 - 5PM: Present Mapping assignments & Opportunities Collections to the class (5-min presentations). Sign up for Indiv. studio visits & Artist talks. Discuss Readings.

Homework due today:

  1. Mapping assignment Draft # 1 - EMAIL digital copy to me + bring a large printed copy to class
  2. Opportunities Collection

Reading for today:

  1. Excerpts from Art Subjects (Singerman), "Towards a Theory of the MFA"
  2. Handouts from Kathy Bitetti

Monday, Feb 4, 2008 - Residencies

2 - 3:30PM: Guest speaker: Caitlin Strokosch from the Alliance of Artists Communities

3:30 - 5PM: Individual studio visits with Richard & Catherine.

  1. Wade Aaron
  2. Andrea Evans
  3. Yaron Dotan

Homework for today:

  1. Design Richard & I's studio visit with you. What will we talk about? Where will we sit? How can you be pro-active and set the terms of our conversation? What do you want feedback on? How can you use our presence to your benefit?

Reading for today:

  1. Alliance of Artists Communities website
  2. Dr. Art on Studio Visits
  3. Artist Story: Davis & Langlois

Monday, Feb 11, 2008 - Gallery

2PM - 3:15PM: Guest speaker: Camilo Alvarez, Director, Samson Projects

3:15PM - 5PM: Individual studio visits with Richard & Catherine

  1. Dan Angeli
  2. Elizabeth Amento
  3. Kelli Thompson
  4. Yin Chen Huang
  5. Chen Zhang
  6. Eugene Finney

Individual Studio visits with Camilo Alvarez:

  1. 3:30 - 3:50: Billy Whited
  2. 3:55 - 4:15: Yaron Dotan
  3. 4:20 - 4:40: Kelli Thompson
  4. 4:45 - 5:05: Daniel Angeli

Homework for today:

  1. Design Richard & I's studio visit with you. What will we talk about? Where will we sit? How can you be pro-active and set the terms of our conversation? What do you want feedback on? How can you use our presence to your benefit?

Reading for today:

  1. Network Art & the Complex Present (Alloway) - pp. 171 - 176
  2. Interview with Marc Glimcher, President of PaceWildenstein Gallery
  3. Talking Prices (Olav Velthius) - pp. 11-36
  4. Sample Artist resume from Jeff Talman

Thursday, Feb 21, 2008 - NO CLASS

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 - Alternative Art Spaces

2PM - 3:30PM: Guest speaker: Will Wilkins, Executive Director, Real Art Ways

3:30 - 5PM: Bad public speaking presentations. Discuss readings.

Individual Studio visits with Will Wilkins:

  1. 3:30 - 3:50: Billy Whited
  2. 3:55 - 4:15: Andrea Evans
  3. 4:20 - 4:40: Chen Zhang
  4. 4:45 - 5:05: Elizabeth Amento

Homework due today:

  1. Bad Public Speaking assignment

Reading for today:

  1. The Warhol Initiative pp. 14-20
  2. "On edge: alternative spaces today" by Robert Atkins, Art in America, 1998

Monday, Mar 3, 2008 - Art Collecting

2PM - 3:30PM: Guest speaker: Natasha Khandekar, Director & Curator of the William Koch Collection

3:30 - 5PM: Discuss readings + Video: On Biennials (Tate) + Session Discussion 13:22 - 18:30.

  1. Artist Talk: Wade Aaron
  2. Artist Talk:

Individual Studio visits with Natasha Khandekar:

  1. 3:30 - 3:50: Wade Aaron
  2. 3:55 - 4:15: Yaron Dotan
  3. 4:20 - 4:40: Eugene Finney

Reading for today:

  1. Miami Art Basel article (check out the slide show)
  2. Interview with Phillippe Segalot, Art Consultant
  3. Interview with Eli Broad, Art Collector

Monday, Mar 10, 2008 - Grants & Proposals, part I

2PM - 3:30PM: Guest speaker: George Fifield, Director & Curator, Boston Cyberarts Festival

3:30 - 5PM: Discuss readings.

  1. Artist Talk: Elizabeth Amento
  2. Artist Talk:

Individual Studio visits with George Fifield:

  1. 3:30 - 3:50: Wade Aaron
  2. 3:55 - 4:15: Chen Zhang
  3. 4:20 - 4:40: Elizabeth Amento
  4. 4:45 - 5:05: Eugene Finney

Reading for today:

  1. Interview with George Fifield
  2. Grants 101 article

Monday, Mar 17, 2008 - SPRING BREAK, No class

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 - Art & Community Development

2PM - 3:30PM: Guest speaker, Hiroko Kikuchi & Jeremy Liu

3:30 - 5PM: Discuss readings.

  1. Artist Talk: Dan Angeli
  2. Artist Talk: Eugene Finney

Individual Studio visits with Hiroko Kikuchi & Jeremy Liu:

  1. 3:30 - 3:50: Andrea Evans
  2. 3:55 - 4:15: Yin Chang
  3. 4:20 - 4:40: Chen Zhang
  4. 4:45 - 5:05: Daniel Angeli

Reading for today:

  1. Surpassing the Spectacle (Carol Becker) pp. 21-33
  2. A Broken City. A Tree. Evening. (Paul Chan article from the NYT)

Friday, Mar 28, 2008 - NYC Field Trip

You are responsible for your transportation, entrance fees and meals. Please bring a lunch and several snacks as we won't have time to stop as a group for food in the afternoon.

12 NOON: Group Meeting Point: The Armory Show entrance, Pier 94.
$10 entrance fee for the Armory Show
Pier 94 is located on Manhattan's far West side on the Hudson River (Twelfth Avenue) at 55th Street in the Passenger Ship Terminal complex. The pier is easily accessible by public transportation, taxi, and private vehicle. The nearest subway stop is four cross-town blocks east at 50th Street and Eighth Avenue.

2:30PM - 5:30PM: Visits to 1-2 Chelsea Galleries, TBA.

Reading for today:

  1. Review the Miami Art Basel article (check out the slide show)
  2. Armory Show website


Monday, Apr 7, 2008 - Museums & Curators

2PM - 3:15PM: Guest speaker: Bill Arning, Curator, List Visual Arts Center

3:30 - 5PM: Discuss readings.

  1. Artist Talk: Kelli Thompson
  2. Artist Talk: Yaron Dotan
  3. Website Workshop: basics of portfolio websites

Individual Studio visits with Bill Arning:

  1. 3:30 - 3:50: Wade Aaron
  2. 3:55 - 4:15: Andrea Evans
  3. 4:20 - 4:40: Yin Chang
  4. 4:45 - 5:05: Kelli Thompson

Reading for today:

  1. "A Museum is not a business, it is run in a business-like fashion" by Andrea Fraser

Monday, Apr 14, 2008 - Academic Art World

2PM - 3:30PM: Guest speaker: Rob Sabal

Individual Studio Visits with Rob:

  1. Billy Whited
  2. Yaron Dotan
  3. Eugene Finney
  4. Kelli Thompson
  5. Daniel Angeli
  6. Yin Chang
  7. Elizabeth Amento

3:30 - 5PM: Discuss readings.

  1. Artist Talk: Andrea Evans
  2. Artist Talk: Chen Zhang
  3. Artist Talk: Yin Chen Huang

Reading for today:

  1. Artists in Offices by Judith Adler, pp. 40 - 44
  2. College Art Association website
  3. Some examples of academic docs: Catherine's teaching philosophy | Academic CV from Robert Sabal
  4. (Optional) New Media Art Education & Its Discontents, by Trebor Scholz

Homework for today:

  1. Final Project due. You should submit to me ELECTRONICALLY on CD/DVD:
    1. The official description of what you are applying to (job, grant, etc)
    2. All written materials you are submitting (cv, artist statement, grant proposal, etc)
    3. Visual documentation as required
    4. Label your CD/DVD with your name




Links & Misc.

Guests (in order of appearance)

Matthew Nash

Matthew Nash is half of the art team Harvey Loves Harvey, and a professor at the Art Institute of Boston. Harvey Loves Harvey is represented by Judi Rotenberg Gallery. Matthew Nash is the co-founder and publisher of Big, Red & Shiny, an online magazine about the Boston arts scene & beyond.

Phaedra Shanbaum

Phaedra Shanbaum graduated from Michigan State University with a BFA in Photography and Design in 2002, and from Boston University with a MS in Arts Administration in 2005. She worked with Sister Films on Marketing, Distribution and Design on the film "Made-Up", from the moment of its Theatrical release at the Angelika Theater. She is also assistant to the director of The Boston Cyberarts Festival. She has done curation, exhibition coordination, and set design for shows and commercials both in Boston and New York City. In July 2006, Shanbaum joined Axiom founder Heidi Kayser to run Axiom Gallery at the Green St T stop.

Kathleen Bitetti

Executive director of the Boston-based Artists Foundation since 1992, Bitetti has been a curator as well as an HIV/AIDS activist and artist advocate for the past 13 years.

Kathleen Bitetti's undergraduate work is in economics and art history/art studio. She has been a curator/arts professional in alternative art spaces and an art activist in the Boston area for over 13 years. For the last ten years Kathy has created conceptually based sociopolitical objects and installations that deconstruct the American dream, fairy tales, gender roles/gender assignment, the fragility of family dynamics, and domestic violence. Hand stenciled text/language, mundane domestic objects, and the color white are very prominent features in Bitetti's work.

Susan Sakash

Susan Sakash is fascinated with the different ways in which humans create communities with fellow human beings as well as their animate and inanimate surroundings. After graduating with a BA in the College of Letters from Wesleyan University in 2000, she has been doing her part to facilitate these relationships as public art curator with the Berwick Research Institute, trombone player in the Stick and Rag Village Orchestra, and general creative self.

Caitlin Strokosch

Program & Communications Director (and in Feb, Executive Director) of the Alliance for Artists' Communities. Caitlin oversees all the Alliance’s programs, as well as its various communications tools, research projects, and publications, including the website and the Directory. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in music performance from Columbia College Chicago and a Master’s in musicology from Roosevelt University, where her research focused on women’s resistance music of the Holocaust. Prior to joining the Alliance, Caitlin managed several nonprofit professional music ensembles in Chicago, and worked for a PR firm specializing in nonprofit arts organizations. She has completed training programs in marketing/audience development and in nonprofit financial management; and has spoken at several professional development seminars on strategic planning, managing volunteers, and utilizing performance venues. Caitlin has lectured at Columbia College Chicago, Roosevelt University, Brown University, Roger Williams University, and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Camilo Alvarez

Owner/Director/Curator/Preparator at Samson Projects, a Boston-based gallery. Samson Projects, established in 2004, blends the best elements of a commercial gallery with the experimental attitude of an alternative exhibition space. We represent a group dedicated to furthering contemporary art. They are Nicole Cherubini, SunTek Chung, Taylor Davis, Craig Drennen, Jeffrey Gibson, Gabriel Martinez, Rune Olsen and Suzannah Sinclair.

Samson Projects creates and presents programs that explore the diversity of cultures and voices that continually shape contemporary art and ideas today, introducing emerging and under-recognized artists as well as established artists. It is our mission to act as an interdisciplinary laboratory for the convergence of film, video, performance, music, design and visual art. Our goal is to bring the broadest spectrum of contemporary art along with the most exciting new artists to Boston.

Will Wilkins

Will K. Wilkins is Executive Director of Real Art Ways, one of the United States’ leading contemporary multi-disciplinary organizations, in Hartford, Connecticut. Real Art Ways supports artistic innovation, and connects artists and community. Programs include visual arts, theater, music, spoken word, and film and video.

Mr. Wilkins has overseen the $1.8 million development of the Real Art Ways Arts Center, a place for art, ideas and social interaction, which includes a comfortable cinema (35mm, 16mm and video; also used for live arts), three beautifully renovated gallery spaces, a video room, the Loading Dock Lounge, and the Real Room.

Among the highlights of Mr. Wilkins’ tenure has been a series of commissioned artist’s projects, many in public settings and involving community participation, including projects by Mel Chin, Mark Dion, Lillian Hsu-Flanders, Ellen Driscoll, Pepón Osorio, Karin Giusti, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Carl Pope, Jr., Rachel Berwick, James Luna, Josely Carvalho, Liz Miller, Nikki S. Lee, Verandah Porche, and Group Material.

Mr. Wilkins is an innovator at linking contemporary art and ideas with community. In recent year Real Art Ways has sponsored a design competition, with neighborhood residents as jurors, for neighborhood gateways, has commissioned three major artist’s residencies with the neighborhood senior center, and has been a key participant in an inclusive neighborhood planning process, resulting in a redesign of the central commercial district. During Mr. Wilkins tenure, Real Art Ways has been a strong supporter of artists’ rights and freedom of expression, and has received support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Ford Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mr. Wilkins has served on grant review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts International, the Wallace Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Ct. Commission on the Arts, and the McKnight Foundation. Prior to joining Real Art Ways in 1990, Mr. Wilkins worked at Central Park Summerstage and WBAI in New York.

Natasha Khandekar

Director & Curator of the William Koch collection. Also a private collector and Director of local non-profit space Art Interactive (which is temporarily on hiatus).

George Fifield

George Fifield is a media arts curator, writer, teacher and artist. He is the director of Boston Cyberarts Inc., a nonprofit arts organization which produces the Boston Cyberarts Festival (, an international biennial festival of art and technology. Fifield is the former curator of media arts at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA. He now curates independently. He was executive co-producer for "The Electronic Canvas" a documentary on the history of the media arts, produced by the DeCordova Museum for WGBH-TV. It aired in April 2000 and has gone on to national PBS distribution. Fifield is the founding member of VideoSpace, a collective of media artists who have organized and presented exhibitions of video art since 1991.

Fifield has written and received over $1 million in grant monies for the Boston Cyberarts Festival and for other artists who have used Boston Cyberarts as a fiscal agent. He has also been on numerous grant panels, including Creative Capital and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Hiroko Kikuchi & Jeremy Liu

Hiroko Kikuchi - A performance and public artist and leader of the Teen Program at the Museum of Fine Arts. Originally from Tokyo, Japan. Her work explores the formative and communicative meaning of everyday activities as a mutual "language," influenced by the social environment, tradition, and aesthetics which all co-exist within confining behavioral structures. For the last 2 years, she has been working on creating a protocol to address social and cultural matters by re-structuring the concept and form of performance art.

Jeremy Liu - Director of Community Programs at the Asian Community Develpment Corporation, public artist, activist.

Hiroko and Jeremy are frequent collaborators on projects that bridge art and community development.

Rob Sabal

Associate Professor at Emerson College (since 1997). B.S., Northwestern University; M.F.A., Northwestern University. Professor Sabal is a film and video producer whose works include narrative drama, documentary, abstract experimental, instructional, and commercials. His films and videos have won awards at numerous festivals and have been funded through regional, state, and local grants. He previously taught at the University of Arizona and the University of Texas.

Bill Arning

Bill Arning has been curator since 2000 at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, where he has organized Cerith Wyn Evans--Thoughts Unsaid, Now Forgotten . . . (2004), AA Bronson's Mirror Mirror (2002), Son et Lumière (2004), and, with co-curator Ian Berry, America Starts Here: Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler (2006). As director and chief curator of the alternative space White Columns from 1985 to 1996, Arning organized the first New York exhibitions for many significant artists of the period and was a frequent writer on art for Time Out New York, The Village Voice, Parkett, and Art in America.

Lize Mogel

Artist and independent Development Consultant. Lize Mogel is an artist who makes maps, distributing and inserting her projects into urban public space. She has produced site-specific cartographic projects for transit shelters in Los Angeles and for former World’s Fair sites in North America. Lize has also worked with the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest and the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Los Angeles.

As a fundraiser, she was Grants Officer at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles from 2002-2004, where she was responsible for foundation and government giving. She works as a grants consultant for the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT and Good Old Lower East Side, among others.

Some Suggestions for Public Speaking

  1. Public speaking is a performance - don't confuse it with your personality
  2. Make eye contact
  3. SPEAK LOUDLY - take up space in the room and command attention
  4. Make it hard for people NOT to listen to you
  5. Use your body; move it around the room
  6. Speak clearly and slowly
  7. If using notes, don't read them
  8. Use lots of visuals
  9. Get excited, communicate passion about your subject matter
  10. Use humor
  11. Feign absolute confidence (but not arrogance or defensiveness)
  12. Don't use jargon
  13. Use lots of examples, especially for complex ideas
  14. Stories make good, memorable examples
  15. Dress the part (or dress the anti-part to make a point)
  16. Smile a lot as if you really love being present here
  17. Don't say "Um..." or "Uh..."
  18. Don't go over or under the time you have to speak
  19. SPEAK LOUDLY (worth saying again because it's so important)


Readings for the next week will be distributed at each class. Online readings & resources are linked from the syllabus.

Collaborative Archive

username: therealworld
password: therealworld


Books that were excerpted for class readings.

Art Subjects (Howard Singerman)

Talking Prices (Olav Velthius)

Surpassing the Spectacle (Carol Becker)

Network: Art and the Complex Present (Lawrence Alloway)

Critical Condition: American Culture at the Crossroads (Eleanor Heartney)

Why Art Can't be Taught: A Handbook for Art Students (James Elkins)

Artists in Offices: An Ethnography of the Academic Art Scene (Judith Adler)

Warhol Initiative (Warhol Foundation)

Art & Its Institutions: Current Conflicts, Critique and Collaborations (Nina Montmann)