Collecting Contemporary Art continuing studies course at OCAD U

by | May 5, 2015 | Teaching | 0 comments

I’m very pleased to once again be teaching the Collecting Contemporary Art course in OCAD U’s continuing studies program this spring, a class that explores the themes, questions and concerns that private, corporate and institutional collectors all face when building and maintaining a collection of contemporary art. I feel extraordinarily lucky to also be able to call on the expertise and wisdom of some fantastic colleagues as guest speakers in the course, including collectors and curators Jennifer Simaitis and Stefan Hancherow, Oakville Galleries director Matthew Hyland, art consultant Megan Kalaman, and visits to local galleries and artists’ studios.

This course always feels like a lot of fun, where I get to draw on contemporary fiction and popular nonfiction alongside recent issues in exhibiting and acquiring art to activate the themes each week:

By reading popular and fictional accounts of contemporary art in dialogue with recent non-fiction and journalism, students will be able to link developments in the local art scene to broader national and international trends in the art world. Each week will be themed around a different space in which contemporary art is produced, exhibited and collected, from the artist’s studio and private home, to the art fair, the artist-run centre and the public museum.


Upon the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the key sites in which contemporary art is produced, exhibited and collected;
  • Identify major themes in collecting practices, across institutional, private and public collections;
  • Develop their ability to describe and analyze works of contemporary art;
  • Analyze the questions and themes that drive their own interest in contemporary art.

This is the second time I’ve taught this course at OCAD, and, as with all good teaching, I always learn more from my students and guest than I could possibly teach them. Usually, that learning comes in the form of thinking and re-thinking what it means to be contemporary. I’ve found Richard Meyer’s 2013 book, What was contemporary art?, pretty useful in considering what it is we mean, exactly, when we call art “contemporary.”


For more information about the course, or to register, visit OCAD U’s continuing studies.