Art History and Visual Culture

The Major

The Art History and Visual Culture Program at Bard offers the opportunity to explore visual art and culture through courses across a broad range of periods and societies and close student-teacher contact. Learning how to look and write about works of art is stressed, particularly in introductory courses, and Bard’s proximity to New York City enables frequent visits to museums and galleries.


Bus trips are arranged each semester by the program and open to all majors and non-majors, if space permits. Courses are frequently designed in conjunction with museum exhibitions, and class visits to current shows in New York galleries are an important aspect of seminars in contemporary art. In addition, the art and architecture of the Hudson Valley provide a fruitful resource for original research. The program maintains close contact with local institutions so that students may study original documents and work as volunteer interns during the summer or the January intersession. It also enables advanced students to work with faculty in the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies in Annandale-on-Hudson and with the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture in New York City.

The Art History and Visual Culture Major

Students work closely with their advisers to develop individual study plans that include a wide range of Lower College courses and a minimum of two Upper College seminars. Standard divisional procedures are followed for Moderation. Moderation boards consist of three Bard faculty members, including the student’s adviser and at least one other art historian. The choice of board members and the scheduling of boards are the responsibility of each student in conformance with the college calendar. Prospective majors need to have four art history courses before moderating, among them at least one 100-level course. Guidelines for moderation are available from the secretary and faculty of Art History.