The Visual Studies concentration at Eugene Lang College offers a distinctive approach to the study of the history and theory of art as well as the broader field of visual culture. The analysis of artworks and cultural objects can reveal how a form reflects its historical and sociopolitical context and how an image is materialized. The study of images and their effects raises issues around labor and class, gender and sexuality, race, nationality and citizenship, science and technology, the global political economy, and the environment.
Literacy in the visual field and the ability to analyze and interpret images are skills that are increasingly important for negotiating our complex visual world today.
Applying a broad range of theories and methodologies, students in this concentration address diverse areas of art history and visual studies, including painting, photography, moving image arts, sculpture, performance art, conceptual art, installation, curatorial and museum studies, and public art. The curriculum reflects the dominant role of images in contemporary society and culture.
The Visual Studies concentration supplements seminars in art history and visual studies with select classes from other areas of study at Lang College, such as Culture and Media, and courses at The New School for Public Engagement and Parsons The New School for Design, including studio and practice-based visual arts courses. Students can also apply through the dual-degree BA/BFA program in partnership with Parsons.
Eugene Lang College’s location in New York City also offers students access to major museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions. Through institutional partnerships and courses developed around specific collections or exhibitions, students have unique access to the inner workings of these institutions. Lang Arts majors have held internships with major museums (including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the New Museum), art galleries, art studios, photography studios, film companies, and art auction houses.
Students can study Visual Studies as a concentration (Arts majors), a minor (non-Liberal Arts majors), or a self-designed major in Liberal Arts (guided area of study). Arts majors can also choose the Arts in Context concentration in which they combine study of the visual arts with a study of a liberal arts discipline. Students majoring in The Arts cannot both concentrate and minor in the same discipline.