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MoMA Is Now Offering Online Art Classes for Free

The classes cover contemporary to fashion to photography.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York Vanessa Carvalho/Shutterstock

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) isn’t going to let a global pandemic get in the way of it enriching the lives of art lovers. In addition to virtual tours of its vaunted collection, the New York museum is now offering free online courses as well.

Realizing that people may want to do more than just look at art, MoMA has launched a series of five free classes for those interested in better understanding the 91-year-old museum’s collection, according to i-D. Covering contemporary art, fashion and photography, the courses aren’t just glorified video clips, either. Instead, they’re comprehensive beginner courses with corresponding readings and exercises that will take anywhere from 12 to 38 hours to complete.

The batch of classes includes three specifically focused on the contemporary art world. “What is Contemporary Art?” will offer an overview of work created since 1980, with an emphasis on the last decade. “Modern Art and Ideas” is more concerned with theory and will feature interviews with contemporary artists about their work. Meanwhile, “In the Studio: Post-War Abstract Painting” will focus on the lives and work of seven New York School artists, Willem de Kooning, Yayoi Kusama, Agnes Martin, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, and Mark Rothko.

The other courses include “Fashion as Design,” in which designers, historians, manufacturers and other style experts discuss 70 different garments and accessories. Finally, “Seeing Through Photography” will use photos from the last 180 years to explore the difference between seeing and understanding an image.

MoMA says the courses will allow participants to “hear directly from artists and designers, look closely at works in our collection and exhibitions, and join a community of learners unlike any other.” As with other online courses offered by the museum in the past, they’ll be operated by online teaching platform Coursera. Even better, the only cost is your time.

MoMA is just one of many cultural institutions around the world that are trying to find out-of-the-box ways to keep visitors coming in amid the coronavirus crisis. The institution is also among a handful of world-class museums—from J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris—that will allow you to take a virtual tour of their collections from the comfort of your laptop.

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