Art/Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere


Pawel Althamer, Path, Sculpture Projects Munster, 2007.

About the MPAS Program

The Master of Public Art Studies Program: Art/Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere at USC's Roski School of Art and Design is a unique platform to research art, architecture and other modes of cultural production, as well as models of curatorial practice/exhibition making, in relation to the material/social conditions of public space. The graduate program's 2-year interdisciplinary course of study encompasses seminars on curatorial practice/organizational methods; social, urban and media theory; critical writing; exhibition histories; and selected topics in art and architectural history. A curatorial practicum functions as a laboratory for students to collaborate on the organization of an exhibition project. Students are also responsible for a thesis that develops innovative concepts and new scholarship on art, public space, and the public sphere.

The program's graduate faculty includes Rhea Anastas, Lauri Firstenberg, Karen Moss, Bennett Simpson, Carol Stakenas, Gloria Sutton and Henry Urbach. Recent guest speakers and seminar leaders have included Vito Acconci, Ute Meta Bauer, Mark Bradford, Gregg Bordowitz, Julia Bryan-Wilson, Dan Cameron, Teddy Cruz, Mark Dion, Sam Durant, Harrell Fletcher, Andrea Fraser, Rudolf Frieling, Boris Groys, Renée Green, Hou Hanru, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Grant Kester, Rick Lowe, Allan McCollum, Antonio Muntadas, Anne Pasternak, Marjetica Potrc, Felicity Scott, Gregory Sholette, Nato Thompson, John Welchman, and Krzysztof Wodiczko.


The MPAS program is not accepting applications for new students; the final class of students was admitted in the fall of 2010.

Those interested in the MPAS program are highly encouraged to apply to the newly launched M.A. Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere program.

Critical Conversations—the MPAS Lecture Series

Critical Conversations features talks by visiting artists, curators, theorists, art historians, writers, organizers, activists, architects and other types of cultural producers, who engage in critical, open, rigorous conversations with the graduate students, and other attending members of the public. Notions/realities of public space, and the cultural politics of the public sphere, are explored from various disciplinary and ideological perspectives, so that the classroom becomes a potential locus of authentic public domain experience: a place wherein multiple discursive positions are brought into contact, even into moments of productive friction, and new knowledge is generated.

Upcoming Lecture