September 23, 2010  |  Collection & Exhibitions, Events & Programs, Tech
Learning Online: MoMA’s Courses Go Digital

Independent Conservator and Instructor Corey D’Augustine demonstrates Jackson Pollock’s painting techniques in the online course Materials and Techniques of Postwar Abstract Painting.

MoMA’s Education Department prides itself on crafting personal experiences with works of art for our visitors. In exploring new ways to enhance these experiences, we were surprised to find that video has a remarkable ability to help us focus our gaze in a way that is often very difficult to do in the galleries. It might seem like a strange concept—that looking at a work of art on your computer screen would help you to look and think about art more deeply—but this is precisely what we discovered as we developed two online courses over the last year. Both courses (a survey course titled Modern Art, 1880–1945, and a studio course called Materials and Techniques of Postwar Abstract Painting) contain the usual short written lectures, readings, and discussion forums, but both rely heavily on video of the teachers shot on location in MoMA galleries, with plenty of close details of the works of art.

Independent Conservator and Instructor Corey D’Augustine talks about Mark Rothko’s painting techniques in the online course Materials and Techniques of Postwar Abstract Painting.

When we screened the footage, we were amazed to find ourselves seeing things in these familiar paintings and sculptures that we had never noticed before. The studio course introduces students to the techniques of some of the great artists of the twentieth century in two ways: by visually unwinding how some of the masterpieces in MoMA’s collection were created, and by actually demonstrating these studio techniques. Once you see the complexities of how some of these artists prepared their paints and the execution of their work, you gain a much fuller understanding and appreciation of these paintings. The survey course is like having your own private tour, up close and personal, of MoMA’s galleries, with each week focusing on a different style in art history: Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Surrealism, and more.

We’re excited about these new educational opportunities, and we hope you are too! If you’d like more information about the courses, visit


I am interested in taking one of the on-line courses, Modern Art. I see the course begins 10/14. Is there a time I must sign on to the course, or is it at my discretion when I sign in for the class? Thank you, Nancy

Hi Nancy – thanks for your interest! We’ve made the courses so no one has to be online at the same time – since one of the big appeals of online learning is the convenience. Each week, the instructors move through the course material with the students – but you can read, watch videos and participate in that week’s discussions at times that are convenient for you. Let us know if you have any additional questions~

I’m interested in taking the Modern Art, 1880-1945 online course, however, I’m currently attending a community college and am not sure if I will have time. Is this class going to be offered again in the future? Is there somewhere to find out what other online classes will be offered in the future?

Thank you,

Hi Kristin! We will definitely be offering the class again – in the spring, and likely also in the summer, if that’s more convenient. And we are developing additional courses – on contemporary art and other topics. So stay tuned!

I have signed up for the studio course this fall in abstraction. I have been a realist painter in the past, and want to explore other styles of expressing my thoughts. Have read much but true understanding is thru action and doing. So am most excited to start this venture. Doing so with a collegial group online I think is a most exciting opportunity. (ps especially if those of other cultures join in)

Hi, I have signed for both courses Abstract Painting, and Modern Art. I live in Venezuela, born here and now taking lessons for oil on canvas painting. It will be great to share feed back, techniques and knowledge. Thanks MoMA!

For Amy or Corey from Vicky Mannis
Help!, I am back in Israel with photos of my summer paintings.However I forgot to bring my notes regarding the artists we studied and am having difficulty identifying a few of the artists whose work my paintings are based on.
If it is not too much trouble could you send me a list of those artists whose styles we studied in our paintings.
I am trying to decide whether to enroll in your online course or wait once more for next summer.
Thanks so much, if you are able to help me out.
Regards, Vicky Mannis

I would like to sign up for a self-guided on-line course. My problem is that I will be away for a few weeks soon so that may disrupt my studies. On the other hand, I hope to visit MOMA during my time away so I thought it might be good to have read some of the material first to get the most benefit from it. Therefore I would like to know how long I would have access to the course materials once I have registered for the course?

I would like to know about your painting techniques….coloures..and style..
I am painting with acrylique .modern but i like to familiar with new style and techniques..
Thanks so much.

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