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On-Site: Past Programs: 2017: The Grand Tour

SUNY New Paltz Summer On-Site Studies in Art & Art History

composite images of students attending the international art exhibition, Documenta14 in Athens, Greece, June 23, 2017
group of students pose before the Athenian Acropolis--in the distance

After a ten-hour direct flight from JFK to Athens, the first stop on The Grand Tour 2017, SUNY New Paltz's On-Site students pose before the stunning Athenian Acropolis (photo, Prof. Beth Wilson, Art History). In the photo below everyone is enjoying the bounty of the Grand Tour Welcome Dinner (photo, Prof. Emily Puthoff, Art, Sculpture Head). Please check out the Art History Department's Facebook Page for as many updates as we can post!

Art and Art History study abroad program information for Summer 2017

The Grand Tour 2017: Athens-Venice-Kassel-Münster

Course Description

Once every ten years, three major European exhibitions of contemporary art—Documenta 14, the Venice Biennale, the Münster Sculpture Project—coincide.  The Class will be visiting each exhibition and studying the exhibitions and work in person, as it is installed at each site in Athens, Greece; Venice, Italy; Kassel and Münster, Germany.

Class sessions will alternate between small groups and plenary meetings of the entire group, led by the two instructors, Emily Puthoff (Art) and Beth E. Wilson (Art History). Visits will include guided tours of the exhibitions, and class meetings with members of the curatorial staff in order to learn more about the numerous logistical and curatorial decisions ‘behind the scenes’ of the three shows.

Course Objectives

Students will enhance their understanding of the major ideas and themes in contemporary art through direct observation and encounters with the work in these three exhibitions, and through guided group discussions throughout the trip. Emphasis will be placed on the curatorial ideas expressed through the organization of the exhibitions, which is intended to inform the practice of studio artists, as well as offer art history students an opportunity to understand the critical issues addressed in curatorial practice.

Course Requirements

All students will be required to keep a journal of their experiences and to submit comment cards of their observations and reflections throughout the trip, which will be collected periodically for review by the instructors. In addition, students will be responsible for completing a series of readings connected with the exhibitions, and with broader issues in contemporary art, and coming to class prepared to discuss both the assigned readings and the work at hand. Near the conclusion of the trip, students will write a short essay summarizing aspects of the trip, as assigned by the instructors. At the conclusion of the trip, students will be required to complete a final project, based on the knowledge and experience gained on the trip. Students seeking studio art credit for the course will execute a substantial artwork (in any medium); art history students will create a detailed curatorial proposal (in PowerPoint or other format) for a significant exhibition of contemporary art, including specific art and/or artists, accompanied by a thoughtful curatorial rationale. These final projects will be presented to the group at two sessions conducted on Friday afternoons (dates tba) at the beginning of the Fall semester on campus at SUNY New Paltz. (We will find means to accommodate students from other campuses for these sessions via electronic or videoconferencing arrangements.)

Tentative Schedule

June 13-14 Travel to Athens
June 14-19 Documenta 14 in Athens
June 19  Flight to Venice
June 19-25  Venice Biennale
June 25-26  Overnight train Venice to Kassel
June 26-July 1   Documenta 14 in Kassel
July 1  Train to Münster
July 1-6   Münster Sculpture Project

Early in the Fall 2017 semester:  Two class meetings for presentations and discussion of artwork/curatorial projects created in response to the trip.

Credits Available

Three (3) to six (6) undergraduate or graduate level credits may be earned in this program. Graduate students are expected to work at an advanced level.  Students may take the course for three credits of art studio and three credits of art history, or six credits of either, with permission of the instructors.


Students will be responsible for their own airfare to and from Europe, and their own food. The program fee (not yet finalized, but approximately $3,000) covers in-country transportation, lodging, and museum admissions throughout the trip. In addition to the applicable tuition, there is a $300 administrative fee charged by International Programs.

The Instructors

Beth E. Wilson (Lecturer, Art History) is the Faculty Director of the program. Interested students may contact Professor Wilson via e-mail: wilsonb@newpaltz.edu

Emily Puthoff, (Associate Professor, Sculpture Program Head), will be teaching the Art studio portion of the program. She may be contacted at puthofe@newpaltz.edu 

Apply Today!

Application deadline is March 1, 2017. Space is limited to the first 20 qualified students, who will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The application process is initiated on-line through:

SUNY College at New Paltz
Center for International Programs


Trisha Brown, Floor of the Forest, 1970/2007, photographed by Beth Wilson at Documenta 12

Trisha Brown, Floor of the Forest, 1970/2007, Documenta 12, Museum Fridericianum

Information Session: November 16, at 6:30 PM in SAB 118A

Go On-Site next summer on a Grand Tour to three major European art exhibitions in four cities! Interested students will meet with Professors Beth Wilson (Lecturer, Art History) and Emily Puthoff (Sculpture Program Head, Art), who will present detailed information on this exciting program.

Summer 2017 will be the second time Professors Wilson and Puthoff will bring students to these events in Europe; once every ten years, Documenta 14, the Venice Biennale, and the Münster Sculpture Project coincide.  The Class will be visiting each exhibition and studying the exhibitions and work in person, as it is installed at each site in Athens, Greece; Venice, Italy; Kassel and Münster, Germany.


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