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Art History & Criticism

Art History and Criticism is an integral part of SVMA. Our program explores the complex relationship between art and society: artworks are shaped by our values; and art in turn challenges and expands cultural perspective. You will examine a wide range of expressive forms while better understanding underlying theoretical, philosophical and historical forces. Our program offers introductory overviews as well as more in-depth examinations of specific periods and cultures.

Our courses are dynamic with field trips to museums and galleries, art projects, visiting lecturers, and group projects.

Closely aligned to Art History & Culture is the Montana Museum of Art, where students can have the opportunity to gain hands-on museum experience and complete internship projects.


  • Museum curator
  • Museum Administration
  • Gallery Director
  • Conservator/archivist


Art History and Criticism classes are taught in the historic Fine Arts building, a landmark structure built in 1935 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lecture classrooms are state-of-the-art multimedia lecture spaces. At the heart of Art History/Criticism is the Millikan Center, which includes an elegant, wood-paneled public reading room, a staff work room, seminar space, and faculty offices. The center’s holdings include: subscriptions to current studio art, art history, and art criticism journals, over 1,500 books, DVD’s and other electronic resources. It also houses some 800 archival photographs and glass plates, a comprehensive collection of over 50,000 art history slides, and the School of Art archives.

All undergraduate SVMA students take Art History/Criticism classes as part of their major requirements, and students from across campus are welcome in our classes. We offer a Minor in Art History.

Rotating courses offered in Art History and Art Criticism:

  • ARTH 150HX Introduction to Art History: Themes of Art History through Controversy
  • ARTH 201H Art of World Civilization: Early Modern to Contemporary Art
  • ARTH 250L Into to Art Criticism
  • ARTH 333/334H Architectural History
  • ARTH 391 Contemporary American Indian Art History
  • ARTH 350 Contemporary Art and Art Criticism
  • ARTH 494 Seminar in Art History and Criticism
  • ARTH 445 The History of Photography
  • ARTH 440 20th Century Art
  • ARTH 503/504 -Critical Theories in the Visual Arts

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