New York’s MoMA Launches Free Online Courses on Modern Art and Design

The premier modern art museum is partnering with Coursera to offer online courses covering everything from fashion design to photography and contemporary art


With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic causing populations the world over to stay home, institutions, universities, and businesses have all gone digital in an effort to stay connected. The art world proves no exception, as a number of major institutions and museums created online interactive galleries for those confined to their laptops. Taking the digital movement even further, New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has partnered up with leading online learning platform Coursera to provide an unprecedented resource for the arts.

            Founded by Stanford professors in 2012, Coursera offers university-level courses in the comfort of your own home. Online pupils can study everything from Data Science and Biology to History and Philosophy, with different levels of difficulty and time commitment. MoMA’s newly curated programme of art and design classes includes topics ranging from beginner to intermediate and even pedagogical, to be taken at your own pace. Courses are taught by MoMA curators, like Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design, and Sarah Meister, Curator of the Department of Photography.

For the novice art aficionado, learn the basics with the What is Contemporary Art? course, a comprehensive introduction to the modern art world that aims to give students the “confidence to look at contemporary art wherever you encounter it and make connections to your own life or creative practice.” Similarly, curious learners can delve into the fundamentals of Modern Art in the Modern Art & Ideas course, designed for those looking to understand the founding principles behind modern and contemporary art.


Budding photographers can learn to perfect their eye with the Seeing Through Photographs course, a class that aims to “address the gap between seeing and truly understanding photographs by introducing a diversity of ideas, approaches, and technologies that inform their making.” Fashion lovers should opt for the Fashion as Design course, giving students the tools to “develop critical tools to appreciate and contextualize fashion design through different perspectives.”

            To sign up, create a free Coursera account and enroll in your class of choice. Once enrolled, consult your dashboard for course details, timings, and assignment deadlines. While the course itself is free, you can choose to receive a certificate of completion for a fee of 180AED ($49 USD).

To see the full list of MoMA’s Coursera online programme, click here.