Let’s make it official
Ready to become a Lynx? We are still accepting applications, but housing and class registration are first-come, first-served.
StoriesKristina McCue ’17

Art History in the Contemporary Art World

Kristina McCue studied Art History in the College of Art and Design. She had the chance to engage with the art world beyond the classroom throughout her time here.

She participated in an internship at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Kendall square during her junior year. Prior to her internship, Kristina had the chance to study abroad in Paris as part of the course Paris at the Crossroads. We caught up with Kristina to learn how Art History has provided experiences across industries and disciplines.

During the spring semester of her sophomore year Kristina traveled to Paris where she and fellow classmates experienced a complete immersion into French culture and identity. This first-hand account lets students discover the origins of this identity for themselves – an opportunity not always available from a traditional classroom course.


Student Kristina Mccue standing in front of mansion


“In the classes preceding our trip to Paris we studied the history of the city, particularly focusing on France’s influence on world art and culture, and its distinct architectural developments,” Kristina explains. “Experiencing Paris’s rich history and culture in person really helped me connect everything we’d learned in class with visual authentication, creating a more vivid and lasting impression.”

This experiential learning has led to further opportunities as Kristina demonstrates. “When I applied for the internship at the List Center having this earlier experience in Paris made me stand out among other applicants.” Showing that learning outside the classroom may provide benefits beyond academic experience.

This academic experience creates many avenues and opportunities that are available in a broad range of industries.

How has Art History influenced your course of study?  

I decided to study Art History because it encompasses other academic areas that I am interested in, specifically sociology and psychology. Art History allows me to pursue this interest in psychology with studies of individual artists, as well as the psychology behind art reception and how people connect to art. Sociology is also involved because of the art-world interrelating to contemporary events. Also, as an artist I am fascinated by the Visual Arts and keeping it a part of my academic life was important.

Tell us about your internship.

For my junior year internship, I worked at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Kendall square. I worked as an intern in digital marketing, development, and special events. I did a lot of work in marketing data organization and advertising for different events at MIT List, as well as preparation for gallery openings.

Why did you choose this location?

I chose the List because of its dynamism and involvement with contemporary and up-and-coming artists, both local and international. MIT List is also located relatively close to campus – which made it easier to pick up more hours and have a flexible schedule.

How has this internship related to Art History?

As an Art History and Fine Arts student, I have a particular interest in the commercial art world. MIT List is a great introduction to gallery and museum advertising. It gave me a behind-the-scenes perspective on the functioning of a dynamic contemporary art museum and gallery. In my short time working at MIT List I was exposed to many new artists and experienced some powerful exhibitions and installations.

Do you have an idea of what you’d like to do after graduation?

I have yet to form a concrete idea of what I want to do after graduation. This academic experience creates many avenues and opportunities that are available in a broad range of industries. I am interested in the commercial art world and the contemporary art market, specifically, art consultation and buying and commercial gallery involvement. Additionally, I have considered pursuing involvement with contemporary art museums and art conservation and restoration.

Any advice for newer students? 

My advice to newer art and design students, particularly those undecided in what course of study to pursue, would be to utilize services like the Career Resource Center to explore different possibilities. This resource and others on campus are available to help you figure out how your program of study can translate to a career path.