Kumu offers courses: Estonian Contemporary Art Scene


This course is an introduction to the workings of the Estonian contemporary art scene: the most significant institutions that influence art, the currently active major artists in different fields, and the kinds of events that take place. Among other things, we look at the reasons for various developments in the art scene in the Estonian, regional and wider international contexts of art, starting with the regaining of independence.

The course is intended for co-workers or friends who are interested in a well-organised overview of one area of Estonian culture and would like to know what is happening there at the moment. We will give suggestions as to how to find information and keep up with current events in the art scene, how to ask questions about art, and where to discuss personal experiences with art. The extent of previous contacts with contemporary art is not important: the discussion will be in a simple and clear form to encourage further enquiries.

The lectures are given by employees of the Kumu Education Centre, who have degrees in the history of art and teaching experience in both Kumu programmes and at the Estonian Academy of Arts.

Duration of the course 1.5 + 1.5 hours.
Price 150 €

We can also bring the course to you (a projector and computer are needed), even outside of Tallinn, but in that case travel expenses (25 €) are added to the price.
The course is also offered in English.

Topics to be covered:

  • What exactly can we call contemporary art? A short introduction to the history of 20th-century Western art: which artists/works of art have contributed to what is considered contemporary art?
  • Trends in contemporary art (sociocritical art, New European painting, installation – the architectural approach – public space, photography, graphic design, applied art etc.). Example artists and their works.
  • Workings of the art scene: who the players are (which professions are related to art), how financing works (Ministry of Culture, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the creative economy, the “percentage act”, or the Commissioning of Artworks Act, private funding, the art market, artists and employment), and general assessment: shortcomings and successes. The formation of the art scene since the 1990s in keywords.
  • Central institutions and platforms (publicly and privately funded). What are the characteristics of the galleries, city galleries in county centres, centres of creative industries and other establishments? Examples of artists-in-residence, culture factories, the Tallinn Art Hall, Tartu Art Museum, Temnikova & Kasela Gallery, Centre for Contemporary Art and Artists’ Association.
  • Various formats and locations for events. Tallinn and Tartu as the major Estonian art centres, and what is happening elsewhere.
  • How to find current information on the art scene. Mailing lists, databases, printed materials and publications (including private-initiative culture media).

The selection of the topics can be discussed in advance if the client has a specific request or interest in covering something more thoroughly!

Sandra Lääne
Head of the Education Centre