Öykü Kolat

Art and Art History (BA) '21, Minor in Visual Arts Management

What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia? 

The Art History curriculum has been a surprising benefit for my degree. The way Columbia structures the classes in the Art History department lets the students explore outside the traditional canon of Western art history and lets them specialize in different areas. Through this opportunity, I realized that I want to focus my future studies on history, theory, and criticism of photography. 

What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial? 

The Dada, Surrealism, Futurism, Modern and Contemporary Art History & Theory, and History of Photography II classes were the most beneficial. I got to explore significant artists, movements, and theories of modern art and their post-modern transformations. This background will help me in my future studies on analyzing the forms and concepts of contemporary art practice. My experience working at the Museum of Contemporary Photography has been an incredible opportunity during my years at Columbia. Working there for over two years, I had the chance to be a part of managing the long-term preservation—both physical and intellectual aspects—of an art collection. The museum has given me many valuable insights and skills on how to navigate the art world after graduation. 

What are your plans for after graduation? 

I plan on working in a museum or gallery setting and pursuing a graduate degree in photography and its history, theory, and criticism. 

Do you have any advice for current students? 

See your professors as your advocates. They are there to help you, and their background knowledge and research experience will benefit you immensely if you show genuine interest in what you do. 

If you were going to sum up your experience at Columbia in one sentence, what would you say? 

Opportunities lie in the place of conversation. 

Website: www.oykukolat.com