The Cooper Union is a landmark institution in New York City, notable for its unique role in hosting major political speeches and its foundational educational model of offering free tuition to students who are accepted through the selective application process (though the model has since changed). The school also maintains several gallery and event spaces, welcoming the public to enjoy a variety of exhibitions featuring contemporary art and exploring modern social issues.

Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.
- Abraham Lincoln, Cooper Union Speech

What You Will See

Major exhibitions can span multiple gallery spaces, while smaller shows may run concurrently. Priority is given to annual student and faculty acheivement shows, but exhibits often run only a few weeks and space is given to notable faculty, alumni, and other artists connected to the school. Particular focus is given to architectural exploration. Do not be deterred if the current exhibition is a student show. Some of New York's greatest contemporary artists got their start at the Cooper Union, and you can discover them before the rest of the city in these galleries.

Why You Should Go

The Cooper Union's central location and free access make this one of the easiest galleries to casually visit. You will know quickly if the current show is to your tastes or not, and with as often as exhibitions rotate, just come back in a few weeks to see something new. And this is the easiest way to justify a visit to the core buildings of the school, both the iconic foundational building and the strikingly modern 41 Cooper.