The Institute for Fine Arts is the central place of art education, practice and research at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Its curriculum is aimed at a wide-range and yet precisely tailored artistic competence in terms of both skills and contents. Though maintaining its focus on the classical disciplines of painting and sculpture, the offer has been consistently extended to include new media, film, video, performance, and conceptual art in recent years; thus, the study course also provides an impetus for the constantly changing media parameters of contemporary art.

At the same time, a vast field of opportunities for artistic development was established by setting up open workshops, introducing a new curriculum with alternatives to choose from for the students, and reinforcing the non-professorial staff's independence of teaching. Close association with the Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies supports the direct connection between theoretical and practical subjects. Presently, the Institute for Fine Arts offers a combination of art education (individually and in groups), professionally run workshops, and a variety of (mostly interdisciplinary) practical and theoretical lectures and courses. Artists involved in the international discourse on art are in charge of the departments, hold lectures, and develop projects with the students that grant visibility beyond the Academy's immediate context. Parallel to teaching, art research (on the part of the teaching staff and guest lecturers) takes on increasing importance within the Academy - and is automatically back-coupled to the curriculum. Adequate rooms, special workplaces, up-to-date professional equipment, and guest lecturers support the students' individual development and prepare them for auto-nomous activities after graduation. Not only the composition of the teaching staff but also the large number of students from numerous countries and the constant presence of graduates within a wider artistic context evidence the international orientation of the Institute for Fine Arts.