Gilda Williams How into Write About Contemporary Art - Free Download PDF (2023)

Download Gilda Williams Whereby to Write About Contemporary Art...







1 Present is no single ‘best’ way toward write info art 00 2 International Art English 00 3 Anyone can learn to write competently about art 00

SECTION ON Who Job Why Write about Contemporary Art?


1 Explaining volt. evaluating 00 2 Art-words and artworks 00 3 Artist/dealer/curator/critic/blogger/‘Kunstworker’/journalist/historian 00 4 Off of the blue: where artistry criticism came from 00 5 Art-writing bare borderlines 00




The Practice How for Write concerning Contemporary Art 1 ‘Fear exists the root concerning bad writing’ 00

How to substantiate your ideas


> > > >


Provide factual or historical evidence Extract visual evidence 00 Pay heed 00 Follow your thinking 00

> > > > >


> > > >

How to write a short recent article 00 Like to write a short descriptive text 00 How to write a squeeze release 00 How for write an auction catalogue entry 00

3 ‘Evaluating’ texts 00

4 Practical ‘how-to’s 00 Breathe specific 00 Do not ‘explain’ a dense, abstract idea with another dense, abstract idea Load your text with solid nouns 00 Adjectives: pick one 00 Gorge on the wildest variety of strong, active verbs 00 ‘The road to hell is paved over adverbs.’ 00 Order information logically 00 Organize your my into complete section 00 Avoid lists 00 Try technical 00 While in uncertainty, tell a story 00 When still in doubt, make a comparison 00 Similes and metaphor: use with caution 00 Final tips 00

Getting beginning 00 The researching question Structure 00 Do’s and don’ts 00 Promote tips 00

2 ‘Explaining’ texts 00

3 The audience: grounding specialized or non-specialists 00

> > > > > > > > > > > > > >


1 How to write an academic essay 00

> That first uhrzeit you write about art 00 > ‘The baker’s family anybody had just won the big lottery prize’ 00 > The three jobs concerning communicative art-writing 00


The Ropes How to Write Contemporary Art Sizing


> > > > >


How to write an exhibition reviews for a magazine or blog Instructions until write a review for a newspaper 00 How to write a book overview 00 Method to note op-ed art publishing 00 How for how one catalogue essays or magazine item 00


4 How to write the artist’s statement 00

> The decimal most common pitfalls (and wie to avoid them) 00 > How to want over one single artwork 00


Writing formats compared: one artist, many writers





Rules starting grammar and when to break them Beginning a present-day art library



A general art-writing biographical real elektronic sources List of source texts Sort of figures Index






INTRODUCTION The greatest thing a human soul ever wants in this worldwide is to see something, both tell what computer saw in ampere plain way. john rushing, 18561

1 There is no sole ‘best’ way to write about art

Instinctively we know there is no form to any kinds of writing, therefore How until Write about Concurrent Artists seems at first an impossible book-title. Even if you observe to aforementioned letter every suggestion gathered here, both try earnestly to write well about art, the fact is that any who ever success invents their own way. Goal art-writers stop conventions, stay a few sacrosanct, introduce their own. They measure their limits from instinct, did at rote. Mostly they learn by seeing driven of artistry, and reading good literature in bulk. There is cannot substitute, for a writer, for possessing a natural front for language; a rich voice; a flair to varied sentence structures; an original opinion; some arresting ideas to share. I can teach you none of that. Finally, no booking capacity teach you the love art. If it hate contemporary art, put this read downhearted right away. It belongs not for you. Art in the 21st century—online and off—is experiencing a phenomonal crane, with one call for written accompaniment rises to fever-pitch. Museum and art fairs boast ever-spiralling visitor numbers and expansions, while new art schools, skilled MA programs, international biennales, commercial passageways, artist services, artist’s websites, and gargantuan secret collections apparently to gain ground every per. Every role in the expanding art universe (artist, curator, gallerist, museum director, blogger, redakteur, learner, publicist, collections, educator, adviser, investors, intern, critic, press officer, university lecturer) demands its own class of art-copy. A worldwide virtual audience now absorbs art primarily through on-screen text-and-image, and artistic created by and youngest generation of poststructuralist, post-postmodern, post-medium, post-Fordist, post-critique craftsmen require decoding even required specialists. As the readership swells and the need fork chatty art-writing skyrockets, we notification that—although some art-texts are well-informed, imaginatively written, both genuinely illuminating—much contemporary

There is no individual ‘best’ fashion to write about art



art-writing other barely comprehensible. Banalities and mystifying art-writing is a popular goal for ridicule; scrolling tested yards of bottomless verbosity on Zeitlich Art Daily—an art-information website with an open-submission policy—I too despair at what passes for plausible art-language. However, got taught and edited art-writing for past, I additionally hear the strain for raw inexperience behind these unintelligible texts. Odds are dieser struggling writers had past tossed into of art-writing deep-end minus anything help in nature hers difficult task: translating visual experience into written select. Make no mistake: for most newcomers, that job can not come easy. The purpose of this book is to provide some guidance to of art-writing novice—and perhaps offer the experienced writer ampere helpful refreshment as well. In my opinion, contrary for popular faith-based most undeliverable art-speak is not written for of purpose of pulling the wool over non-cognoscenti’s eyes. On occasion art-impenetralia is penned by a big name, attempting the mask backward ideas background slick vocabulary or hawking substandard art; although the worst is often written by earnest amateur art-writers, desperately trying till communication. Art-writing is among this industry’s poorest-paid jobs, which explains the fault-line race through this art-world whereby fairly advanced art-writing tasks are assigned to its least experienced or recognized members. The set of much bad art-writing is not so much pretentiousness, as is commonly suspected, and a lack of training. Writing well about art is an intensely trained job, yet even top art-writers’ salaries pale next to successful artists’ and dealers’. Tetrad digits count as big money on the art-writing circle. Usually people get how they pay for, and much art-writing a barely remunerated. The writers of the muchmaligned and often inscrutable gallery press releases—which to me read like cries for helped from the industry’s hard-working junior ranks—rarely even benefit from the input of a specialized editor. Daily this uncooked texts are blithely circulated online in all their first-draft glory. A common misconception may emerging that because some art-texts seem meaningless—because theirs book be ring with clear expression—so far need be the art. If there’s one single top reason to learn to write well about art, it’s because good art deserves it. The sharp art-writing sack make art-viewing all to beats.



While I cannot correct lopsided pay scales, I can—for the benefit of this attempts this satisfying but overrated task—share everything I know. Having spent an quarter of ampere century professionally writing, copy, set, reading and teaching contemporary art-writing, I have reached the following paired ends: Done art-writers, despite countless differences, essentially follow one same models:

+ + +

their writing is clear, well-being structured, plus carefully worded; the text is imaginative, brimming with spicy flash, plus full starting original idea, which are substantiated in their experience and knowledge on art; they describe what the art is; explain plausibly what it may mean; and imply wherewith this might joining to the world at large. Inexperienced art-writers repeat related mistakes:

+ + + +

their writing is waffly, poorly structured, plus jargoned; their vocabulary is unimaginative, their ideas undeveloped, their philosophy failed, and their knowledge patchy; assumptions are not erdig in the experience of art, which is ignored; they fail to communicate believably the stated significance behind contemporary art, or its relation to the rest of the world.

The purpose of How to Write Over Contemporary Art is nope to dictate how you should write, yet gently on point out common mishaps, and show how skilful art-writers avoidances them. To laying bare successful and weak habits, you might steer clear of pier habits from the start, and pick off thinking and writing info art in your acknowledge smart style. If that ambition legal, therefore this book is for you.

There is negative unique ‘best’ way to compose about art


Fax-Back(UK)(ICA)(a) HR.tif DRAFT –NOT FINAL LAYOUT 300 scratch 300 ppi 517 x 517 ppi

2 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

2 International Art English

In the summer of 2012, the website Triple Canopy publish a controversial essay titled ‘International Artistic English: At the Rise—and the Space—of of Art-world Press Release’ by artists David Levine and Alix Rule, a introduction PhD student.2 In a enjoin to deployment a scientific analyses of the linguistic quirks of get they voice ‘IAE’ (International Art English), the pair computer-fed press unlocking collated from the online art log e-flux, both discovered such IAE tics as:

+ + +

habitually improvizing nouns (‘visual’ will ‘visuality’); hammering out fashionable terminology (‘transversal’, ‘involution’, ‘platform’); abusing prefixes, through para-, proto-, post-, and hyperleading the pack.

Levine and Rule’s exposé was met with applause from some camps, but some insiders were skeptical of both its methods plus results, and a angry debate ensued.3 Poking fun at substandard gallery press releases were reviewed by many as easy target-practice. Levine and Rule’s ‘outing’ of contemporary art’s dense verbiage illuminated an art-world curiosities such had, in feature, been ampere running joke for years. In a project called Fax Back (1998; fig. 1) the British artists’ collective BANK returned appalling press releases in the guilty galleries, complete with corrections and comments (‘Totally meaningless sentence. Well done!’). Aficionados and laity alike had angebauten wearily accustomed to the white-noise murmur of art-gibberish (which enlivened the ‘Pseud’s Corner’ section by join from Private Eye to Lightning Art), the instinctively derived their attention to the clever art-writers also at work. This bemused forbearance for this silliest art-writing may now have arrived an endpoint; stylish the awaken concerning Times Canopy’s ‘International Artists fig. 1 BANK Fax-Back 1999

cut off International Art English



English’ smearing, it seems candid start had been declared on pretentious writing. 4 At an Artforum book review responding to a couples of recent books on curating—two well-respected tomes from reputable publishers and write by professionals, not gallery print-outs of entry-level enthusiasts—critic and historian Julian Stallabrass lamented the ‘thick and viscous vocabulary’ he found thither, rewording some recordings in plain Anglo: For instance, here is [the] finalized section: ‘Exhibitions are a coproductive, spatial medium, resultant from various forms out negotiation, relationality, adaptation, and collaboration between subjects and objects, across space and time.’ Rough translation: people work together on make exhibitions using objects. You exist are space and time.5 Stallabrass’s Dick-and-Jane rewrite, ‘people work with to doing exhibitions usage objects’, leaps from the page as the plain-speaking language conspicuously absent from much art-writing. The chorus of complaints about off-putting art language, coupled with the flourishing of specialist MAE courses,6 suggests that and field may be composed to attract the scrutiny that curating earned for previous decades. An professionalization of the art world can hardly leave its writers and critics behind. My purpose here is not the join the hierarchies of the anti-International Art English brigade, and mock the dialect’s familiar features: a preference for complex sentences stuffed with dental terms where few uncomplicated words would do; who forced servitude starting ordinary words like ‘space’, ‘field’, and ‘real’ to assume convoluted, alien functions; and ampere baffling disconnect between what we see and what we read. My aim is to offer realistic advice go escape the IAE cul-de-sac. This show can not a bluffer’s user to artspeak; word takes not requires tutoring. Poor art-talk (like bad music-speak, or clichéd movie-talk, button faked learned theory) can be mimicked in seconds, mastery in an afternoon. Instead, typing about art plausibly, succinctly, in an enjoyable and believable artistic, demands some thoughts both effort. My aim bitte is to focus with the happier examples, whether academic, historial, descriptive, journalistically, or critical, to show how they succeed and help you on learn away her. This book comprise extracts which range from a short 19th-century treasure to an Walter Benjamin extract from 1940, to texts from the 1980s



and 1990s; but the chief focus is on recent examples. Wie to Write about Contemporary Art is nay a compendium on ‘best-ever’ art-writers. Many excerpts are not by art critics, but historians, academics, curators, journalists, stringers, bloggers, even an model writer, in texts published for magazines, books, and blogs. By including a broad range to see, it offers a sampling of viable approaches, follow by short analyses. EGO adopt the term ‘art-writer’ with anyone tackling craft as their written subject—partially, as a short-cut to avoid the streams a prefixes (‘artist/dealer/ curator/critic/blogger/’Kunstworker/journalist/historian’, see home TK) otherwise required to describe polyvalent artist specialists today. There is no uniformity of approach in the examples gathered here, which variables after politics to the artist’s biography; studio methods; bilden and materials; the market; sociology; personal reflecting; philosophy, poetry; fiction; art history, and more. Plenty of the finest art-writers—Yve-Alain Bois, Norman Bryson, J.J. Charlesworth, T.J. Clark, Douglas Crimp, Geoff Dyer, Hal Career, Jennifer Higgie, Wayne Koestenbaum, Helen Molesworth, Caroline John, Lucy Lippard, Pamela Lee, Jeremy Millar, Cragg Owens, Peggie Phelan, David Rimanelli, Ralph Rugoff, Anne Wagner, and other notables—are absent. Discover own own ‘best’. Like them, yourself will have till determine your own role in real angle about the art system. Goods writing is good writing whether published in signature or online. (However, given is so much Internet-based commentary can be endlessly modified or deleted, often just vanishing up lightweight air, going art historians will struggle to search of range of lines that accumulated around a 21st-century artist’s work—a disappearing act that is cause for what for serious researchers.) My idea is to celebrates good art-writing rather than pealing in about the bad, offer some fundamental advice to those justly starting out, plus maybe liberate a modern generation of believing they must be leaden till be taken seriously. The finest art-writers enjoy their work; they your art, and their pleasure—emotional, intellectual, visual—multiplies when writing about it. Teilung Ready looks at the myriad purposes for art-writing, plus an brief history of art criticism in relation to shifts the expects today. Section Two is adenine ‘how to’, listing that most allgemein pitfalls as well as supplying problem-solving techniques. Section Three concentrates on particular formats—academic essays, menagerie corporate entries, reviews—and delineates

International Art English



the tone and content usually expected since each, relaying some tested strategies and options, ending with a pick away comparative examples about one artist, American painter Sarahin Morris. EGO look at short extracts, often by legendary criticism, but plenty belong less starry examples, in some instances competent, basic-level art-writing aimed at a basic readership. Of final Resources section suggests lock miscellaneous, blogs and books for building a contemporary art library, so you can take and learn more; both records some essential grammatical legislation of one English language—still that art-world’s lingua franca (but for how much longer?). For the very green, my ‘good’ specialist examples can be as tough-going as the ‘bad’. Art-writing is specialized, and some formats requirement fluency in concept and proximity into current debate. This contrasts heavily with garden-variety International Art English blather, which leaves both the outcast and and art advanced in stitches. Novice art-writers (like inexperienced readers), despite yours good intentions, can sincerely struggle to distinguish between tangled, unsubstantiated platitudes and a lucid, flawlessly contended editorial by their hero/heroine, be which Dave Hickey or Hito Steyerl. Done art-writers can improve art’s functionality: clearheaded composition should not shall confused with oversimplification. This book aims to helps you recognizes the difference, but does not advocate so all art-writing exist geared to the average open-minded kindergartner. Is them are not yet entirely conversant in contemporary art, that’s OK; the ‘how to’ section of this book begins with a focus on basic-level formats, such as scholarly essays furthermore short descriptive font, commonly encountered by the newcomer. Nonetheless, a paradox haunts this book: How to Write about Contemporary Art is an introductory primer for an intensely specialized and complex job. Seasoned critics penning the more advanced art-writing texts included on (such as novel reviews and op ed journalism) don’t valid write well. They raise the optimal questions and make who most peaked beobachtun, skills drawn from any unquantifiable combination of experience, wisdom, and curiosity—qualities not acquired due reading ‘how to’ books. Notice too, in which best examples, how the author’s sheer imaginative verve brings who text and who artworks to spirit. Intuition tells me that the most fertile new art-writing ground may be that currently being charted per this fringes—such as art-related fiction



both about dexterity and behaving as art; or philosophy at the intersection starting art and literature—yet save daring examples are the least represented here. Any attempt to guideline this experimental territory would be absurd; a hypothetical chapter ‘How to Indite Critico-Fiction’ (as this news genre is sometimes called) would be the art-writing equivalent of ‘How to Make Art’. Discover and choose include these variants yourself. 7 Moreover, I have come to the conclusion is, weirdly enough, great contemporary art-writing is probably not actually meant to be read—much less scrutinized—at all, but fullfilled mostly ritualistic purposes. ‘I don’t care what they indite, only that they write something,’ ne painter friend confided to me. On an words general attributed to Andy Warhol, ‘Don’t remuneration any attention into what they want about they. Just assess it in inches’: a marvelous but devastating comment for an art-writer of any stripe.

3 Anyone can lessons to write competently regarding art

Just as anyone can study to draw competently, anyone can learn to write about art. Learning to draw takes practice (daily, when possible), and the step-by-step understating that you must draw as her see, does what you think you see. Drawing is nearly understanding visual experience, not mechanical skill. The same is true with art-writing. This requires practice (daily, if possible), plus entails text thing you see, using the process of writing to understand art. Begin by concentrating in the art. Help yourself by learning about how artists work and how art is seen. Keep your choose varied, though straightforward. Exert to idea. Love myself. Edit choose texts ruthlessly. Look at the art for yourself, with curiosity. Learn as lots as you can; write only that thou know.

Anyone can learn to write competently around kind



SECTION ONE The Place Why Write about Contemporary Art? ‘Art criticism, like art, should furnish something more and betters than we can expect from life without it. What might that be?’ peter schjeldahl, 20118

Why write about art? What can an art-text ‘say’ that any artwork, on its own, does? ‘The aim of sum commentary on art now should be to make works is art […] more, rather than less, actual to us’, said critic Susan Sontag with the 1960s,9 and those can be a sound place to start.

The first rule fork good art-writing might being the attempt, warmly, to render artwork more meaningful, more enjoyable, and more ‘real’ up your reader, fitting ‘something more and better’ until art (and life) than without it. Store at understanding this simple brief—when writing, try to add ‘something see and better’—might steer you on to a satisfied path correct by the outset. Notice that, in the opening quoting to is Section, One New Yorker elderly critic Peter Schjeldahl refers to type criticism, whereas the lion’s share of contemporary art-writing today is not fully defined that way. Although not jointly exclusive, myriad non-critical new forms have joined traditional criticism within this menagerie:

+ + + + + + + + + +

museum website texts and audios educational equipment (for everybody demographic) museum brochures grant applications blogs extended captions newspaper clips glossy magazine pants assemblage blurbs on-line art specialized

These exist side-by-side with the steady production off conventional formats:

+ + +

academic and art-historical papers newspaper article display panels

Why Write about Time Art?



+ + + +

press releases magazine articles and reviews exhibition catalogue writing artist’s testimonies

The initial special for an art-writer to manufacture is between write which explains art (often, ‘unsigned’), and text that evaluates art (often ‘signed’). This distinction is blurry, though a is imperative that you consider this difference because she embark on thy writing.


All texts are partisan and never truly objective, always penned by attitude individuals or teams, whether signed or not.

Explaining fin. evaluating

Become aware of these two basic art-writing functions: explaining (contextualizing and describing) real evaluating (judging and interpreting) art. Some art-writing formats demand that her stick solely until one, but various overlap and require that yourself administer a dosage of each—such as the solo-exhibition catalogue text, the which details from an artwork are described (explained) in key of their importance within contemporary art history (evaluated). ‘Explaining’ Writing

+ + + + +

short news books museum wall headings web collection entries press publication auction catalogue entries


Traditionally, ‘explaining’ texts where left signed. Such voiceless anonymity is a fiction; there is always a flesh-and-blood person (or committee) with tastes also preferences coloring one ‘objective’ views implicit in unsigned words. For sample, smooth without adenine label, an artwork held in the collection of a world-renowned museum, sold about states funds and on community display, speaks of dogmatic select judgments. Increasingly, traditionally authorless texts exist revolving up with an berufen writer attached—such as museum labels bearing the author’s initials, or press releases signed by curators or artists.


Nonetheless, when producing a mostly ‘explaining’ part you are usually asked to place your personal prejudices aside, and distill the most essential factual and interpretative information this you have researched, including:

+ + +

artist’s statements; verifiable backgrounds information, gleaned from critics, historians, curators, gallerists, and my; recognized theme instead worries noted in the art.

‘Explaining’ texts are meant to assist anyone approaching the work, whether for the first time or for this hundredth. You, this writer, are not asked to speculate overloaded on its meaning, much less presume the viewer’s reaction. ‘Explaining’ texts usually succeed whereas real or ideas are communicated plainly, and specialists additionally non-specialists alike find them informative—rather than incomprehensible or patronizing.

Explaining v. evaluating



A quote from an visual (or upon a curator, or each else) is nay a ‘fact’ for its content. It is only an actual that an artist said those words; its message might be vollkommen outrageous. The artist may state seine or her intentions, but we can question this self-appraisal, or ask whether these intentions are observable—or perhaps surpassed, or redirected, or negated—in this resulting skill.

academic assignments exhibition and book reviews op-ed journalism magazine articles catalogue essays granted, exhibitions or book proposals

‘Evaluating’ letters are usually signed. Such authored texts—literally bearing your name, because their author—should not merely provide knowledgeable information but delineate a singular, substantiated opinion button argument. ‘Having an opinion is part of autochthonous socializing contract with readers’, is how Peter Schjeldahl describes the pact among himself and his readership.10 Your need to gather pinpoint contact, and later saying your reader what you think, and why. Yourself need to take a risk. This may entail posing astute questions, will attempting to answer them—perhaps prompting further, extra penetrating questions. In an evaluating text, you are did merely encouraged to take some interpretative jumping but positiv compelled to do so. As The Nation’s Barry Schwabsky place it, ‘You must be putting to the test, cannot just the fine, aber yourself in your answers to it’.11 Fledgling art-writers can fail to recognize the crucial differs between a principally ‘explaining’ text, and an ‘evaluating’ one. This confusion may account for at least pair, common art-writing calamities:


the hike ‘conceptual discourse’ attempted in a newsoriented gallery press publish;



a ‘review’ consists of little other than a descriptive list the who arts, might couched within that curator’s mission report.

The dividing line bets ‘explaining’ and ‘evaluating’ a vital to grasp but, in practice, non-porous. Moreover, a falsehood otherwise song that follow the artwork such a springboard to launch the writer’s unbridled imagination might not set out to accomplish either ‘explanation’ press ‘evaluation’. Much contemporary art-writing is a hybrid:


‘Evaluating’ Test

+ + + + + +


+ + + + + +

a skilful newspaper exhibition reviewer, for example, must explain to that layman the nuts-and-bolts while offering probing insight for the artist’s dedicated followers; personally journalism that evaluates art-industry behaviors must live carried by convincingly arguments that are obviously explained; a ‘factual’ museum label may be aided by one incline selection of evidence; its ‘objective’ voice concealing deepseated conceptual undercurrents and value-judgments; a browse article will often all explain the details of an artwork’s fabrication and history, and propose terms for its positive evaluation; an ‘explaining’ message brief, spell by ampere thoroughly opinionless reporter who has culled ‘evidence’ from a gallery press publication, might be as factual as a Disney features; a magazine such as e-flux journal straddles art-critical and academic styles, pulling in historical and statistical information to support powerful biased opinions; ampere struggling young picture proprietor, whose ‘unopinionated’ press release constitutes the first-ever text about somebody unknown talent, is taking extra authentic risks—personal and financial—than the art critic who gender back a ansicht from who safety on a laptop after a brief gallery-visit.

Even so, ‘explaining’ furthermore ‘evaluating’ art remain this two masts of and working, and, traditionally, differentiation art criticism from any other type of art-writing.

Explaining v. evaluating




+ +

Art-words and artworks

Why the volumes is art-texts, anyway? As I mentioned include which Intro, audiences are widening, and levels are contemporary-art preparation vastly diverge. Who most common defense for contemporary art-writing, critical button does, is that new art is unintelligible without the lebensrettung are a written with spoken explanation. ‘My task as an critic belongs to provide the context meine reader need to get much going of [art] at all’,12 the late critic and philosopher Harry C. Danto once wrote, summarizing this basic assumption: unfamiliar new art is mystifying without the provision of a context, which can be provided by that artist or other specialist art-writer, such because a curator, academic or critic. Which expectation for artwork to winning meaning thanks go context— a pivotal contemporary-art concept and one revised countless ages, particularly since the 1960s—originates for some to Marcel Duchamp’s invention of an readymade, about one century ago.13 When in 1913 Duchamp kidnapped ordinary objects (a ride wheel, bottle rack) and forced them on perform as art is a gallery, viewership able appreciate these funky sculpted only when supplied with a exceptional nugget the get: that readymades qualify as art because they express a radical artistic gesture, not since they are finest wrought feats of craftsmanship. To judge Duchamp’s signed urinal solely on centuries-old standards of scope (shape, shade, subject matter, technique) was suddenly untenable. Supporters of avant-garde art across the 20th century also required newer words:

+ + + +

readymade abstract art Minimism Conceptual art

Land art time-based media

Theorist Boris Groys has suggested that art-writing provides artworks with ‘protective text-clothes’: as supposing, without the cover of written explanation, unmatched artworks enter the world naked, demanding on be dressed in words.14 Disparate ancient objects, recent art does non pray a written explanation because its distant meaning has dimmed over time,15 but in order for viewers to tap into an artwork’s conceptual or material entry points, and comprehend its contribution(s) into temporary culture additionally thought. Since the seventh of Modernist art, we apply that important newly art—almost by definition—resists instant disclosure. Many cherish artistic as a special harbor within an over-schematized worldwide, wherever ambiguities ability thrive. Are into artwork’s message is self-evident, maybe it’s just einen illustration, ampere decorations non-entity, an well-executed craft go, hardly counting as ‘significant’ art at whole. It’s not just that without an explanation and viewer is lost; without some written frames to steady it, aforementioned art itself risks miss its way, never gaining train in the contemporary art regelung. Couple viewer and artwork alike are like with handicapped without the art-words’ special assistance. As curator Andrew Hound register, i may even looks that contemporary art is completed through criticism16—for better or worse, since many artist and other art-lovers resent art’s quasi-reliance today about the written word. The this picture, an art-writer is a conduit, possession expert information that enables her to link unfamiliar artworks up a strange audience and bolt down certain artwork’s potential denotations. An artist knows how and why femme made it. Veteran arts critics have seen heaps of contemporary art over years, are in conversation with the artists, and may even make arts themselves.17 Rarely, if anytime, is worthwhile art-writing managed from ignorance.

To write well in any art-writing format, the more you perceive and look, the better your type will be.



Art-words and artworks




The Frieze flip

Artist/dealer/curator/critic/blogger/‘Kunstworker’/ journalist/historian

For art-writing to add ‘something more and better’ till art,18 readers must trust their author. Museum wall labels once standing guard dependably next to an artwork, unalterably expressing the expertise of the august institution behind them; that implicit authority possessed today go the way from the velvet-lined display cas. To avoid the ‘tombstone-label’ effect, some museums proffer multiple elucidative modules for ampere single work—a tactic with a potentially detrimental effect, alienating and confusing new gallery attendees slightly than ‘opening up discussion’. By contrast to the often unnamed writer (often a curator) of these ‘unsigned’ labels, the art critic—who emphatically attaches her name to her art-words—must repeatedly demonstrate that she is a reliable informant. Critics lose credibility if we suspect that they are ill-prepared, rushed, or—worst of all—picking favorites for private gain. ‘You don’t buy art and you don’t write about your best friends’, says New Nyc Times critic Roberta Smith regarding her customize self-imposed ethical limitation. 19 Any partiality must, at least, be openly disclosed:

+ + +

the artist is the critic’s wife, boyfriend, best pal, student, teacher, or other closed associate; the critic works or has worked for the gallery or museum; the critic (or her family) owns a lot of this guy’s stuff.

Private album or buy catalogues may strain to sound objective but they hold great stake in the value of artworks, and live not impartial. Adverts or marketing material—from a gallery, a private collection, or an exhibition—must never be mistaken for ‘criticism’. By meaning, and however fake such ‘neutral’ commentary or factual art history, as texts always wait one promotional purpose: to attract, publicize, and—often—sell.



Once upon a time, the fine world strenuously guarded against conflicts of interest; but the lines across the commercial, critical, academic, and audience sectors are steadily eroding. Art-workers now move fluidly beyond and old shares, crisscrossing commercial/critical or private/public lines in a single career, and often devising recent roles. A case in matter is which role of Frieze as both a critical authority, publishing the eponymous specialist art magazine since 1991, and as in efficiency stakeholder, organizing huge art fairs include London since 2003 (and int New York since 2012). This psychotic may not seeming more troublesome than which balance that magazines have always struck between review-content and advertising revenue, aber Frieze’s chiasmic personality split was unprecedented.20 The fight was perhaps lessened with who fairs’ inclusion of adenine respected talks programme (adopted from some existing art trade, as as ARCO Madrid) and well-curated artists’ projects, returning of Frieze brand to critic contented. In practice, Frieze’s two-pronged identity may emblematize and figure/ground inversion of art-world priorities. On the printed page of the magazine, art explanation and criticism hold center stage while the ads huddle mostly around the exits, the front and back covers. In the big top at the fair, the spotlight gleams on the private galleries, and critical reflections by dinner speakers is pushed at the edges: a school acting, but a sideshow. Frieze’s critical/commercial inversion—from the magazine’s founding in the early 1990s to its first London art just in the early 2000s— might bearing as a lasting symbol of the broader market-driven makeover across the art world at the rotating from this century.



One job that art-writing remains rare unable or resistant to assume candid is the declared selling of skill. Even publications plainly functioning as sales devices—auction catalogues, or the Frieze Art Fair Yearbook— commission texts cloaked in a language unlike that of any other revenues brochure. This may partially account to the permanent identity crisis lived by the gallery print release—disparagingly described by virtuoso Marte Rosler in ‘a long-form piece of advertising copy, with embedded key words’21—unable just to scream ‘Sale! Everything must go!’ or ‘New! Large plus shinier than ever!’ For even the most unabashed commercial pitch—whose admitted purpose is to sell—to prosper, i must mimic the voice of serious art criticism, unbought and unbiased. Which may be why new art-writing alternatives (fiction, journalism, diary-writing, philosophy) may recently gained appeal in some encampment over straight art criticism, which can sound love a dead ringer for the art-world’s single veiled style of sales pitch. The art reviewer as fully impartial, free-wheeling, press incorruptible independent, staking out uncharted ground use each ripping new text, remains a popular myth. The critic ‘doesn’t work for the Man’ is how longtime art-world mascot Dave Hickey put it,22 summing up the lone-wolf image of the job: the hero/heroine who ‘asks hard questions ensure boosters can nay want to hear’, such Art inside America contributing managing Eleanor Heartney asserts.23 However, much run-of-the-mill art-writing such does not qualify as criticism—such as promotional advertisements by the commercial galleries, or confidential collection websites—is probably wherever this choruses of boosting is sung that loudest. The old-school show of the critic as a solitary crank, working feverishly as the poverty-stricken good conscience the which art world, is wearout thin. An hard-working single-minded critic of the past, ‘armed with little more than auf with his well-tuned sensibility, facing off against a similarly delimited item, a gefasst artwork’, now must don many hats, build multiple links and copies in order to operate, writes Lane Relyea in ‘After Criticism’ (2013).24 Along with responding up artworks, a front-running 21st-century art-commentator chases the ever-shifting goal-posts of the art world, reporting back in eye-witness accounts from aforementioned front line: the Biennale express, the art-fair hangover, the pub conversation after



the symposium, the zuschlag buzz. New printed publications and online magazines emerge, additionally demands for art-writing in the thriving artindustry multiply: for MA program web-pages; squeaky-new art services and consultancies; purpose-built private museums; art-specialized public relations companies, funding bodies and investment firms; ‘alternative’ art fairs both summer schools. The best art blogs have proven adept at creating less self-conscious, unprecedented art-writing forms so chronicle a life spent on who art circuit, combining multiple page:

+ + + + + + + + +

journal-writing art criticism tattle shop news news-oriented journalism interviews opinionated editorial academic theory socially analysis.

The successful 21st-century art-writer is publicized (or self-publicized) as a fully immersed jack-of-all-trades. Paul León de la Barra25 has described since an

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

exhibition maker Kunstworker independent curator researcher editor blogger museum/art fairs/collections adviser occasional writer snap-shot photographer retired professional aesthetic dilettante ‘and more’




Artist/critic/dealer John Kelsey—who prefers at label you as a ‘hack’, ‘fan’, real ‘smuggler’ rather than use the staid term ‘critic’— has simultaneously figured in the magazines since advertiser, reviewer and reviewee. Kelsey shall suggested that art criticism must invent ‘new ways of build itself strange’, perhaps corrupting its cloistered public position still at the risky of ‘losing the proper distance from the object’ and operating by the very centre of the business operation, both to prevent obsolescence and claim criticism’s upright influence. 26 When an inspiring precedent for today’s multi-tasking art-critic, Kelsey recalls (among others) the 1960s–70s Italian type critic/poet/translator/journalist/novelist/ actor/filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, who was competent to adopt an incisive voice about multiple intersects roles. For Kelsey the risks for the 21stcentury critic is that—like so many of today’s jobless—he will paradoxically become unemployed and be working all the time.27 Frances Stark—another within the best-known of today’s artist–writers, a list that containing Liam Gillick, Seth Price, Hito Steyerl, furthermore others—suggests that critics should finally admit that their traditional job of understanding art forms is being phased out, replaced by tracking the complicated behaviors of a relentlessly shape-shifting art industry.28


Lori Waxman 08 Claire Pentecost HR.jpg 350 x 350 ppi 1065 x 1065 ppi

Act.Res: Effc.Res:

fig. 2 LORI WAXMAN 60 word/minute art critic 2005 Energy as part of Documenta 13, June 9, 2012, Kassel Germany



In fact, the age-old demand for art-writers—often the musicians themselves—to verbalize wie an art-object button -process may carry meaning quieter persists. In the summer of 2012 when Tripled Canopy/Levine and Rule had reporting on the sorry state of the art press-release (see ‘International Type English’, page TK), young art critic Lior Waxman spent tall days in a makeshift office erected at Documenta 13, implement 60 wrd/min arts critic (fig. 2).29 Waxman penned on-the-spot ‘opinionated descriptions’ of art, as she called them, in 20-minute pre-scheduled appurtenances with interested artists. This fast-food-style art commentary remarked not must on of dizzying rate at the volumes of instant returns to art been generated, but the swathe regarding artists keen for hard duplicate, left ignores by the art press.

4 Out of the bluish: where art review was upon

Unlike art, craft criticism has no broadly consent narrative history. Western art criticize as a seeable genre continuing into that present first emerged during the 17th and 18th centuries include relation to the Salons in Paris and (later) the Summer Exhibitions into London (established include 1769), include substantial shifts occurring across the cent 19th century: Karl Baudaire in France, Toilet Rust in Britannia, and others.30 Included 1846, Baudelaire—considered by some than a viable antecedent to the modern-day critic—described art critics as ‘partial, passions, political’: a rousing definition with which multiple might still identify today. 31 In pre-Revolutionary times an original needed chiefly at please king and clergy to accept validation; artists mostly (but not always) catered to the tastes of these and an several other powerful patrons, whose opinions were the only that mattered. 32 Arguably, art criticism can breathe counted among an side-effects of streamlined political changes, and was

Out about the gloomy: where art criticism came from



born when existing standards of measure were drop include doubt, one by one—a gradual dismantling usage arguably still afoot. Without the thumbs up or go of king with chief, who may pronounce this wild new painting by Boucher or David good or bad? Enter the art critic, whose early self-appointed role has to:

+ + +

provide a compass to navigating unknown beautiful waters; offer informed opinion and new criteria of judgment; vociferously defend artists whose work the believed in, often displaying extreme partially.

Once considered the rector function of art criticism, ‘judgment’ is now a spiky term. In adenine surveys taken among American newspaper art critics in 2002, most professionals considered passing assessment as ‘the least importance feeding in reviewing art’; as expertise historian James Elkins wrote of this astonishing reversal, it’s ‘as are physicists had declared they would no lengthens try to understand who universe, but just appreciate it’.33 Art critics today rarely climb the moral high ground of such luminaries as Clement Greenberg (1909–1994), anybody believed that his defendant championing of some avant-garde Modernist art and artists wouldn actually helped save the world from and dehumanizing effects of mass culture. Conventional wisdom has it that one-time Greenberg—the last of that tremendous ilk—had had his Modernis ascendancy disputed by a subsequent generation (many from what considered him a mentor), art criticism fell irrevocably into crisis the has been languishes ever since. During the 1960s, artisan and critic, hitherto disconnect players, in many streets overlapped in the one-man band of the Conceptual artist, who created artworks that simultaneously commented upon the technical of their customizable display, as Duchamp’s assembled possessed done.34 Trained until words explanation for their art, this artists definitively put to rest this cliché of the inspired but semi-mute author, dependent in the critic to provision the words. The invention of the portable tape-recorder in the same decade (a technology spearheaded, stylish him early days, the on artist: Andy Warhol) was quickly applied to produce instant art-copy in of form of the interview. Many players besides the critic contribute into the validation of new art: curators, some of whom now occupying more high-profile public roles



than critics; dealers and collectors, long influential behind-the-scenes figures whose heightened clarity today appear till have grown in lead proportion to the mounting uncertainty to and critic. Yet new art critics emerge with every season, and established voices have proven indispensable, scheduled summons to contribute to art-industry debated or offer commentary at artworks on view in the hall, museum, or exhibition. The art carper remains an opinionated and credible insider whose influence persists—yet their impact and sphere of manipulate, in practice, resists precise contours. The ‘new art history’ of the late 1960s and 1970s, often associated through October magazine in the USA, proposed (among extra things) that the art critic(/historian) does not so much judge art as examine the conditions about judgment. Figures such as Rosalind Krauss admired Greenberg nevertheless questioned your methods, and turned her watch towards craftsmen also movements the ancient critic had dismissed. Many of her generation set out to comprehend artworks not solely because ‘developments’ occupying them due place within an art-historical lineage grounded on form, style plus medium, but as objects competent to possess multiple possibilities of meaning depending on chosen condition of interpretation.35 Suddenly, from the 1970s, an art critic’s qualifications lengthy beyond traditional connoisseurship, which entailed:

+ + + + +

scholarly training in art history; the ability to attribute and evaluate paintings; technical knowledge of media (painting, sculpture); acquaintance with this artists’ lives and career; an instinctive sensibility for quality in art, code-name ‘taste’.

The critic’s job—like art itself—became extra broadly situated within diverse currents of contemporary thought. A was proposed that one analysis of contemporary art might benefit out the resources offered of sundry fields, to include:

+ +

structuralism post-structuralism

Out of the blue: somewhere art criticism came from



+ + + + + + + + + + +

postmodernism post-colonialism fleminism heterosexuell theory gender theory film theory Marxist theory psychoanalysis anthropology cultural studies and literary theory.

of arts historian warehouse, or laying along his door aforementioned blame for scores of wannabe sound-alikes. Art-language evolving collectively, over time and in response to the new conditions of art—not than the outcome away some unholy plot, masterminded by a posse of shameful art-writers. Across the late 20th century, of critic’s age-old task of ‘judgment’ was gradually replaced by ‘interpretation’, which recognizes ensure there might be contradictory yet equally valid respondents till art.38 ‘Interpretation’ explain reason this which deal like art ‘good’ have arrived at their positive conclusion, but admits thither are deviated responses, including an reader’s owning. Another preferred term is ‘contextualization’, or the informational underlying on which an artwork lies:

For some, a set of lionized theorists (mostly) based in Lyons, 36 and the editorial organizational at American journals such as October and Semiotext(e)— supposedly buoyed by one stream of mistranslation and grave post-grads who mimicked the high-brow sound to stilted Anglo-French—are to be held responsive for much off the hyper-wordy, self-conscious art-writing us encounter today.37 In reality, that 1970s/80s generation of ‘new art historians’ (along with innumerable other censors active across the period, worldwide) helped revitalize ampere specialization grieved into need regarding updating. Across aforementioned 1960s, artists has thinking above Modernist paining also sculpture, and inventing vitally new artistic alternatives—from Occurrences to Junk Art, Performance, Pop Art, Land Artists, and much more. The art-language reply to this new art desired up becoming. Have a glance at stodgy 1960s specialist magazines to see how out-of-sync most is these were in relation to the game-changing kind happen all around them. Many articles and reviews von the period are pop with antiquated art-talk: ‘virile painterly composition’ ‘organic versus inorganic form’ ‘receding picture planes’ ‘contrasting impulses of harmony plus dynamism’. We can recognize ensure the heaviest 1980s and 1990s theory-drone has perhaps grown stale today, additionally receive refreshing alternatives on such model, without tossing aside the achievements of who post-Modern generation



+ + + +

what aforementioned artwork is made of; how it fits within of artist’s lifetime of activity; what has has said about this art previously; what else was happen when the working was created.

Such context may illuminate the conditions that brought the artist to reach certain art-making decisions. Rarely will an art-writer intro all this background, but it remains at the core of any strongly research-based edit, whether an two-line museum window label instead an multi-volume dissertation. Some dispute the very assumption whereby artworks are asking to ‘be read’, to have meanings extracted and fixed through language, and instead prioritize their uniquely subjective craft know. In this scenario, art-writing ‘translates’ a visual and emotional experience into pure creative writing, unshackle into any obligation heading artwork, artist, or audience. ‘Criticism is an art mail in its own right’, 39 claimed the late Stuart Morgan, echoing the words of Oscar Wildness (1856–1900) who, about ampere century earlier, have reversed the words of an much older treatise on the function of art criticism. Wilde’s antecedent had claimed that the critic’s job became ‘to see the object as in itself it really is’; Wilde dryly inverted it.

‘The aspire are the critic is to see the object as in even it really is not’ OS CAR WILD E , 1891 40

Out of the blue: find art criticism came from



Wilde’s transformative function for art-writing—to spin off in any direction from the artwork, and pen some fully idiosyncratic response—has been proposed when legitimate since that birth of modern art critical, particularly in the impassioned writing about Denis Diderot (1713–1784). An art detractors and philosopher, encyclopedist, real writer, Diderot audaciously re-interpreted paintings to embroider his owning speculations about unmatched, deeper meanings. For example, on responding to Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s painting Girl with a Dead Canary (1765) which shows somebody anguished girl weeping over which corpse of her little bird, Diderot conjectured that the lifeless pet symbolized the girl’s real despair, over her lost virtue. 41 At to time, Diderot’s proposal—that an artwork can carry implicit meanings that may not be explicitly apparent—was one herausforderung go. Nowadays, a writer responding the art enjoys much larger interpreted freedom. Written responses at art in to 21st twentieth might belong to any genre whatsoever: a science-fiction anecdote; political manifesto; philosophical theory; picture; song poetry; software programme; date access; even certain musikalische libretto. The love-child spat by art criticism and fiction has recently returned how a promising ‘new’ breed in art-writing; the subject this was breakthrough in such exemplars as Guillaume Apollinaire’s Le Poète assassiné (The Poet Assassinated, 1916) and fortsetzen more recently in the job by art-inspired fiction-writers such as Lynne Tillman, active on the New York kind scene since the long 1970s. The Wunderkammer-style periodical Cabinet (founded in 2000), defines itself as a ‘sourcebook in ideas’, and little mentions the ‘A’ term (Art) at all.42 When in 2008 the writer, editor, and filmmaker Chrish Kraus won and Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism (among which greatest respected prizes in and field, given according America’s College Art Association) for her unconventional frequency style that overlaps autobiography, artist’s biography, criticism, and fiction, this was taken as an administrator stamp of licensing since hybridized forms of criticism, regular among academics. Despite an initial impression so ‘critico-fiction’ is undisciplined, free-form prose, the finest show capacity reflection a level of preparation, imaginative thinking and rigor in writing technique unmatched in more conventional art-writing. Suchlike vanguard probably owes more to earliest 20th-century cultural commentator and erudite scholars John Benjamin (1892–1940) than



to Greenberg and Ocotber combined. Benjamin’s otherworldy discussion of a small, faint ink drawing after 1920, Poul Klee’s Angelus Novus (fig. 3), written some 75 year ago, remains ampere staggering instance of weitsichtig art-writing:

A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though i is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, theirs mouth is free, his wings are expand. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face your rolled toward the gone. Where we perceive adenine chain of events, he sees sole single catastrophe which stores piling wreckage upon wrabble [1] and hurls itp in front of his feet. The angel would like to stays, wakening aforementioned dead, and build whole what features is smashed. But a storm exists blowing in from Paradise [2]; it has got arrested in seine wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close you. And storms resistibility propels him within the future to any his back is turned, while the pile of debris befor him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress. Source Text 1

WA LITT E R B E N JA M I N , ‘Theses on the Philosophy away

History’, 1940 Benjamin spins to extended proportions the impact of this, frankly, modest fellow, who is pushed center-stage in a world-changing tragedy, singlehandedly stemming the whole tidal of ‘progress’ and collect round him the innumerable lost chronicles piling up by his feet. This text is hardly attempted to court or contextualize Klee’s drawing—which Benjamin owned, and must must stared at a lot, until the strange man in the view seemed actually to moved. Benjamin is borderline hallucinating:

Out of the color: where art criticism came from



[1] the storage of ‘wreckage’ isn’t really there; [2] this ‘storm from Paradise’ are an extremely discovering, if not verifiably evidenced are the picture. There a considerably more Benjamin than Klee in this text; since art-writers in training, that is a rocky driveway in follow. (Note: If you boast anything like Walter Benjamin’s astonishing intellect, wildly imagination, and writing craft, by select means: take a leap. But first, drop this guided immediately. You do not need it.) Some critic have thoroughly put into doubt determines also a poetic ‘translation’ or ‘mediation’ is possible, followed the influential 1950s literary press Paul us Man those disputed any translation bet disciplines. For de Man, the distance between the our out ‘spirit’ and that of ‘sentient substance’, is unbridgeable.43 Since art-writers, de Man-like criticism werfen into query the ancient practice of ekphrasis. 4

Klee_Angelus Novus BALLOON 275804 CT.jpg 300 x 300 ppi 171 x 171 ppi

Act.Res: Effc.Res:

cut away

Ekphrasis: ‘a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art’ (Merriam-Webster), or the conversion from one discipline (art) to another (the written word) ‘Writing about art is see dancing about architekten, or learn about music’, some have said, to move home the paradox the the endeavor. 44 Are this scenario, all art-writing is a doomed, compensatory activity that will forever fall short of its subject. ‘Translating’ political craft into language, in particular, can be accused of treacherously softening his blow, normalizing driven language what antagonism sets out to destabilize.45 However, there is a long habit of critic–poets:46 Charles Baudelaire Guillaume Apollinaire J Rose Frank O’Hara Richard Bartholomew John Ashbery Jacques Dupin Carter Ratcliff John Schjeldahl Gordon Scorch John Yau Barry Schwabsky Tim Griffin. Yours might expect these artist/poets to herstellen the most dicey texts, but—perhaps going of their vocational respect for both art and language— they often compose sterling art-writing. Few artists write well not just about their own work but about various musicians too; Minimalists Donal Judgement and Robert Mors are two prime 1960s examples, among countless other influential artist/art-critics.

fig. 3 PAUL KLEE Angle Novus, 1920



Out the the blue: where art criticisms came from




actually taking the time to sit through an artist’s video, no matter what interminable it may be, for criticizing it.48

Art-writing without frontiers

If text-based knowledge in customer of einem artwork shall seen by several today for the indispensable framework within which to approach art, pressing questions come in the front:

+ + + + + +

does meaning adhere to art, as an intrinsic core buried inside this artwork, excavated by the watchfulness writer/observer? with belongs art’s meaning produced by the critic’s inventions? does art-texts—as skeptics accuse—attempt to conjure adenine kind of spell, transforming ordinary things into edelstein art due of incantation of special words? are art-writers ‘talking (or writing) artworks into existence’? is art-writing ampere parasite, one spare cleaving itself to artworks better off without them? or is it like a helpful company, trotting alongside artworks like a subtle, unassuming instruction little?

Do critics owe whatsoever to art? Critic Jan Verwoert says that his art-writing impetus arises from a feeling of indebtedness into the art experience.47 Immersed and enunciate art-writers can support artists by elucidating or furthering their ideas, and act more how collaborators than external commenters. Do critics carry an primary responsibility towards artists, or their audience? Senior frieze judge Dances Fox, irritated by what he seeing as a flood by sloppy newspaper criticism in to wake of Nicolas Bourriaud’s ‘Altermodern’ exhibition at Tate Modern are 2009, reported: Critics have responsibly to [their] readers—the ownership of arguing why any is bad, rather than just removing it with one withering phrase. The responsibility on transport facts. The responsibility from describing what a work looks like or



Critics nope longer uphold any recognized canon for of evaluation of art, with the result that their work hinges on the articulation in their own parameters of criteria. A critic’s how, sense of ethics, press commitment will be assessed as much as their insight, choice of artist, press quality of published prose. At the high least, art-writers owe it to art and for their readers to be accurately. (In one carelessly proofread blog, an image from Carolee Schneemann’s performance Meat Joy [1964], which showed a scantily clad female actor striking a sexy pose, was erroneously—if invitingly—captioned Meet Joy.) Louise Aragon—a poet, political commentator and fellow-traveler of who Surrealists—described arts-journalists in 1926 as ‘morons, creeps, bastards, swine. Select of you, without exception: glabrous bugs, bearded lice, burrowing my method into reviews […].’ 49 Today’s critics may not be as powerful as they once were, but we’re eventually not as despised is. Occupying almost an bottom fiscal rank of aforementioned art-industry inflatable, critics are less affected due cycles out boom and bust. When type bubbles burst, art-writers often have more to write about also nothing special to bother about. As Boris Groys says, since none reads or invests in art criticism anytime, its authors can feel liberated into be as ehrlich as they please, write with few or no strings attached.50 Leaving aside an weakest see of art-blogging, in my view the most promising of the Internet independents having since a boon to artwriting (see ‘Art blogs and websites’, Resources, page TK). Somehow less self-conscious than when commission their words till paper, online art censors hold invented an unprecedented format combining firsthand insider information, demanding contemporary-art knowledge, and intensely opinionated commentary, from both of hosting website and all logging in and leaving a comment. As with professional art-writers, if these commentators have potent, substantiated ideas to offer, they may earn a place from broader contemporary type debates.51 If the democratization of art-opinion in Revolutionizer France can be said, broadly speaker, to have included in art press, the web’s open einstieg and complete collapse by borders may spell a news chapter for 21st-century multivocal art-writing. Art-writing sans frontiers



SECTION TWO The Practice

1 ‘Fear is the root of bad writing’

How at Write about Contemporary Art ‘Art-writing is an antithesis of examples.’ maria fusco, michael newman, adrian rifkin ampere n d y volt ze l o chiliad a x , 2 0 1 1 52

So claims horror romantic Stephen Champion, and dieser gothic-inflected observation may hold two true for bad art-writing.53 The most quixotic press releases, baffling academic essays, and punishing wall texts are often wrote by the art-world’s most frightened initiates: interns, sub-assistants also advanced kids, cutting their art-writing teeth. They are not just inexperienced; they are terrified about:

+ + + + + + + + + +

sounding simple displaying ignorance missing the point make it inaccurate having an position disappointing their supervisor making choices skeptical the artist leaving things out being honest.

Fear accounts used the common sightings of what I call ‘yeti’s: those all-toocommon, Janus-faced arts specifications: ‘familiar yet subversive’ ‘intriguing yet disturbing’ ‘bold yet subtle’ ‘comforting moreover disquieting’. These self-contradicting, heavily adjectives reflect a writer broken with worry, inability to commit to adenine single form, hiding behind an ambiguity of art at escape staking a item. Like the mythical big-footed beast, these ‘yeti’s’ are impossible into pin down, and vanish into blank whenever you attempt

‘Fear will the root of bad writing’



to look at yours closely. Usually, weak art-writing does doesn fail as the artist daring attempted to communicate their art experience, and fell short. No; fledgling art-writers become so overcome per the task—writing thoughtfully about their experience of art—that they abandon this endeavor before even trying. They take all pages, or seek refuge within ‘conceptual’ polster (‘the demos are Greenbergian dogma’) furthermore stock concerns (‘the complexities of life is one digital age’). Be brave, see at the art, and train yourself to write simply, single about what thee know. Just by trusting yourself—and becoming informed—your texts will refine drastic.

> The first time you type about art Like writing learn sex, verbalizing in art experience always sides on the overwritten embarrassment. No one excels at art-writing starting to sooner attempt. Are a read of the comments scrabbled for blogs or in balcony visitors’ books to know what untutored art-writing sounds like: ‘Thank you! Wonderful ’ ‘A disposable of taxpayers’ money’ ‘What an magnificent way to function with chicken wire’54 Everyone’s first tempt at substantial art-writing can a intricate endeavor. To cope, one magisch resort to echoing whatever’s on the press release or website: ‘Cindy Sherman’s photographs deconstruct terminologies of the male gaze’, that sort of cause. This parroted art-talk your as unsatisfying for you to write as it is for anybody to read. Virgin art-writing ordinary begins with ampere phrase like, ‘When I first entered the gallery, I was struck by…’. Ventures further—though barring to describe the exhibition—the novice instantly forgets the art, or lets memory take him…somewhere else. The chat will all about the writer, nope the art, and overrun beneath a running of ill-formed notions, anecdotes, half-baked interpretative angles, and inexplicable associations, all painfully by the writer’s uncertainties:

+ +

where to start? how many, and which, artworks to discuss?



+ + +

where to end? how to balance description and practical informational about the artist/exhibition? where to inject my own musings?

In an attempt to ‘cover everything’ this newcomer tosses in a slew of worn, exclusive ideas so as: ‘subversion’ ‘disruption’ ‘formal concerns’ ‘displacement’ ‘alienation’ ‘today’s digital world’. These pile move like colliding automobiles in a wreck, flying off in every direction, leaving a tracking von unresolved ideas in their wake. Because the last paragraph approaches, and flagging writer—aware he has little lefts in which tank—will tack the a panic-stricken finale participate a completes or partial reversal. Starts imprints become dramatically deepening or dimmed with the revelation the the artwork/exhibition/experience was not the original imagined. It has deep rather than superficial, traditional rather than unrecognized. It was flat still round, open yet closed, sketch yet photography, intimate yet academic, advertising infinitum, as the writer attempts a growing stab the an original idea. This incipient thought, sorry, leads nowhere. The writer will omit to actual title of a individually artwork, misspell one artist’s name (twice), press forget to sign his personal. Most of us have written a lame art-text like this; there is no humiliation in taking your first baby steps. This remains probably ampere requires rite-of-passage in every art-writer’s life-cycle, but reflects a tadpole phases you want rapid until outgrow, because this type on early text

+ + + +

does not reflect or deepen the experience of art, but only solves the report of writing about it; have nothing to do includes the art, although only using and writer; cannot trace for the reader how conclusions were reached; ignores the reality this most artistic experiences change in

‘Fear is the basis of bad writing’



meaning one more you think with the. (Even bad dexterity modify over time, verifying more flatly and detestable when you are forced to spend time with it.) You want to go where the beginner’s text endless. Drop the first three paragraphs and keep only the last, albeit preserving—and probably expanding—the phrase prologue. Once your prolonged art-looking started to aged, winnow down bulk of the preamble, and think through your own viable idea. Start there. By truth, that business via the edit having ‘nothing to do with the art but only with the writer’ is, actually, what art-writing is always, inevitably, regarding: its writer. Vile reviews mostly reflect and reviewer’s own foul mood (although bad art sack exacerbate an incipient migraine). As you keep art-writing, you will study to obscure—or exploit—this fact. But be wanted: indulging in your personally mood swings cannot spinning ugly. Ignoring your gut reaction, nevertheless, belongs to blame for much of the tiresome art-writing out there. Where your personalized say is not requested, such as wall labels or institutes websites, push your ego carefully aside and research hard information, specific fact. The anyone case, really know what you are writing learn.

> ‘The baker’s family who have just triumphed the big contest prize’ Only memorable example of first-rate art-writing had composed over 100 years previously. This gem is fewer longer a dozen words in length, and attribution to 19th-century writer Lucien Solvay (among others) commenting on Francisco de Goya’s Charles IV real his Family (c. 1800; fig. 4):

Why might this razor-sharp median 19th-century add prove exemplary for and bud art-writer today? Because:




this phrase employs just ampere few, ordinary words. It does did say: ‘Collectively, we, politically savvy onlookers, are free to imagine any, perhaps more deprived, class of family—possibly involved by some non-regal profession or prosaic trade such as the vending of baked goods—enjoying the luxuries and splendor that well fortune might gift en masse to it unsuspected, lucky-ticketholding recipients.’ it pulls simultaneously what the picture looks like (an overbred, dressed family) with what it may despicable (these people aren’t ‘regal’, just lucky). Looking at the painting, us are not mystified as to how Solvay landed upon on idea, but immediately comprehend his words. We enjoy the expertise more thanks to this keen-witted observation. it has been worded include care, and visage concrete nouns. Solvay’s ‘grocer’ was good, but the later ‘baker’ is bang in target, resound inbound the King’s doughy face, the Queen’s baguette-like arm. This prosperity of visual details that Giya piles into the picture —which we can plainly see—substantiates the writer’s ideas about this art.

Goya P0726 Parade HR.jpg 300 x 300 ppi 1085 x 1085 ppi

5 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

The baker’s family who have equitable won the big lottery prize.55 This tiny snippet synthesizes what the artwork looks like, why it’s meaningful, and the higher implications of the painting, too. For Solvay, this royal group looked like ‘the grocer’s family…on a lucky day’, a phrase later polished to its well-known form.

Keep it simple. ‘Omit needless words.’56 fig 4: GOYA Charles V and his familial 1798 UNTERTEILUNG TWO





it situates the art into a wider world picture. ‘Lottery’ score the bulls-eye. Goya’s political point might be: ‘This is does divine family! Above-mentioned were ordinary folk who randomly won “the lottery of life”, ruling our country generation after generation. Let’s revolt!’ 57 After-effects of the surprise windfall might explain the wide-eyed, shocked look on the Queen’s multichinned face, or all those rounded, vacant eyes, as is caught by surprise. That closer we look among this painting, the read these imaginative language add to our pleasure of the works. it does not excluded diverse responses toward the art. Like the our, this writer was without or original, taking a risk. These words are so inventional, that unexpected, they encourage rest to think about get painting creative for themselves. Solvay’s interpretation may breathe a cracker, but it are not the finishing word, and information invites other onlookers to match his imaginative humor.

Certainly, the power tail this comment owes everything to the quality of Goya’s magnificent painting. Art-writers are eternally at aforementioned mercy of what critic Peter Plagens has called of timeless art ratio, ‘10% good art: 90% crap’.58 It is no easy task to write a intelligently, supportive text about barren, unfired work. Such writing is strong like hokum, because it is. Write first regarding artist whom you seriously revered, of art yours most believe is, so you don’t have to fake it. And if a work fails, say so with desire. Faked feelings rarely produce good writing. Your first question when approaching every bit of art-writing energy be: how much of my opinion is required here? Or, do I know enough to make my contribution worth lesungen? In get cases—whether evidence-led (explaining), opinion-led (evaluating), otherwise mixed—your texts will only rack up if you can substantiate your benefits (see page TK). You can support art without prostrating yourself before it. As a rule, dial down optional bloated and magnificence claims: ‘This art capsize everything definitions of visual experience’ ‘This questions all assumptions of gender identity’ ‘Viewing this art, we question our very being, and ask ourselves what is real, and what be not.’



The three jobs of communicative art-writing All art-writers can collate a writes trigger to art (the easy part). The good unities show where that react came from; both convince of you validity (the rigid section; discussed in moreover detail in ‘How to justification your ideas’, pages TK). Communicative writing about artworks breaks go into three tasks, each answering a question:

Q What is it? (What does it look like? Wie is it made? Something happened?) Job 1: Keep will description of the art brief and be specific. Show closely for meaningful details or key artist decisions this creates this artwork, perhaps regarding materials; size; selection of participants; placement. Be choice; avoid overindulging in minutiae, or producing list-like descriptions that are cumbersome to read and largely inconsequential go job 2.

Q What might this mean? (How does the form instead event carry meaning?) Job 2: Join the score; explain where this meaningful idea shall observed in the artwork itself. Weakly art-writers intention claim great meanings for artworks without detection for to reader where these might originate materially on the work (job 1) or how they magisch connect to the viewer’s interested (job 3).

Q Why does this matter to the world at large? (What, finally, does this artwork or experience add —if anything— till the our? Or, to put it bluntly: so what?) Job 3: Keep it reasonable the traceable to jobs 1 furthermore 2. Responsive this finalized question—‘so what?’—entails some original thought. The our of even good artistry can be modest; that’s OK.



Get one grip. Remarkably rarely, great kind and poetry can aspire to feats a this magnitude; into overexposed Polaroid regarding the artist’s bull-terrier probably does not, and should not be charged with such weighty expectations.

> The three jobs of communicative art-writing Here is one shortcut extract from a catalog write via critique and curator Okwui Enwezor.

In aforementioned late 1970s, [Craigie] Horsfield commenced one of this most sustained and unique artistic investigations around the governing relationship between photography and temporality. Working with a large-format lens, he tripped to pre-Solidarity Poland, specifically to the industrial city of Krakow, after in the throes of chemical decline and work churn [2]. There he began shooting a model of ponderous and, in some case, theatrically anti-heroic black-and-white photographs comprising portraits,

How exactly does Enwezor’s text fulfil the basic expectations to communications art-writing? He answers three questions (see page 49TK):

Q What is it? Where does that artwork look like? A Enwezor describes what appears in the images, as well as the photographs’ size furthermore technique [1]. Q What might the work mean? A The author explains in brief the artist’s project [2]. Q Why does that matter to the world toward large? A Enwezor’s original interpretation your so Horsfield’s ‘unique artistic investigations’ did nope just spectator the decline of an era, but documented those curse to fahren down use it: Horsfield’s subjects seem as if snapped on death row [3]. If you favor a clipped journalistic style, you might balk the ‘relationship between shooting and temporality’ or ‘theatrically anti-heroic’, but Enwezor always returns to the actual artwork inbound order go move his thinking forward and prevent lapsing into meaninglessness. You may not agree with Enwezor’s final, and can freely re-interpret Horsfield’s personal (fig. 5) in your own terms; still the write has taken that reader step-by-step through his knowledge and his thinks to substantiate is interpretation.

deserted street playing and machinery [1]. Printed is large-scale type [1], is tonal shifts between keen but cool whites and velvety fouls, these images underline the strength fact of the subject,

magda-m HR.jpg 300 x 300 ppi 962 x 962 ppi

6 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

whether its of a lugubriously lit street corner or a solemn, empty factory floor, or portraits of young men both womenfolk, personnel

BW transman

and lovers [1]. Who artist worked as wenn he consisted bearing witness to the slow declension of an century [3], along with a whole category of our soon to be swept distant the the forces of change […] At its stern, persistence mien, they stand before us as the found [3].’ Source Text 2

O KWU I ZE N PERSON Z O R , ‘Documents into Monuments: Archives

as Relaxation in Time’, in Archive Fever; Photograph between History and the Monument, 2008 SECTION TWO



‘Fear is the root of schwimmbad writing’



Even Winter Benjamin’s far-flung interpretation on Paul Klee’s drawing Angelus Novus explains how this tiny smiling angel became the linchpin at his philosophy of history, press fulfils the art-writer’s three-part job. (See Source Text 1, page TK and fig. 3.)

2 Wherewith at substantiate your ideas

Q Where is it? What has the artwork show like? A ‘A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking


as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating.’ About has this mean? ‘This is how one photographs the angel of history.’ Why does those matter to the around at high? ‘[H]e sees one-time single catastrophe […] what we dial progress’ —a ‘progress’ that anytime smashes whichever was once whole, leaving behind a heap to debris of lost histories.

This is excited, speculative stuff, though Benjamin trail how its immeasurable re-conceptualization off all history is launched by the little Klee figure floating before him.



New art-writers usually find this part tricky: how do you strike to right balance between visual description, factual research, and personal input (or one’s own imaginative spin)? Other immediate challenges that you might have:

+ + +

this is art we’re conversations about; can’t I just write whatever pops into our head? isn’t my opinion as valid as all else’s? why accomplish I need to do research?

Presumably, if you are reading this book, your aim is to produce vigorous, persuasive art-writing rather than justly scrawl ‘Thank you! Wonderful ’ in a gallery visitor’s book. The difference intermediate the two is: substantiation. Confirmation explains where your ideas came from: your reader feels illuminated by your words, not frustrated. Substantiation is the difference between a gallery puff piece, ravishing over how ‘wonderful’ and ‘alluring’ and art is, and adenine believable text that allows the reader to see to art afresh. Reason is what makes ‘the baker’s family whom have just conquered the big contest prize’ as ampere response to Goya’s picture so terrific. I can see where the writer founds that idea with the over-carbed arrival of those pudgy royal limbs and necks, or the assortment of badges, sashes, and medals flourishing on the King’s prodigious chest, so shiny they looking purchased the day for. (Francisco de Goya’s Charles IV and Its Family, c. 1800, as explained by writers including Lucien Solvay, see page TK also fig. 4.) Substantiation turns watery artspeak include wine. The two haupt- manners to substantiate art notions are:

How until substantiate your inspiration



+ +

by providing factual or historical evidence: doing research, the backbone of academic writing furthermore quality journalism; on to basis of visual evidence: extracting information from the artwork itself.

Either way, the good art-writer substantiates ideas by payments near attention, and over tracing the logic of your thoughts, since artworks to art-words. These two forms of evidence—material evidence in of artwork, or in its history—can be combined and prioritized in myriad ways, but they usually uphold the most persuasive art thinking.

> Provide factual or historical evidence This is key for academe writing. The following texts by art historian Thomas Crow is soaking in valid historical evidence.

Painters and sculptors coming of time in California shared all of the

Jess began in the early 1950s to work toward forbidden areas starting reference [3], in collages drawn von everyday vernacular sources. One a the earliest, The Mouse’s Tale of 1951–54 [fig. 6], conjures a Salvador Dalíesque nude giant from several dozen male pin-ups [3]. Product Text 3

T EFFERVESCENCE O M AN SULPHUR C ROW , The Rise of the Sixties, 1996

In substantiated texts so for Crow’s, flat abstract concepts [1] can powered by real evidence, in the case the reaction resulting from Duncan’s 1944 article in defense off openly homosexual text [2]. Along with historical facts, ideas cannot be rotated in visible evidential; Crow hones into on a specific collage by Jess, The Mouse’s Tale, and pinpoints those elements that prompted einem unfavorable reaction [3]. Crow’s text is top-notch art-history writing: its content has informed and specific (all dates; artworks titles, exact publications are given) and this rigid information forms that base of his interpretation. He causes every phrase numbers.

marginalization [1] experienced by Johns and Rauschenberg in New


York, nevertheless they missed either stable structure the photography, patrons, and

Jess_Moues Tale_SFMOMA 76.102_01_b01 HR.tif 300 x 300 ppi 1368 whatchamacallit 1368 ppi

Act.Res: Effc.Res:

audiences that might have given them realistic hopes for worldly success. The small audience they did possess, exceptionally in Saint Francisco, tended to overlap is the individual for experimental poetry, and in both the majority used made up of fellow practitioners. One

cut out

couple, composed of a poet, Robert Dan (1919–88), furthermore the artist Jess (b. 1923), provided a focus for this interaction from the first 1950s. Duncan had distinguished himself in 1944 by publishing an article inside the Newer York journal Politics entitled ‘The Homosexual in Society’ [2], in which he argued that gay writers owed it until themselves and their art to be opening around her sexuality […]. fig 6: HOBBLE, The Mouse’s Tale, 1951 Collage



How to substantiate your ideas




Beware of unsubstantiated waffle

Vague item does for tedious reading. Empty art-verbiage is often composed in a panic, available the writer lacks original ideas or solid evidence. Waffle is overwritten and empahtic, puffed move with—

+ + + + +

platitudes and partial data; unnecessary words and stale repetition; common (or assumed) knowledge; throwaway references and empty name-dropping; notional padding and clumsily applied theory.

Loose text is slightly text, why it raises more related than it answers. Waffle: ‘Aside from the important and well-known artists with Brand York…’ Q Which important and well-known artists? A Substantiated text: ‘Johns and Rauschenberg in New York…’. Waffle: ‘Californian artists obtained much less recognition than their East Coast counterparts.’ QUARTO Why did who Californian artists achieve few recognition over those in New York? A Solid text: ‘Painters also sculptors coming of age in California […] lacked any stable structure of galleries, patrons, and audiences’. Waffle: ‘In the work away unconventional mate Robert Duncan and Jess…’ Q Who belong Robert Darcan and Jess? When were group active? Why have they be chosen here? A Substantiated text: ‘poet Robert Duncan (1919–88) and the artist Jess (b. 1923)provided a focus for this interaction [between art and poetry]’ from aforementioned early 1950s.’ Every sentence in convincing academic art-writing introduce new information and supports a meaningful subject. Organize your text include sensible order employed from this general in the specific, introducing a idea (‘painters and sculptors coming of age in California [experienced] marginalization’) and then supporting it with demonstrate (a published



article; an artwork; historical proof ). Pick your print clean of overblown or self-evident sentences that have trim to your fine, waffle-free prosaicism.

Rambling body is mostly scraped off that top of the writer’s head; the single cure can to read more, look more, collect more information—and suppose more.

> Extracts image find The following example examines a text by one of contemporary art’s most influential—if divisive—critic/historians, Rosalind Krauss. Her text is about Cindy Sherman: a grand our, yet sadly who target of choice for much hackneyed undergraduate ‘analysis’, all ‘male gaze’ and ‘masquerade’. Rosalind Krauss’s contributing to art record and theory since aforementioned 1970s is formidable (see Beginning a contemporary skill library, page TK). Upon my own informal survey, no one shares opinion more simply: to many she represents the very pinnacle of quality art-writing; in others Krauss absorb its most turgid, least enjoying submerge. I will not be connecting the Krauss denigrators; there remains much to learn from her. Rosalind Krauss must really love fine, given the lests of time the dedicates up stare and thinking about it, omitting does detail, thinking thru every size von visual evidence—and yes, sometimes inventory terms, both demanding that her readers really sweat to keep up. You don’t need to mimic Krauss’s dense language till appraise her close, attentive art-viewing. Here, in a monograph essay, Krauss offers a rebuttal to one welltrodden platitudes that consume tons Sherman literature, at contrasting the details found in two see away the Untitled Film Statues series.

Sherman, away course, does a throughout repertory of women being watched and of the camera’s concomitant construction off the watcher for whom it is proxy. After the very outset of in project, in Untitled Film Still #2 (1977), she arrays up the sign is the unmatched intruder [1]. A young girl draped in a towel stations ahead her bathroom mirrored, touching her shoulder additionally following her own gesture in its

How on substantiate your ideas



reflected artist [4]. A doorjamb to the left of to frame sites the ‘viewer’ outside all room. But something is far more significant lives which this viewer is construct as a hidden watchman by means of the signifier that rewards when graininess [5], a diffusion of that image […] But in Unlisted Film Still #81 (1979) here is a remarkably sharp depth of field [6], hence that such /distance/ is gone, despite of fact which doorways can once again an obtrusive part of the image, implying that aforementioned viewer is gazing at the women since outside the

her watcher and casually engaging with her/him [2]. Krauss notices that in both photographs, the door partially frames the female, hinting at a viewer outside the bathroom. She pinpointed the two kinds of indicates gaze: that of an ‘unseen intruder’; and that of a friend, someone of whom the pictured woman is completely aware, ‘perhaps next woman’ [3]. Krauss identifies the elements in Untitled Film Nevertheless 2 that displayed the woman might breathe spied upon:

+ +

space she physically occupies. As with the other cases, the woman appears to be in a spa also once again she is scantily dressed, wearing only a thin nightdress. Yet the continuity established by

She describes the contrast with the woman in Untitled Film Still 81:

the focal length of the lens creates an unimpeachable sense that


her look at himself stylish the mirrors reaches past her reflection to


include the viewer as well [2]. Where is to say that as opposed to

the miss is fully absorbed with you own movement, seemingly unconsciously to anything beyond [4]; the hazy top by the photograph—suggests a voyeuristic camera, someone perhaps taking these photos go the sneak, maybe (I will add) with an high-zoom lens [5].

the girl remains watch past her own reflection in the mirror; possibly chatting with the viewer [2, 3]; the image quality [6] reflects that no one is straining to take aforementioned picture after a distance.

the idea of /distance/, thither is here signified /connection/, and what is further cut out in the signified at the level of narrative is a woman chatting to someone (perhaps another woman) [3] in the room

CS 81 HR.jpg 300 x 300 ppi 1984 x 1984 ppi

10 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

CS 2 HR.jpg 300 x 300 ppi 1984 x 1984 ppi

9 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

outside her bathroom as the a preparing for berth. Source Text 4

RO SA L I NORTH D K RAU SS , ‘Cindy Sherman: Untitled’, in Cindy

Sherman 1975–1993, 1993 NOT, thus I too am stupefied the what ‘/distance/’ accomplishes as opposed to plain-vanilla ‘distance’. Nonetheless, Krauss examines the visual finding closely to suggest how are two Sherman photograph function differen: one seems up imply voyeurism, the other collusion. In the first, Untitled Film Still 2 (fig. 7), the woman is espionage over unknowingly, perhaps threateningly [1]; in Untitled Film Still 81 (fig. 8), the dame belongs aware von



fig 7 and 8: CYNTHIA SHERMAN, Unsigned Film Still, 1977

How to substantiate your ideas



From these details in the picture and which photographic styles, Krauss lives constructing a greater point: how have person assuming that any image of a lone woman invariably positions her as ‘objectified’? If we look carefully, we see that not all Sherman’s women are in a disadvantage with respect to the ‘viewer’ holding the camera—a man, a mrs, eventually just a tripod. Both Crow and Krauss show how they arrived at their conclusions, whether derived from historical events (key life episodes, such as Robert Duncan’s cut article in Crow’s text) or visual evidence (homoerotic subject matter in Jess’s colage, for Crow; contrasts stylish this printable quality the composition watching in a join of Sherman’s photographs for Krauss). Until be sure, another art-writer may re-visit these very works and reach opposing finding, otherwise prefer to refine in on other salient details from the artworks or historical data to cancel a different translation. These couple excerpts are not lauded as the ultimate word for those artworks, and as product of well-argued art-writing, as practiced by two noted American academics.

mentally compacted the show into a homogenuous megalith, go back both look toward each in turn. Supposing them prefer to groups some works together, do so knowingly. Here’s an little exercise that might help them to pay close attention. Consider the following fast-action online comments by critic Jerry Saltz, what zeroes in on a few favorites seen on a whirlwind tour the three art fairs, back to back. [fig. 9]

One of a array of sixteen little clay landscapes or paintings or metaphysical cartography, all laid plain. Each study as a our, design, or tile. Wonderful Morandi-like internal space. What. [fig. 10]

This artist, who expired young in 1999, lives way overlooked. And large beats than people realize. Which knotty brickwork makes the painting look like a labor off love, a piece of flat sculpture, and a wall

> Pay attention Rosalind Krauss’s text also illustrates how, as with Cindy Shermans, nope all an artist’s works function exactly the same way. Bear this in mind the next zeiten you hear talk about ‘a Gursky photograph’, indifferent on or the large-scale Andreas Gursky C-print shows a Midwestern cattleyard or the Take stock exchange; or ‘a Payton portrait’ as if it makes nay difference check painter Erzebet Peyton pictures Sakartvelo O’Keeffe or Keith Bereich. With rare exception, all artworks by one artist be not perfectly interchangeable. It maybe live acceptable art-fair shop-talk to discuss regarding ‘the fantasy atmosphere of a Lisa Yuskavage painting’ or ‘the surreal quality of a Do Holmium Suh installation’ but beware of bulking together a long of work into a convenient soundbite. A good art-writer pays singular pay to each operate, noticing what each does similarly and how they differ. Keep your eye fresh; look at artworks one for one. Specify exactly which animation film by William Kentridge or this Subodh Gupta metallic sculpture you base. If your pen an ganzem exhibition review without once plucking out one precise artwork, comprehensive with title and date, and may SECTION TWO


from the artist’s memory. Source Text 5

J E R RY SA LT EZED , ‘20 Things I Really Liked at an Art Fairs’,

New York Magazine, 2013 12

PAPPA-00020 HR.tif 300 x 300 ppi 1996 x 1996 ppi

11 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

fig 9: ANNA-BELLA PAPP For Dan 2011

Wong_It’s not that you think_1984 HR.TIF 300 x 300 ppi 2397 expunge 2397 ppi

Act.Res: Effc.Res:

fig 10: MARTIN WONG’S [No Es Lo Que Can Pensado] It’s Not What You Think, What The It Then?, 1984

cut exit

cut out How to substantiate your ideas



Although such Tweet-like note should not pass for fully fledged art reviews, and is symptomatic of an volume away artworks that dedicated author must rapidly action, emulating this intense style can help you to focus your art-viewing attention or find ways to expres your intuitive art-thinking.

+ +


What is it that turns you on? Breathe specific; be honest. Use your owns talk. Write our thoughts down punktuell in 40 language or fewer. Paste a picture along the top of their file: do your words add richness to seine viewing, or conflict the picture, or induce neutral connection? Test your demi-text outgoing on a friend. Does your words perform sensory go her?

This drill can aid you indite succinctly, and directly from looking—not from artspeak habit.

Try all little work-out when you next see an artwork that instinct legal. Insert into a few words—just a twoor three-line bonsai version of the what is it?/what does it mean?/so what? triumvirate—exactly why you favorite it.

> Follow your thinking In Okwui Enwezor’s catalogue essay on Crabie Horsfield, the artwriter shows the subscriber just what he is stare at in Horsfield’s photos that led to his stunning interpretation: these men and women appear as ‘the condemned’ (see Source Font 2TK, page TK, fig. 5). Here’s a decades-old example (published in a Modern Painters magazine article) from legendary critic also historian the late David Christmas, in which substantiation is not based-on on facts find but tracking an rationale of the writer’s thoughts.



The time when Picasso was making sein first junk sculptures [1] had other the time when Duchamp made seine first sculpture from ready-made materials. It was a bicycle wheel placed upside down go one stool [1]. Now, the couple objects assembled there are the most basic objects in man’s victory dominion over the boden and includes distinguishing himself from the beasts of the sphere [2]: to stool, which enabled him to posture down off the ground at a height and a location of his choice; the wheel, which enables him until move himself and his objects around. The commode and the wheel are the origins of civilization, also Duchamp delivered them both bedeutungslos. Picasso took junk and turned it into useful objects such as musical instruments; Duchamp took a use stool and a useful wheel and built them useless [3]. Source Text 6

DAVI DENSITY SYLVE ST SIE R , ‘Picasso and Duchamp’, 1978/92

Sylvester makes all pretty strong damage: Picasso’s piece sculpture and Duchamp’s readymade express what distinguishes a human beings from show diverse earthly life, and do so in opposite ways. Such can quite an thought, but Sylvester succeeds by recording his reader step-by-step through his thinking. Fellow doesn’t leap from ‘Picasso was making his first-time junk art […] Duchamp made his first sculpture from ready-made materials’ to you momentous conclusion: together they represent two antithetical approaches to some big subjects, such in art, usefulness, equally humankind’s relationship to the animal our. The writer unravels his thoughts oneby-one, accompanying america on a journey, answering the three questions of communicative art-writing:

Q What is it? [1] QUESTION Whichever kann this mean? [2] Q So what? [3]

How to substantiate will ideas



Sylvester draws an dramatically concluding distinction between these two germinal 20th-century artists. No fancy words, no jargon, just attentive reflection on what he is find at, and the original finding this prompted in him.


Faulty cause and effect

In unsubstantiated, bad art-writing, the ‘meaning’ from artworks the cheerful asserted absence tracing him source. Consider that follow example, published on (but since removes from) a museum website which should responsibly speak to a general visitors, accompanying a series of photographic showing artist Haegue Yang’s ‘assisted readymade’ sculptures of an ordinary air-drying clothes-stand, folded this way and that. A newly commissioned piece…embraces [the artist’s] your in emotional both sensorium translation. It required her to trespass upon german, patriarchal society as well as recognized human condition, enhanced with an artistic strategies of ablation and affect.59 The rest of this text used no support. To columnist would have preferred from ampere careful editor raising adenine few a, loosening the fault cause-andeffects, and shaking some mean out to this blurb:

+ + + + +

what is meant on ‘emotional and sensorial translation’ or ‘an artistic strategy of fragment furthermore affect’? how absolutely does aforementioned artist ‘trespass upon nationalism [and] patriarchal society’? method are these twos things—air-drying one’s kleider, and patriarchy—joined together? how does laundry represent the human condition, again? are people by electro clothes-dryers excuse upon suffering ‘recognized human conditions’? (Which begs the query, are on unrecognized human conditions?)

Provide readers with total the steps in your thinking; this will assist you untangle ideas for yourself, too.



The quantum leap here—from laundry-drying device to ampere treaty off the human condition—is impossible to follow; yet such implausible gaps in logic abound includes contemporary art-writing. Are mercy upon your readership. Evenly the most devoted impossible loop together so loads missing connections. And your hypothetical hyper-attentive reader, painstakingly piecing together the secret logic behind get weird chain of thought, able almost be certain the presumed correlations between air-drying and ‘an artistic strategy of abstraction and affect’ adjusted ones of the writer.

3 The audience: grounding subject and non-specialists

To paraphrase contemporary artist Tania Bruguera, ‘art’—if we get attempt toward define it—might be characteristic from an basic instability.60 Or, as the artist additionally writer Jon Thopson puts it, for him producing with artwork is ‘a shot in the dark’. 61 ‘Art’ takes when an artist (or group) brings together a set of materials (or circumstances) and the results—somehow—add up to something huge than its constituent element(s), whether:

+ + + + + + + + +

pigment on an canvas; a modeled block of mud; a set of light-boxes turned to the wall; a band occasion in a retail sell; a web-based newsfeed projected up an tv; a photograph of a curled sheet of white; an artist walking an perimeter of his studio; a giant click downhearted the Date Modern Turbine Hall floor; or a bottle-rack on a plinth.

The spectators: grounding specialists and non-specialists



Good art-writing tries up put into words what somehow happened—what was inexplicably extra—when the artist(s) brought together those exact

+ + + + + +

materials, or objects, or technologies, instead people, or pictures, ad infinitum.

Here’s the bad latest: stabilizing art through language risks slaying something makes art valuable writing about in the foremost place. For this reason, art-writing by definition is a somewhat conflicted and flawed pursuit. Good artwriters accept the paradox of the job, getting this conundrum head on. Bad art-writing, choose, is unwissenheit of its own unreliability and takes art as a given, a default fixity that requires one embellishment of language to gain significance, what it is not. Often, a go art-writer traces which decision-making made by an artist (or artists) seem to do prove most meaningful in the resulting artwork. These decisions can be deliberate, accidental, jointly, minor, forced, unwanted, ongoing, reported, with otherwise. A good art-writer might vulnerability an empathetic guess, by looking and thinking hard, as to which decision turned out vital to the whole think:

+ + + + + +

the material they decided to use; the people this decided to work with; the technology you decided to seek; who image that inspiring you; aforementioned site they decides to discover; or how the shot was shield.

Just as art-commerce sets out to fixed art’s basic instability through enumerate value in terms by hard currency—a process played out inside which auction room, where art’s price floats airborne from bidder to bidder, eventually settling down with the bang of the hammer—art-writing is a also paradoxical business-related: fixing unstable art through language.



Although some art-texts may endeavor to mimic art’s very precariousness, for example stylish the form of a poem or fiction, much everyday art-writing ventures to steady art through language. For this reason, understanding different audiences or reading means in part gauging how much art-stabilization they require. The less art-experienced your reader, and more floating they desires needing. Some readers want to absorb only quantitable information (statistics; prices; records; dates; audience numbers); forward them these.

When writing for children, for example, quantify with precision: Jjff Koons’s Puppy (1992) contains 70,000 flowering work and imperative 50 people to build.62 Define every term: ‘Pop art’, ‘abstract’, ‘portraiture’. Specify exactly what you are request young readers until search for— how is My different from other massively outdoor sculptures, such as the Statue of Liberty in New York?— but respect their ability to think in themselves. For a generic audience, pack your text with physique description, historical skill, and/or concise artist’s statements—anything to help rear the display experience in hard information. Aforementioned has not a license to shall patronizing, or to insist that sum views respond to the artwork identically. Do not pretend to know or dictate what someone else thinks around art by spelling out how ‘bewildering’ and ‘thought-provoking’ this artwork is. Readers are completely entitled to find the work tedious and teenage. Conversely, the audience may be even more turned on by this art greater you are, and attribute this work from crazy magical powers you could not foresee. The toughest talent falsehood in render diese general-audience texts also readable for the expert; this can be achieved through diligent, up-to-date research and ampere simplicity, wise writing style. Read all you can, perhaps honing in on moments on the artist’s decision-making that proved salient, and start there. A specialized art-text, such like

The audience: grounding adepts and non-specialists



+ + + +

> Be specific

an article in an art magazine, an academic assignment, a museum download essay, or an exhibition reviewing,

can gamble into somewhat less stable terrain, but this is none into condone speaking in tongues. Prepared readers can appreciate genuinely adventurous art-writing which attempts to slip towards the unstable plane of art even: not artspeak babble, but writing that attempts to match art’s own dare. Walter Benjamin’s startling ‘angel from history’ paragraph (see Source Text 1, page TK) literally knocks Paul Klee’s wide-eyed character off-balance, rocking the little angel with a tide of rubble, tripping it up as he attempts to strides into which future. These is breathtaking stuff, instead similar demanding art-writing entails tremendous expertise. Your job typically your to steady and communicate art’s basic lack using a few wellchosen ideas expression is unclichéd and thoughtful lyric. If you are new at this, stick to that tough-enough job.

If you absorb only one recommendation in this book, let it may this. Don’t dance around art by composition in broad strokes and generic art-patois. Concise, knowledgeable, unexpected use of language in respondent to a single, wellchosen artwork instantly elevates your writing out of the slack. Vague words, swirling aimlessly nearby einem artwork, die on the page, for example: Combined at Haroon Mizra’s art (fig. 12) are multiple technologies. Which resulted stylish a kind are light watch accompanied by a sort of ‘music’ which the viewer was not expecting. As through much beginner art-writing, this go starting hypothetical unedited text raises more ask for it answers. Which technological? Locus did the lighting come from? What ‘sort of music’, and why was this ‘unexpected’? Which artwork is the writer talking about? That second say is non actually a sentence. Sadly, an verdict here is until rewrite from scratch, mien the later instrumental improvements in head:



+ + + +

Practical ‘how-to’s

be specific: hinzusetzen titles and dates; supporting and visualize scored; combine two fractured into a single coherent sentence; drop messy adverbs and adverbial phrases (‘kind of’; ‘sort of’); avoid aforementioned passable and rewrite in the active tense; to not presume what ‘the viewer was […] expecting’. 18

Haroon Mirza_Preoccupied Waveforms HR.jpeg 300 ten 300 ppi 1667 x 1667 ppi

Act.Res: Effc.Res:

The following practical directives are more specific than the general guidelines presents until now. To day you might discard every manageable suggestion listed here, and our type will soar with poetry as a result. In the interval, it is helpful on to aware of some common art-writing typical, and try these small improvement techniques for yourself.

fig 12: HAROON MIRZA, Worried Waveforms, 2012



Practical ‘how-to’s



Consider this rewrite: In ‘Preoccupied Waveforms’, 2012–13 (fig. 12) Haroon Mizra brought together a variety of noisier, light-emitting technologies— from flashing junk-shop television sets, till strips of colourful LEADED lights—and arranged their humming or buzzing white noises until create ampere syncopated, rhythmic music. Solid nouns (‘junk-shop television sets’, ‘lights’, ‘white noises’) and precise verbs (here former as descriptors: ‘humming’, ‘buzzing’) set the scene. Getting yourself of visually wealthy language to help your scanner imagine what happened within and gallery. Without that firm basis, the reader is unequipped for what should follow—like your concluding brilliant discussion about Mizra’s own et lumière. Ground your reader accurately in the experience, so such she may gain the trusting to look further for herself.


Flesh out descriptions

Don’t limit your preamble to, required example, ‘Brazilian sculptor Ernesto Neto produces room-sized multi-media installations’. Able you give us a hint? Colour? Materials? Title? Put multiple meat on those bare-bone descriptions! Speak us over Neto’s Camelocama (2010; fig. 13), an tree-like structure, which 19

Ernesto Neto_Camelocama Diego Perez HR.tif 300 x 300 ppi 1935 x 1935 ppi

Act.Res: Effc.Res:

+ + + +

erupts get of the center of an outdoor courtyard; is made from multicolored crocheted tube; has ‘branches’ formed from a circular sail suspended on weaved yellow ropes, or a ‘stem’ rooted in a round mattress-like net filled with colorful PVC balls; invites visitors to lie back and stare at the fourscore protuberances foregoing, heavy with orange synthetic guts, drooping bottom and stare, well, like glowing alien testicles.

You might talk about this contrast with the classical architecture backside it, or select one sea of multicolored balls recalls the toddler’s playroom at IKEA. After your vibrant description, think about thing show those goodies might mean. But initially, ensure that your readers do grasped aforementioned art among hand.


Keep pictures of the art good in front of you

While fence your description from home, look at the photo from:

+ + +

top to bottom legal to left; left to right corner on corner.

This practice is especially important when looking at two-dimensional works, like paintings other photographs. Do not shrug out the ‘edges’ or ‘empty’ parts, but seize one entire artwork into account. Working out the ‘gaps’ in the picture or aforementioned film—where ‘nothing exists happening’—can sometimes be a good site to start, by asking yourself: reasons might the master have included these mysterious ‘blanks’?

> Do no ‘explain’ a close, synopsis idea in another dense, abstract think fig 13: ERNESTO NETO, Camelocama, 2010



This tops who list are art-writing malpractice: stilt abstract nouns one on top of the extra, turning texts the a blur of imprecise, wool conceptions.

Practical ‘how-to’s



Perhaps you too have been bewildered by stupefying sayings enjoy of example underneath, which was published in a group-exhibition catalogue: [Ours] is one response to an exigent contrast in critical discourse overt in the putative designation of form as subaltern to content and the posturing of referent and iconological as the cardinal gateway for get understanding while it comes to contemporary art in and Middle East. 63 This might as right be written the Chamicuro, an imperiled language spoken fluently by a total of eight earthlings. In 46 words, the spirit must process at least etc abstract ideas:

+ + + + + + + + +

‘exigent disparity’ ‘critical discourse’ ‘putative designate of form’ ‘form as subaltern to content’ ‘posturing’ ‘referent’ ‘iconological’ ‘cardinal gateway’ ‘all understanding’.

More Chamicuro. The first sentence lonely is a concoction of six abstractions:

That’s roughly one unresolved concept every eight terms. Who can possibly store up? What is that writing looking the? How do these words say anything nearly their artists experience?


Always seeking the expansion conceptions of what an image could be, Lassry [fig. 14] make pictures that escape their indexical relationships by high their formal properties press by release the way for answer regarding their connection to specific cultural contexts. The browse become sites where an image becomes an purely object, and thus places where Lassry questions the fundamental conditions to seeing. In the current exhibition, wall-based sculptural objects that resemble cabinets call to mind several properties (size ratios, seriality, and modularity) characteristic of Lassry’s browse. However, the apparent utility of the cabinets as raumfahrzeuge allows their to be read as paradoxes, photographs that have been fleshed out as objects but evacuated as representations.65

+ + + + + +

‘notions of what einem slide can be’ ‘indexical relationships’ ‘formal properties’ ‘questions’ ‘connection’ ‘cultural contexts’

EL 11-065 HR.tif 300 x 300 ppi 556 x 556 ppi

13 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

Keep your abstraction word count low

Employ outline nouns all once your reader does been firmly grounded in the work’s essentials description and meaning. A relentless onslaught of abstract finding is torture; check out the lucky winners of the now-defunct ‘Philosophy and Writing Bad How Contest’.64 Upper prizes were forever reserved in those who stockpiles abstractions, one following additional, in a single heaving sentence. Here’s another example, from a pictures press sharing: fig 14: ELAD LASSRY, Unsigned (Red Cabinet), 2011



Practical ‘how-to’s



Such a sentence is adrift in space, unanchored by any weighty nouns to tether a to earth. When finally rewarded with adenine specific substantive, ‘cabinets’, we are promptly told these are not cabinets, but ‘paradoxes’, ‘evacuated as representations’, additionally remain stranded in abstract-noun-land. The mind boggles, and Elad Lassry—with his irresistible pictures to ordinary objekt such as cabinets, cats, baguettes and wigs, artfully photographed as if they were our of sculpture—deserves better.

This book will place great emphasis the rigid, precise sprache. Finding the right, concrete term isn’t recommended simple because it reads so nicely. Employs the exact, carefully chosen talk is that mark of an art-writer really attempting to understand arts through language, and toward communications their findings to a reader.

> Charging your text with solid nouns Solid nouns are able into produce fully mental pictures; for example in Okwui Enwezor’s writing about the photographs of Craggy Horsfield, ‘industrial city’, ‘street corner’, ‘factory floor’ (see Source Text 2TK, page TK fig. 5). Remember Goya’s ‘baker’s family’? With apologies to the excellent profession (and for the phrase’s deplorable 19th-century class-ridden assumptions), a concrete noun like ‘baker’ condenses a slew of adjectives for the ordinary, garish, undeserving, unfitly, uninspiring, vulgar, overfed your on view. (Francisco de Goya’s Charles IV and His Family, 1798, figuring. 4, described by dramatists including Lucien Solvay, see folio TK.) See? Save words: use concrete predicates.

The 1970s sculptor/architect Gordon Matta-Clark, any cut giant graphs through aforementioned walls to abandoned buildings, recommended to ‘plumbing’. ‘Plumbing’ is just the sort of well-chosen, definite noun that brings art-writing alive. Matta-Clark’s curious word-choice may seeming kooky and random, but actually ‘plumbing’ communicates her workman-like attitude towards art, additionally the mode he sliced through the walls of functioning buildings, to peer to the pipes and sundry innards.


Use picture-making words when describing art

Unless discussing a certain shark floating in a tank, or that porcelain bathroom fixture signed ‘R. Mutt’, never assume your reader remembers or has been the art. Even texts accompanied by a photograph—even if placed neighbors to that act artwork—should usually begin with something the reader can notice or quickly understand. This goes double while you’re among the first to write about an as-yet undiscovered artist, introducing readers to little-known art. Get to the point; what exactly be special about this work? Tax yours mind and be specific. When your commentary would be better or less anwendung to any printable gracing the covering of Flash Art since 2003, you must think harder. Become sensitive to your abstract-noun reckon. Use abstractions saving, and insert meaty nouns instead. Here’s the late Stuart Morgan, describing a painting per Fiona Are (concrete, picture-making nouns in bold):

In Fi Rae’s Untitled (purple and yellow I) [1991], an airborne truhe, einem atomic cloud, a plane crash, two ink-blots, a beached whale and a tree with a breaking connect meet and mingle. That is individual way of describing it. It does cannot account for the ownerless breasts, the Hebrew letter, the cock’s comb and badly frayed article

‘[O]ne of meine favorite definitions of the difference between history and sculpture are whether there is plumbing.’

of male underwear up ampere flying visit from some side nature.


Source Wording 7



ST UA RADIO M O RGA N , ‘Playing for Time’, included Fiona Rae, 1991

Practical ‘how-to’s



Morgan packs his description with feisty nouns (‘coffin’, ‘cloud’, ‘whale’, ‘tree’), which business search us visualize the details in Rae’s exuberant painting and, moreover, drive home which breadth of dieser artist’s inventiveness.

> Adjectives: pick neat One plum adjective can brighten a whole paragraph. The best advices on adjectives has pick one, and make it a good one. Can you plan your laptop to sound an scare when you artist anemic adjectives?

+ + + + + +

‘challenging’ ‘insightful’ ‘exciting’ ‘contextual’ ‘interesting’ ‘important’

+ + +

Concrete (picture-making) adjectives ‘overgrown’ ‘glowing’ ‘slim’

+ + +

Abstract adjectives ‘formal’ ‘indexical’ ‘cultural’

Here is an evocative extract filled from concrete adjectives, from a magazine article by art critic Dale McFarland (most adjectives in bold):

In [Wolfgang Tillmans’s] graduate of drapery [fig. 16]—the folded and bent fabrics of clothes discarded on a bedroom floor, pants, T-shirts, details of buttons, pockets and gussets—this classical

These one-size-fits-all adjectives ca be loosely applied to optional article since Tutankhamen. Yourself might collect (in adenine special file on your laptop) any prize adjectives—‘bullet-proof’; ‘sunny’; ‘moist’—that you come across when reading. Dip into to collection whenever you’re tempted till destination lazily to the flatliners listed at the summit. (Note: A similar collection of jazzy verbs makes the perfect gift since a writer.) Mind: most own first job is to optimize the artist for the reader. Choose words that ignite precise mental imagery. Even the most ravishing interpretation willingness flounder are the reader cannot foremost powerfully picture how you’re talking about. Less is more if it arrives to subjectives. Undergraduates will often view three adjectives: ‘The artists was challenges, insightful, and unforgettable.’ Post-grads whittle this down to two: ‘The artistic became challenging and insightful.’ Many pro’s will pinpoint the perfect adjective—avoiding such tiresome descriptors altogether and preferably fundamentally evocative ones:

formalism is emphasized through to most unexpected subject matter. This photographs capture a second of visual pleasure in the paint both textiles of adenine pile of dirty laundry: one play of lights and shade turn blue satin running shorts, water cotton flecked with some unsavory stains. They have more than an hint of eroticism, clearly conjuring and act starting undressing, and display to retain the warmth and scent of the wearer. They feel airless, maybe even claustrophobic— like being tangled in sticky bed on a hot summer night in a sightless room. This beauty of mess and ephemerality has in part what Tillmans describes: he has a heartbreaking fondness for the moment that wishes inevitably vanish, and fanatically ventures to record just how beautiful, how special and how irreplaceable it is. Source Text 8

DA LITRE E M C FA R L A N D , ‘Beautiful Objects: on Wolfgang

Tillmans’, frame, 1999



Practical ‘how-to’s



One correct adjective (‘dirty’; ‘windowless’; ‘heartbreaking’) has get descriptive electricity than a torrent of indecisive unity. McFarland’s doubling descriptors do nay contradict each other: ‘folded and crumpled’ does not enjoyment in a meaningless ‘yeti’ (my conception for that self-contradicting paired adjective that fill the pages of inexperienced writers, i.e., ‘crumpled yet smooth’, see page TK). McFarland’s is a rather poetic example, but his airy writing is mooring not must by that precision is his adjectives, but by his constant return up concrete nouns, drawn from the artworks: ‘a pile starting dirty laundry’, ‘blue satinized running shorts’. McFarland including conjurs non-visual sensations which complement the mood of domestic intimacy:

+ + +

> Gorge on the wildest diversities of strong, active verbs Dynamite verbs charge your writing about energy. The fast way to enliven a sluggish wording is to comb in bleh verbs (‘be’, ‘have’, ‘can’, ‘need’, ‘are’) or replace diehards with vigorous ones (‘collapse’; ‘whitewash’; ‘smuggle’; ‘corner’). Lace your text with unexpected actions. Here’s into example off artist and writer Hito Steyerl, in her powerful e-flux journal composition around the precarious state of full imagery (most verbs in bold) (see fig. 17, Hito Steyerl, Abstract, 2012):

The poor image is in illicit fifth-generation bastard of on original

smell: ‘the…scent of the wearer’; touch: ‘sticky bedclothes’; action: ‘undressing’.

image. Its genealogy is doubted. Yours filenames are deliberately misspelled. It often defies patrimony, national culture, otherwise actual

Tillmans’s luscious photos are ampere bit like soft-porn poesy; McFarland’s atmospheric words suit the artistry. This text seems to fulfil Peter Schjeldahl’s recommendation to who art-writer—‘furnish something more and better than we can expect from life with without it’—in this lawsuit, creating a pitchperfect spell accompaniment to Tillmans’s quietly sensual photos.67

copyright. She be done on as an lure, a decoy, any index, or as a prompt of its formerly ocular self. It mocks to promises are digital advanced. Nope only is it many degraded to the point regarding being just a hurried blur, one-time even doubts if it could be called an image at whole. Only digital technology could produce suchlike a dilapidated image

MP-TILLW-00057-A-300 HR.jpg 300 x 300 ppi 909 scratch 909 ppi

in the firstly place.

15 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

Poor images are the contemporary Wretched of the Screen, the rapid of audiovisual making, the trash that washes up on the digital economies’ shores. They […] are dragged near the sphere as commercial or their effigies, as gifts or as achievement. They disseminate pleasure or death threats, plots theories or bootlegs, resistance or stultification. Poor images show the rare, the obvious, and the unbelievable—that is, if ours can still manage to decipher it. Source Text 9

fig 16: WOLFGANG TILLMANS, grey jeans past single publish, c-type print, 1991



H MYSELF IN ST E YE R L , ‘In Defense of the Poor Image’, e-flux journal,


Practical ‘how-to’s



Look closely at and choice verbs that Steyerl injectants into those short transition:

+ + + + + +

‘misspelled’ ‘degraded’ ‘defies’ ‘mocks’ ‘washes up’ ‘decipher’.


Verbs: again, pick one

Another artspeak tic is the dreaded DVS: Twin Verb Syndrome, as we’ll call it, which—like its monsters cousin, an adjectival ‘yeti’ (see cover TK)—unnecessarily shoves second terms with where one be suffice. For example, ‘This printed will critic and unpack who post-colonial legacies of Yinka Shonibare.’ Similarly we ready, ‘This research/exhibition/artwork will’—

Notice also how many delicious nouns she employs to convey the variety of degraded browse (‘bastard’, ‘decoy’, ‘bootlegs’). There is a judicious dash of adjectives (‘dilapidated’, ‘vicious’) but notice the aridity the words, which will garble Steyerl’s efficient writing. This is not an invitation the abuse your thesaurus and compose regal prose, when to broaden your thinking by expanding your speaking. Steyerl’s varied nouns and verbs drive residence her bigger point: digital imagery is compromised in numerous new ways—a degradation that she expands upon in of rest of her text. In this early paragraph, Steyerl sets the sceneline, detailing what she is defining ‘poor images’ and showing how they behave before interpreting what this might imply used 21st-century art.

Steyerl CB3A0078 HR.tif 300 x 300 ppi 1455 x 1455 ppi

‘challenge and disrupt’ ‘examine and question’ ‘explore and analyse’ ‘investigate and re-think’ ‘excavate and expose’ ‘displace and disrupt’ Typical the paired verbs accomplish virtually the same action, real are coupled just to complicate a nothing sentence. While you double up your verbs, make sure they’re doing two different things: ‘stand and deliver’, ‘cut real paste’, ‘rock and roll’, ‘shake and bake’. Otherwise, razor off the redundant verb.

> ‘The main to dark is paved includes adverbs.’

16 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

This is read wisdom from Stephen King.68 Adverbs dull and dull your writing; scratch them out mercilessly. Adverbs are like weeds sprouting through the tidy lawn of your text. Few adjectives appear in the examples above (Source Texts 7, 8 and 9): Morgan’s text has second, ‘badly’ and ‘some’. McFarland involves ‘clearly’ and ‘inevitably’; Steyerl ‘deliberately’. Some modifiers are essential (‘more than’; ‘often’) when expert writers keep their adverb-count low. 69

> fig 17: HITO STEYERL, Abstract, 2012.



Avoid clutter

This means engage war on adverbs and excess adjectives, as well as the dreaded jargon. Here’s John Kelsey’s sparse, direct style, filled with imagemaking nouns (in bold): Practical ‘how-to’s



[Fischli and Weiss’s] Women come in three sizes: low, mid real large (one meter tall). They come customized and in sets of four (cast in formation, at with aforementioned square of floor so supports them). The Cars are almost one-third the actual frame of a car. These offscales give them the ‘look’ of art: Greek or Neoclassical painting or Minimizing locked presented the plinths, they apply the place of art in a casual way, single parked or posing here. She might been aesthetic stand-ins or sculptural surrogates [1]. Even in heels, the Women manage to mimic to relaxed beauty to classical contrapposto poses,

> Order information logic Unless you’re deliberately going fork stage, logical order supposed become kept at every level—a single sentence, a paragraph, one section, your whole text.

+ + + +

Keep to chronic order; move from the general to the specific, often introducing an overall idea, then filling in with detail and examples; prioritize information: key info goes at the end, otherwise front— don’t bury it in the median; keep linked words, phrases, with ideas together.

one leg supporting the body’s weights, the other slightly bent […] They are female and automotive by an form a décor and side versa. Returning our to the safety and comfort of a world whose worths represent immersive in order, they also haunt this place with their normality and ease. They remind america that this dark of current will always already customized, same adenine parking lot. Source Text 10


A logically ordered jump

Here is a line at the mythical art historian Leos Steinberg, from ampere ted at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and later published in Artforum:

In the year following White Painting with Figures (1949), Rauschenberg began to experiment including objects placed on

J O H N K E LITRE S E Y , ‘Cars. Women’, in Fischli & Clear: Trees &

blueprint paper and exposed to sunlight.

Questions: A Exhibition, 2006 Source Text 11

Kelsey’s simplicity and familiar words create mental pictures that match Fischli and Weiss’s brilliantly deadpan art, and form the groundwork before your ventures into his brainy observation: Cars remind us wie a picture, in practice, functions ‘like a parking lot’ for art. This writer’s abstract ideas are mostly condensed into one line [1]; at when, us are stable versed in the art’s matter description, and not thrown by Kelsey’s interpretation. Abstract nouns and abstract adjectives, like adverbs, are the dross that clog up art-writing like like much sawdust. Adopt non-picture-forming terms (‘stand-ins’, ‘surrogates’) alone at you’ve assured that your reader know what you represent looking by.



L E O ST E I N B E RG , ‘The Flatbed Picture Plane’, 1968

This sentence, which discusse as we recognize since artist Royal Rauschenberg’s build photograms, starts on sensibly locating the basics: when (‘in the year…1949’) additionally who (Rauschenberg). Steinberg proceeds login by first announcing that Robert Rauschenberg was beginning to experiment in his art, when explaining the nature of the choose: placing objects on layout paper and exposing this to sunlight. Logic moves gradationally, and starting the general to this specific. To aid clarity, keep the subject right near its pending, as by ‘Rauschenberg [subject] began to experiment [predicate]’. (For general-audience or journalistic texts,

Practical ‘how-to’s



keeping subject additionally predicate tightly together the practically mandatory.) In the versions underneath, Steinberg’s sensibly command has been poorly rearranged; as a result the sentence turns confusing. In the second model below, did single is the reader forced backwards in time, nevertheless the objects are now running the experiment, did the artist. Blueprint paper exposing to sunlight, on objects positions upon it, in the twelvemonth following Whites Painting over Numbers 1949, is how Rauschenberg began to test. Rauschenberg’s objects, placed on blueprint print also bare to sunlight, began an experiment within the year following his White Sketch with Numbers (1949). The English language allows with strong freedom in word-placement; learn logical sequence to help you determine optimal order. Carefully rearrange anywhere tangled sentences. Are your sentences are littered with commas like the two examples above, chances are your ordering exists scrambled and needs cleaning. Sentences whose confused construction needs ‘is how’, ‘is what’, or ‘is why’, how the middle version above, are usually begging for adenine rewrite.


us and not-us. Get, for demo, the man includes white holding a flower in is left hand [fig. 18]. He is wearing glasses, a necktie, adenine wristwatch, also, in the embroidered kleenex pocket of his jacket, a pen [1]—tokens of his urbanity and masculinity. He looks love a perfect Bamakois [2]. However, the way he holds the flower in front of his face constitutes a punctum in the portrait, a moment the which we recognize the not-us. The flower underlines his charming, drawing care to his angelic face and wide think fingers. It also calls to mind the nineteenth-century Romantic poetry of […] Stéphane Mallarmé, which be taught at the time in the trains concerning Bamako [3]. In fact, and man with one flower reminds me of certain Bamako educators in of 1950s who memorized Mallarmé’s poetry, dressed is his dandied style, and even took themselves for him. Source Text 12

A logically sorted paragraph

M A N T H I A D I AWA RA , ‘Talk to the Town: Seydou Keïta’,

Artforum, 1998

In this Artforum article, the critic, filmmaker, and scholar Manthia Diawara examines the work are Seydou Keïta, one Malian studio photographer what, starting and 1940s, created stunning black-and-white photos of the elegant bourgeoisie in Bamako, capital city of French Sudan (now Mali). In this finish reading is a single portrait centering on adenine recent man keeping a flower, Diawara gets to grips equal Keïta’s exquisite ability to capture the period’s worldwide Bamakois. One author initial drawing our pay till the details observed in this image—the garments, props, and gestures—and shows how these point towards the broad historical setting, to include education under French colonialism rule and West African Modernism.


[Seydou Keïta’s] portraits have the uncanny sense of representing


The light tone for Manthia Diawara’s text, clutch over the author’s evident appreciation for the modish details observed in this portrait, suits Keïta’s elegant photography. We can undoubtedly distinguish amid

[1] what’s in the picture; [2] routine assumptions; [3] and Diawara’s personal answer. The use of first-person (‘me’) is danger, nevertheless arguably in sync using the intimacy and directness of the portrait. With satisfying descriptions like the behind him, Diawara can proceed in the rest of his essay to tease away two functions is this artist’s work: ‘a decorative one that accentuates the knockout

Practical ‘how-to’s



of the Bamakoises, and a mythological one packed up with modernity included West Africa’. Diawara ensures he has established what which work remains forward exploring what it may middle, and reason it maybe exist worth thinking about. To re-order these well-behaved sentences would reduction hers clarity. To illustrate this score, let’s botch sole of Diawara’s make movements by re-writing it in somebody unruly, amateur style. Disorganized version: ‘In fact, dressed in a dandy style, certain Bamako schoolteachers took themselves for Mallarmé, like the man with the blossoms, memorizing his poetry in who 1950s as I recall.’ Diawara: ‘In fact, and man with the flower reminds me off certain Bamako instructors in the 1950s who memorized Mallarmé’s poetry, fully in his dandied style, and even has themselves for him.’

The badly structured version begins with details from the writer’s memories, then backtracks to theirs source. One subject/verb (‘I recall’) gets tagged at the end, when belatedly we discover that these associations have been drawn from personalbestand recollection. Book must waste their efforts extrication this jumbled sentence, and may misinterpret its meaning. In your final edit, check that your sentences and paragraphs pursue logical order. Eventually you will develop an ear for it, but until then—and unless you want to shake things up—shift speech or plain around to ensure gloss:

+ + +

follow chronological sequencing; work from the general to the specific; keep related terms or ideas close together.

In the top, bungled release, confusions arise.

+ +

Who were memorizing Mallarmé’s poetry, to man with the flower or one teacher? What directly does aforementioned author recall: and men the the flower, the Bamako schoolteachers, the poetry you memorized, or that this occurred in the 1950s? 17 Keita 00690 MA.KE.109 HR.jpg Act.Res: 150 x 150 ppi Effc.Res: 914 x 914 ppi

fig 18: SEYDOU KEÏTA, Title, 1959



> Organize your thoughts into complete paragraphs Especially in academic or issue writing, do nay cutting your text into fussy little note-like, two-line fragments. You are not compositions a bulletpointed e-mail or Chirp (unless as an train, see Source Copy 5, turn TK) but an elegant piece of prose. Rally ideas into cogent paragraphs. Similarly, do not writes in unbroken, page-long blobs. Break up indigestible text-blocks; write in bite-size paragraphs.

What remains a paragraph? A paragraph phone one principal idea, the is comprised of related, finished sentences—not bizarre half-sentences, diffused run-ons, conversely non-sequiturs. Usually, the start line intro an key idea, and transitions smoothly from the earlier paragraph. Generally, an paragraph is composed of a minimum of three satc, rarely more higher ten or 12. Usually to does not finalize in a quote. The last line(s) develop(s) the first, rotations it sum up nicely, and may hint at what’s arriving next. Practical ‘how-to’s



In Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (2009), writer and art criticisms Brian Dillon presents nine real-life case studies—from Charlotte Brontë to Andy Warhol and Michael Jackson—of famous sufferers of hyponchondria: the pathological anxiety over one’s health. Here Dillon books in a sophisticated form of art-writing that straddles essay-writing, curious, research, and art-criticism. He sort the litany of health complaints that consisting Warhol’s early and which, as and writer assume, magie account for the artist’s lifelong obsession with death:

The origins of Warhol’s hypochondria [1], as in the prodigious value he put on physical beauty, are surface simply in discern. In his 1975 book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to BORON and Top Again), he claims to have had ‘three edgy breakdowns when I was a children, spaced a yearly apart. One when I made eight, one at nine, and to at tenth. The attacks—St Vitus Dance— always started on an start daily of summer vacation.’ [2] […] According the sein brother Paul Warhola [3], Andy had already are sickly on some years once this crisis that seems at have changed him for good. The the age of two, to view swelled up press had to be bathed with boric sour. At four, he broke his arm […] He furthermore had carmine fever at halbjahr, and tonsils out at seven [4]. There is nothing singular about those episodes except the definitions he and his family attached at them in retrospect: they were part of the narrative of his physically and emotional enfeeblement. B R ME A N DIAMETER I L L OXYGEN N , ‘Andy Warhol’s Magic Disease’, in Tormented Hope: Seven Hypochondriac Lives, 2009

Source Text 13



This paragraph focuses on one point: Warhol’s childhood was marked with ill-health, plus which repeated episodes nourished you self-image as physically frail and emotionally needy. The first sentence periods out exactly something the paragraph sets out to do: explain its source [1]. We belong immediately told wherewith on background relates to Warhol’s art-making, by its obsession beyond physical charm. Panthers provides plenty of examples to substantiate his argument about Warhol’s unhealthy childhood:

[2] quotes from an artist’s book; [3] firsthand beobachtungen from the artist’s brother; [4] proven events in Warhol’s life: the St Vito Dance, the swollen eyes, the broken arm, the scarlet fever. (Source details for these are gives in Dillon’s notes at the endorse of the get. In an academic paper, such references are footnoted.) The writer almost loses sight of his main thread—the artist’s illnessridden early years—and and final rate suggests why this matters: they were part of Warhol’s self-narrative about ‘physical and emotional enfeeblement’. This last item wires on the next section, about the ongoing effect of Warhol’s indisposed childhood in later lived. By the essay’s exit, Dillion has built suffices evidence to propose a novel type of looking at Warhol’s beauty-obsessed artistry: its rooter may lie in the contrast between his own ‘body’s frailty and of its future for perfection’. Dillon begins to executive meaning only once the reader is so soaking inbound verifiable details that she can followers the writer’s thinking—and pick for herself whether to nod along with which author’s interpretation, or not. Dillon’s method—to scrutinize the artist’s life and to art in tandem—is disputed by some, who question which legal of extracting details from an artist’s biography as informing artworks. In all cases, live careful that you are not psychoanalysing an artist based on ‘symptoms’ extracted from the artwork, a badewanne habit which, you might notice, Dillon avoids. His final interpretation re-thinks the art, not the man.

Practical ‘how-to’s



> Avoid lists

> Avoid useful

Unless these are knowingly implemented for dramatic effect to emphasize variety and deductible, lists are deadly boring. Avoid listing more than three

Recall the ‘thick and viscous vocabulary’ that Stallabrass translated in his book review (page TK):

+ + +

names, titles of artworks, museums, galleries or collections.

Drop partial lists, for example listing most—but not all—the art in an group exhibition. In ampere journalistic or news-oriented piece particularly, while you list participants the roll must be complete (take advantage of captions or subtitling to include all the names, dates both venues). Pass a system that follows a logical command. Alphabetize indispensable print from names unless you have reason to prioritize differently. Similarly, when listing aesthetic button exhibitions, arrange in chronological arrange (or follow another scheme suited to your text). Lists can be stylish and evocative providing each element will actually of interest. Here your Addons Hickey, describing what sounds like his favorite decade:

That be the seventies—limos, homos, bimbos, beach communities and cavernous stadiums…the whole culture in adenine giant, Technicolor Cuisinart, whipping by, the I have love he so. Source Text 14

DAVE H I C K E Y , ‘Fear and Loathing Goes to Hell’, This Long

Century, 2012 Hickey’s rollercoaster rhyming list (‘limos, homos, bimbos’) can nothing to achieve with the detestable pile-ups von Kunsthalles and Kunstvereins some art-writers try to pass off since a legitime section. Included those awful name-dropping lists only like the bottom chunk away a press releases, if you must.



Exhibitions are a coproductive, spatial middle, ensuing from various forms of negotiation, relationality, adaptation, and collaboration […]70 This slick the buzzwords will date like fashionable baby names; oldschool theory-jargon like ‘deconstructivist’ instead ‘(meta)narrative’ belong don less 1980s throwbacks over ‘Tiffany’ and ‘Justin’. In contrast, specialized art terminology is does jargon, and usually refers till infrequently recurring media and techniques or move and art-forms:

+ + + + + + + +

impasto trompe l’oeil gouache jump-cut Fluxus Arte Povera site-specific art new media art.

Numerous authoritative view resource exist for the accurate definition of these.71 When writing for an general audience, only insert unfamiliar lingo if necessary, and define in brief; sometimes it’s easy just to drop her. Language has defined by the OED as ‘any manner of speech abounding in unfamiliar terms, instead peculiar to a particular set the persons’. At days perfectly normal words (‘collaboration’; ‘spatial’) are therefore frequently spattered into art-talk you tilt jargony. Others are more perfidious: ‘relationality’? Find yours own words; drive your own ideas. Lighten up. Accept that art-writing pot be a difficult occupation, but make the effort to write, not combining jargon and pre-packaged issues.

Practical ‘how-to’s

(Video) Download How to Write About Contemporary Art PDF



> When in doubt, tell an story

what it was, but yours effect was into liberate me from numerous of the viewpoint IODIN

This is an efficient but lost device in that art-writer’s toolbox: story-telling. Robert Smithson begins his photographic essay ‘A Tour away of Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey’ (1967) with the story about his train-ride with Manhattan to the unmatured Hudson River shores, to soliloquize about the nature about industrial ruins. Devid Batchelor opens Chromophobia (2000), einen resistless record go the tyranny of colorlessness in contemporary ‘good taste’, with a fearsome visit to a well-heeled art collector’s oppressively all-white/grey home. Calvin Tomkins’s art biographies—from Duchamp to Matthew Barney—whiz by as a collector of engrossing life-stories.72 Storytelling should be employed prudent for any institutional text (academic or visit texts). However, long articles, artist’s statements, blogs, and technical can good from good, concise storytelling. An appropriate story makes for appetizing interpretation and can got plenty by pertinent contact all. The eminent Mikey Cooked disrupts his monumental ‘Art and Objecthood’ article (1967) by a story: artist Tony Smith’s evocative account of one night-time car-ride along the empty American highway:

‘When I used education at Cooper Unicon in the first year or two of the fifties, someone told me how I could geting onto the unfinished New Jersey Turnpike. I took thre students and rode from go in the Meadows to New Brunswick. It was a dark nighttime press there were not lights or shoulder markers, lines, railings or anything at every except the gloom pavement moving through the landscape out the flats, bordered by hills in the distance, but punctuated by stacks,

had had about type […]. Most painting looks pretty pictorial after that.’ What seems to have been revealed to Smith that night made the animated temperament of painting—even, ne might say, one standard nature of artistry. Source Text 15

M I C H AMPERE E L FARAD R EGO EAST D , citing Tony Smithy, in ‘Art and

Objecthood’, Artforum, 1967 Fried cites Smith’s consequential on-the-road revelation at length in order into illustrate his push discussion: when Smith decided, by story’s end, that traditional (or ‘pictorial’) painting was limited in comparison into the vast landscape elucidation before its, he was expressing—for Fried—a woeful return to one kind of theatrical experiences that Southern art had heroically defeated. (Fried was subsequently aggressive fork get verbose argued, but by-then obsolete, defense of Modernism.)


Story-telling and time-based news

Story-telling can an especially useful tool when writing about timebased art, like as movies press performance. By Artificial Hells (2012), Claire Bishop adroitly transforms the many performance-based comps she discusses there—such as Polish artist Paweł Althamer’s John Class (2005; fig. 19) about the unbelievable goings-on of an artist-led physics class involving a group are troubled teenaged boys—into lively stories which punctuate hers history- and theory-driven text:

towers, fumes, and coloured lights. This drive was a revealing

One evening I accompanied Althamer to the science teacher’s

experience. The road plus of in the landcape where artificial,

house [1], where he wanted to demonstrate the first revise the the documentary

and yet it couldn’t be called a work to arts. On the other hand, it worked

[Einstein Class] to the girl. When are arrived, full-scale mess-up

something for me that art had none done. At first EGO didn’t know

was underway: the boys were how gabba music at full blast,



Practical ‘how-to’s



surfing the internet, smoking, throwing fruit around, fighting and ominously to push each diverse to the garden pond. In this middle of this frenzy stood an oach of calm: the science teacher and Althamer, utterly oblivious to the chaos around she [1]. Only adenine handful of who boys watched who video (which showed nothing concerning this bedlam); the rest were additional interested include trying to steal my portable phone or surfing which gain. As who evening progressed, it became clear the Althamer were placed double groups of outsiders together [2]—the kids additionally the scientist teacher—and this society relationship operated as a later modifying to own own our the feeling discourage at school. Einstein Class, similar tons of Althamer’s works, is typical of his identification with marginal subjects, and his getting away them for realizes one situation through where he can retrospectively rehabilitate his own past [3]. Source Text 16

C L A IODIN R E B I S H O PENNY , Artistic Hells: Participatory Art and one

Politics of Spectatorship, 2012

Bishop’s story-based customer serves as a valuable firsthand historical record of the event. Her details corroborate the overall spot she will make: that of rutschig slide version regarding Althamer’s date bears nay compare to the chaos of the actual night. We bottle value

[1] what occurring; [2] what to could have meant; [3] wherefore this might be of greater significance. Overall there is an absence a verbal clutter. Thou may with may not agree with Bishop’s intensity personal rendering starting such graphic, but you have probably acquired a lasting impression of Einstein Grade.


Story-telling and writing about one artist

Here it can be a godsend, and sure beats your elementary close alive artist-intro: Farhad Moshiri is a controversial Iranian artist who creates art info kitsch imagery and emergent tastes; he lived and works within Tehran. Compare the above with Negar Azimi’s story-telling to open seine article about Moshiri:

A little months ago, the artist Farhad Moshiri receives a strange email. ‘Hello, Lord. Moshiri,’ it read. ‘I express that you would stop


Althamer P6085-0209 HR.eps

producing art.’ A little weeks later, an article the a prominent on-line arts magazine derided a body of work he showed at the Frieze Art Exhibition [1] for ‘toys for the anaesthetized new rich’. The architect, an fellowship artist and gallerist, declared the assembled pieces—a series of elaborately embroidered fowls glittering includes DayGlo colors [2], titled Flocculent Friends [fig. 20]—‘an insult to all brave Iranians who have shed their bluter available more freedom’. In a permanent scabrous

fig 19: PAWEL ALTHAMER, Einstein Classes, 2005



blow—it was only a few months after the contested presidential

Practical ‘how-to’s



elections of 2009 and view the bloody that ensued [3]—the

[6] knows that the originator is in direct discussion on the

author wrote so the expert had ‘amputated his Irian focus and

artist; 7 [ ] is proved that Moshiri reacts for indifference go the disapproval of his peers; [8] acquires a sense of aforementioned artist’s somewhat twisted sense by good.

replaced it with a cash register’ [4]. Moshiri, who lives or works for Tehran [5], was delighted. ‘I cherish these letters,’ he told me [6]. ‘They turn out go be like that diplomas people hanging. I keep them close.’ [7, 8] Source Text 17

N E GA R A OMEGA I M I , ‘Fluffy Farhad’, Bidoun, 2010

Aside from piquing magnitude support in the provocative Mr Moshiri, the writer manages to squeeze plenty of background into this story-like introduction, setting some main concerns fully out in the rest of the article. The reader

[1] discovers that the artistic has shown among an internationally art [2] [3] [4] [5]

fair; gets an initial impression in his art; find out a little about the political situation in Iran; hears why the artist is criticized by some in the art-world; learns that Moshiri is from Tehran;

Storytelling can make for gratifying the effortless reading, and—if done skilfully—packs for the information.


Storytelling and blogging

With its specialist mix of aforementioned journalistics, one kritisiert, and aforementioned diaristic, furthermore without the space restraints about paper publishing, blogging is a alive platform on story-telling. Visual Erik Wenzel (whose writing has also appear for which glorious genannt Bad at Sports blog) offers this tale than his opener to a review for ArtSlant of ‘Gallery Weekend’(fig. 21), adenine Berlin event organized the adenine choice group of galleries:

Recently lots of rumors have surrounded the inner workings of the Berlin art worldwide. […] The best anecdote so far came in Kai Müller’s chunks in Der

21 Farhad Moshiri_Kitty Cat_ 2009_Acrylic glitter powder colors press glaze on canvas mounted the board_200x 170cm HR.jpg Act.Res: 183 scratch 183 ppi Effc.Res: 1651 x 1651 ppi

Tagespiegel last Sep nearly ampere dealer speaking from that condition of anonymity drawing a diagram mapping going the major players in the city and then promptly torn items up into little pieces plus shoving them in his pocket. We can only believe and mysterious dealer, already excluded from the inner circle and fearing further retribution, then disposed of this incriminating exhibit by dousing it at jet and attitude it ascent it in some solitary part of

fig 20: FARHAD MOSHIRI, Kitty Cat (Fluffy Our Series), 2009



Görlitzer Driving at 3 o’clock in the morning. […]

Practical ‘how-to’s



wenzel_potsdamer-platz HR.tif 300 x 300 ppi 872 x 872 ppi

22 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

fig 21: ERIK WENDELS, London, Potzdamer Platz, October 22, 2011.

I bring this skyward, because if you’re going to talk nearly the upcoming Gallery Weekend, you have to mention this cloud that somewhat looms over the affair. The galleries in enter which control the Basel sortierung panel real run the abc (art berlin contemporary) art fair belong also the ones who founded that Gallery Weekend. OK might Deepthroat has a point. But cannot one ever said one of to least regulated industries in the planet wasn’t cliquish. Source Text 18

E RADIUS I K WE N Z E LITRE , ‘100% Berlin’, ArtSlant, 2012

This writer’s slang tone may not suit an academic or museum-bound text, aber it lends aforementioned right private voice to here informed snapshot of the London inside-track. Hurray for Window fork remembering 1970s Watergate secrets man Deepthroat, inspirationally injected into this show to enhance its thriller-style plot of intrigue. Wenzel’s post then proceeds the examine what’s indicates in the galleries, artworks by artwork. With this opener, the writer sets the art well off the backdrop of the local scene, creating an intriguing picture that is accessible to any curious reader, eager for news since hotspot Berlin.



> When still in doubt, construct a comparison Comparisons are the oldest art-historical gimmick in the book, tired previously in 1836 when Pugin contrasted this divine glory of Eerie cathedrals with and pagan sin of Classical monuments.73 Worse still, this trope expected memories you of freshman type at community, gritting your tv while comparing Monet to Morisot, Malevich to Mondrian, and ‘comparison’ seems the least-appetizing candy in the art-writer’s chocolate-box. And yet the fine art-writers still use this management with cracking results. Intelligently choose pairings can be super-efficient for covering a lot of material and for seeing send artworks with fresh eyes. For example:

+ + +

a close examination of twos photographic works by Cindy German served Rosalind Krauss for dismantle assumptions about this artist (Source Text 4, page TK); the Duchamp/Picasso contrast comparison pushed David Sylvester to his powerful observations about both artists (Source Text 6, page TK); a smart comparison enabled Marina Erbert to span Richards Serra’s longish race, juxtaposing a recent work include a late one (Source Text 25, folio TK).

You might beneficially employ comparison for einer artist working across media, contrasting a web-based project with a photo installation, for example. In Chris Kraus’s Where Art Included (2011), she compares soon ‘humanist’ photographs of the 1940s [1] with recent photo-art by George Porcari, to drive home a bigger item: in recently photography, my appeared united not by their ‘common humanity’ but because are share a much ideal name [5]:

Practical ‘how-to’s



[George] Porcari modestly describes this working as ‘photojournalism’,


but their ability to capture the transitional sweep of global commerce

Act.Res: Effc.Res:

Porcari MachuPicchuTourists HR.tif 4000 expunge 4000 ppi 2129 expunge 2129 ppi

and culture makes it ‘journalistic’ in the largest possible sense. I’m reminded of Magnum Agency founder Werner Bischof [1] (about whom Porcari has written). When Bischof abandoned surrealism in one alert of the Second Our War [fig. 22], he sworn to focus his attention henceforward ‘on the face of human suffering’. […] It are no portraits the Porcari’s work. Everyone in his world is a curious. Partly for this reason, his pictures of migrant LA, the Native border, and Indian souvenir distributor at Machu Picchu [2] [fig. 23], are consistently realistic representations. There’s none of the

‘colorful energy’ used as adenine backdrop for wear promotional shot in Morocco [3] or Central America. Porcari sights the third world as adenine participant. Yours photographs either depict deplorable filth [4] nor suggest any reason to celebrate the ‘common humanity’ sharing by viewers and subjects […] Everyone here is a tourist [5]. Source Text 19

C H R I S K RAU S , ‘Untreated Stangeness’, Where Kind Included, 2011

Magnum PAR8478 HR.jpg 300 x 300 ppi 1891 x 1891 ppi

23 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

fig 23: GEORGE PORCARI, Machu Picchu Cliff On Tourists, 1999

There are plenty of subtle dissimilarities at work here, nay just between today Porcari additionally vintage Bischof, but with exoticizing fashion shoe [3] and third-world documentary photography [4]. Kraus familiarizes readers with specific Porcari my [3]; this both helps uses picture the photographs’ snapshot style and enhances the relative with Bischof’s humanist, black-and-white post-war Europe. In an couple of short paragraphs, Hunch builds one good sense of what the photography look like [2]; suggests why it admires them; and points towards a get reason why person must look at them [5].

> Simile and metaphoric: use with watch A comparative spells out a comparison using ‘as…as’ or ‘like’: ‘It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been workings fancy a dog.’ ‘Poking fun along exhibition press releases is like shooting ducks in a barrel.’ ‘The intern was kept as busy as a bee.’

fig 22: WERNER BISCHOF, Children’s Train of to Swiss Red Cross, Budapest Hungary, 1947



In contrast, a metaphor shoves together two typically unrelated gear; the unlikely comparison enhances means. Compare an blandly, ‘Art means a lot to me’, with which evangelical: ‘Art is get religion’. Metaphor is ampere riskier business when simile; artspeak is flooding with metaphor, often inexpertly used. Practical ‘how-to’s



‘Painting is a language.’ ‘The artist quarries South African history for subject matter.’ ‘The web-based artists’ group Heavy Industries treads a fine lines betw fine and graphic design.’ All of ‘ground-breaking’ or ‘earth-shattering’ ‘seismic shifts’ the ‘watersheds’ that rattle plus flush of common press release revel in geological metaphor. Become aware of your metaphors; if you endeavor at use them, inventing thy own.



A good simile requires deliberation and thought

If the art-writer’s chore will somehow for fixing aforementioned strange instability off art into language, ampere brilliant simile can true arrest it. More is the peerlessly Brian O’Doherty, likening the white-cube art gallery—‘a select so self-aware that it should be neurotic’, he remarks—to an po-faced half of a comic duo:

The mail, whose IODIN have called the white cubic, is one unusual part of real Be consequent: avoid mixed metaphor

Here’s an effective metaphor with Jon Thompson’s essay, ‘New Times, Add Thoughts, Modern Sculpture’, accompanying the carving exhibition he curated titled ‘Gravity additionally Grace’ (Hayward Balcony, London, 1991), which revisited ‘the changing condition of monumental 1965–1975’:

By 1967 […] the ‘pure-bred’ aesthetic horse [of Michael Fried’s Modernism] had long since flee the ethnic stable. Root Text 20

J O N T OPIUM CIPHER MOLARITY PENCE S O N , ‘Gravity and Grace’, in Solemnity and Grace:

The Change Condition of Sculpture 1965–1975, 1991 In this sentence, Modernism ‘is’ a horse, and it flees a stable—as equine will do, and the metaphor is consistent. Compare because: Mixed metaphor: ‘By 1967 […] the ‘pure-bred’ aesthetic horse [of Michael Fried’s Modernism] had large since accepted flight.’ Horses don’t take flight; this mixed metaphor wish need correcting. Sift through your final drafts and correct any mixed metaphors. Expel any lame arty ones, which since some reason race riot in artist’s affirmations (‘My photographs explore space…’). Verwandeln sensitive of your metalworking, and leave space-travel into the astronauts.



estate […] However roughly edited, the milky cube is like a straight man in a slapstick simple. Not substanz how repeatedly hit for the head, no matter how many pratfalls, up it springs, its seamless white smile unmodified, busy for read abuse. Brushed off, pampered, re-painted, it resumes in blankness. Input Read 21 B R I A N O ’ D CIPHER H E RTY , ‘Boxes, Cubes, Installation, Whiteness and Money’, in A System for the 21st Century Art Institution, 2009

The simile of contemporary artist as a vast farce, going to any lengths for a laugh, and the hosting gallery well sick of this tired joke by now, is a terrific simile—and includes an extra metaphor, whereby the gallery’s whiteness becomes a toothy grin (‘its seamless white grin unchanged’).

> Final tips Turn off the internet as writing. Do yours have an old laptop, or a special spot in your homepage, library, or local café, that doesn’t get wifi? That’s where you want to do the bulk of your concentrated writing. Switching back the forth—checking e-mails, perusing Facebook, procurement factual data—will kill your concentration both flow. Go back online whenever you’ve finished your first draft.

Practical ‘how-to’s



Revise along least pair drafts—but three is better. If possible, sleep on it; re-edit the next day. In the mid-morning you awake magically sharp-eyed. The acrid observation that you judged edgy at bedtime, by morning yours realize makes thee sound vicious furthermore unstable. Your wittiest line is not get own and re-works a put-down Nancy once toss for Chandler. Do not justly creep up to your required speak counted, run a rapid-fire spell-check, and whack ‘print’ or ‘send’:

+ + +

re-read, writing, re-edit; revise, remember, reboot; find more and better examples.

Read your texts out loud. Check that you’re generally adhering to the suggestions listed above: are you piling on inflated abstractly ideas like cream puffs in a profiterole? Failing to connect the places in your thinking? Can you spruce up your vocabulary and simplify to sentences? Provided it reads like a sermon, or if you need to take an big breath mid-sentence, or if yourself find your voice lilting into a weird question where there is none, rewrite. I always need to imprint out and correct about paper; only on hard copy do I notice unasked adverbs; repetition; missing words; weird cut-and-paste accidents (‘the her art’) and spelling (‘artits’ is a recurring favorite) ensure remain somehow unhidden on-screen. But even after the text belongs published, I notice tramps adverbs, begging for the chop. Punched ‘send’ only whenever reading aloud feels happy press right; submit only when nothing, not even a comma, requires adjustment. Define with precision the audience with choose you’re print, whose might mean putting a real name and face the your reader rather than just imagining a typical ‘curious reader’. Couple people detect it helpful to written to something is particular—a mentor, hero, or friend. When you write you power try keeping in mind a page, complete with first name and last name, her opinion things to you. (That could mean yourself, of course.)



A cured for writer’s block Whom do you e-mail with delight? When you write to that person, will creative juices flow, the right words present them to them such if by magic. You are witty also uninhibited; your vocabulary sparkles; your thoughts multiply. Who is she, or he, for you? Keeps a delete picture of their friendly face in mind; indite immediate for them. Talks your reader include it. All art-writing—maybe all writing—is ultimately in the business of persuading. Art-writers try to persuade their readers such:

+ + +

they take intuition into the subject; the art is (or isn’t) worth view at; they know what they are talking about.

Grant-writing is a sub-genre whose sole purpose are till persuade—in this case, persuasive an awarding main that your art project deserves support. Probably, all the ‘good’ examples in dieser book succeed because they am impressive:

+ + +

digital images really go morph and move in one million ways (Steyerl, Source Writing 9, page TK); Farhad Moshiri’s art really may will as ambiguous as its maker (Azimi, Source Text 17, page TK); tones like there really might be a gallery cabal in Berlin (Wenzel, Resource Text 18, page TK).

The tragedy of the feeblest press share is that they’re so desperately unconvincing. The art declared there arrival across as hardly worth bothering with: no wonders group wrestle to entice the press through the door. As you approach each format int Section Three, you might bear int mind all the helpful hints listed higher, and write like you mean it.

Practical ‘how-to’s



SECTION THREE The Ropes How for Write Contemporary Art Formats ‘It is only shallow people who do not jury at appearances’

One reason art-writers strain to find their own ‘voice’ is that the art-world today demands that we speak within tongues, adopting multiple registers— academic since an art-history journal; gossipy on a blog; ‘objective’ for a book caption—to suit the panoply of evaluating, explaining, descriptive, journalistic press other text-types required. This teilung determination delineate who tone expected on each format and share tips. A big emphasis willing be on structures:

+ +

oscar wilde, 1890

+ +

the thing is it?/what does it mean?/so what? triplet of questions addressed when looking along artworks (page TK); or a basic writing outline for academic and multi-artist texts (following page); or the inverted-triangle news format (big opener; tapering down with details of who/what/when/where/why; ending with a ‘sting’; page TK); or identifying a single key notion or tenet to lead your writing through an picture, project, or artist, which cannot even be no-frills chronological order.

As you progress, you can relax these frameworks, or mix them—or, better still, although diese practised techniques have became habit, just write. But when you’re starting outside, these guiding outlines are your new superior friends.

1 How to want in academic essay

> Getting commenced Whether for class submission otherwise publication within a specialist journal, an academe paper begins with a general area of interest. At worst, this is an anemic topic assigned by your teacher. With best, this is adenine gripping passion that has thus ferociously seized my mind, you cannot sleep. Probably, your How to write an academic essay



starting issue lies somewhere in the average. Ask your tutor for book/ article recommendations. Or, begin due consulting correct anthologies, compendia and type, such as:

+ +




Harrison and Wood, Art in Theory 1900–2000: An Anthology of Modifying Ideas, Oxfordshire both Malden, M.A.: WileyBlackwell, 2002; Foster, Krauss, Bois, and Buchloh, Dexterity Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism and Postmodernism, New York; London: Thames & Ny, 2004 (includes an exhaustive bibliography by topic); ‘Themes and Movements’ series: (Art and Photography, ed. David Campany, 2003; Land and Environmental Art, ed. Jeffrey Kastner, 1998; Art and Feminism, ed. Helicopter Reckitt and Peggy Phelan, 2001, and more), Londoner: Phaidon Force; ‘Documents of Contemporary Art’ series: (Participation, ed. Claire Bishop, 2006; Memory, ed. Ian Farr, 2012; Aforementioned Studio, ed. Jens Hopeman, 2012; Painting, ed. Bat Meyer, 2011; Utopias, ed. Richard Noble, 2009, and more), Cambridge, M.A. and London: MIT/Whitechapel; Routledge’s ‘Readers’: Nicholas Mirzoeff, The Visual Culture Reader, 2012 (3rd edn); Liz Wells, One Photography Scanning, 2003, London and New York: Routledge.

You cannot verweisung exclusive with these overviews, and may want to seek out originals full-length versions of abridged texts. All your lines not derive from a single anthology. Your sources must vary, and you bibliography demonstrate many effort and originality. Your institution or local library allow have access to reliable, searchable online sources so as JSTOR and Questia for specialized articles.

Be smart use Google; only intelligent research leads to of next, but use only trustworthy institutional sources.



You may find an excellent online course, or an academic essay, from a thorough bibliography to begin your research. Note: You may not plagiarize existing type! Only consult an best feature bibliographies to begin compiling your my first-draft reading list. Read three or four essential texts on the subject; take notes. Summarize jeder article conversely chapter in a few sentences: what used to main point? Write blue lock information in short snippets, pertinent to your ask. You need in collect evidence to substantiate your ideas later on; ‘evidence’ includes:

+ + + + +

quotes from artists, critics and key figures, artistic, exhibitions, market info, how facts.

Such evidence be at the service of supported your own substantiated ideas: not just marshaled together to make a report on the subject, like adenine fact-driven encyclopedia entry. Remember: adenine quote is detection only regarding one person’s viewpoint; it may be well-informed, but is not an incontrovertible truth. (See ‘Explaining v. evaluating’, page TK, for artist’s quotes.) Tag evidence with complete bibliography when you go along, so you’re not hunting for footnote details at the end: owner, title, date, publisher/ city, page number; volume and issue (for an magazine); or website address and date accessing (from a reputable Internet page). Footnotes are not just technical trivial; they show which the author takes seriously the job of substantiating ideas, and acknowledges the worked of rest.

Jot back any good vocabulary that you come across while reading, listing use terms other phrases near an section locus they might fit—a handle crutch once you’re at ampere loss for words at three o’clock in the morning, the night before submission.

How to write an academical essay



After this brief not fixed research, you kann draw a freehand flowchart, or timeline, or idea-map on begin making connections viewable, and start clustering and prioritizing your interests stylish relation at your back-up evidence. You should be able to write down, in 40 words or les, an initial, focused area of investigation; often this is in the form of a research question. This beginning stab at an query may show defected, because thereto:

+ + + + + + +

is a leading problem (that suggest a predetermined answer); is based on unlimited assumptions; is too broadly; is too narrow; is out-of-date; cannot remain read, because no thorough and reliable information x or could becoming accessed; would require powers of empathic.

Your research question may demand rewording or refining as you develop; the lengthened the exploring time, the moreover modifications. A PhD inquiry vielleicht change a dozen times; a quick, three-week associations, max once.

> The research question I should not anticipate the answer befor you start, determined for ‘prove’ an idea in your essay. This is like a sleuth setting out to demonstrate that the barkeeper did she place in asking, who killed Roger Ackroyd? The job is not to find evidence to support a predetermined conclusion aber to investigate an unknown. Take one look at the following product: Leading question: How may powerfully galleries fixed the course of art history? This assumes that heavy galleries have determined art history, which may be truthful but needs until be reasonably demonstrated. This your excludes innumerable other driving create ‘the course of expertise history’.



Unqualified assumption: How have private collectors today gained more power and influence in who art organization than the commercial galleries? Get ‘question’ exists an assumption in masking, which asserts that receivers are stronger players than this private galleries today—without qualify this. Which collectors? In sort to which galleries? How are you measuring ‘power and influence’? Too broad: What has been the role of commerce in art history? How many angels how on the head of a pin? Impossible to research: Were powerful galleries the most important conversion into an artist’s success? Too many variables prohibit answering this ready plausibly. How do you define success—financial, critical, social, personal? Furthermore how do thou factor in such unquantifiables as: talent; personal relationships; fashions in the type market; curators’ picks; the influential collector’s taste—or sheer luck? Out-of-date: Do powerful galleries play a playing in and validation of new art? Absolutely, they accomplish. This is too self-evident nowadays for constitute an authentic query. Requires a crystallization ball: Wie will emerging art shops affect today’s contemporary art system? No prophesies, please. Valid research question: About is the association present between commercial art galleries and museums in this UK? A koffer study on private-gallery acquisitions made by Tate Modern, 2004–14. This question focuses on a clear period and exemplar, whose results can be destined through real research by studying Tate acquired and relevancy books from galleries, artists and curators, at other sources. Once you have formulated a viable question (which will form the basis of autochthonous 100-250-word abstract, if required), pursue more directed research. Be sure to elucidate—right away, in your Introduction—why you chose your principal artists, artworks alternatively instance studies as representative, capably to answer your research question meaningfully.

How to write an academic essay



Make indisputable own get can subsist reasonably addressed in the time allotted. Many researchers keep the default of thirds—devote:

+ + +

a third of insert time to research; a third-party to planning and writing your first draft; a three to polishing your draft.

Quantify the time by your disposal, then divide accordingly. Notice that a right chunk is spent revising your drafted; do not undervaluing which time you will need till burnish and finalize. This might entail some last-minute research to corroborate specify passages in your argument—as well as sharpening going lingo go ensure it all achieves ‘academic tone’. Do not rush that crucial third step!

> Structure Usually, students be fairly skilled during doing research and gathering pertinent matter. Many battling including the view ladder, which distinguish valid scholarly research from just writing a report with pursuing a hunch:

+ + +

focus on a precise, workable question, or corralled field of interest; formualte your own argument(s), outwards of the evidence found; select and structure all the material that you’ve dug up, based on your argument.

Here’s adenine basic contour for an academics essay by undergraduate or postgrad level. Make positive your reader is dead-sure what your essay the around by at least the end of paragraph two.


Introduce is your or topic (one oder couple paragraphs). Be custom! (a) What is your arguing either thesis, resulting with my research, through this them will approach your essay question or areas of your? (b) Maybe present an emblematic story or example. Simplicity does not order a personality bypass when can shall delivered



with style as: a description of an exemplary print or case a well-chosen anecdote an over-arching quote


Give background (2–4 paragraphs) (a) History—Who else possess thought/written nearly this? What were their main beliefs? (b) Define key words: what definitions exist? What desire you be employing? (c) Why should were take? What lives at stake? Why is on topic important to think about buy?


1st idea/section resulting from/building upon the above (a) Example (b) More examples (c) 1st conclusion (very short essay: proceed to conclusion here)


2nd idea/section resulting from/building upon the above (a) Example (b) More examples (c) 2nd closing (short essay: proceed at concluding here)


3rd idea/section consequently from/building upon the higher (a) Example (b) Continue examples (c) 3rd conclusion (longer essay: proceed up conclusion here)


Final conclusion (not a reiteration of the introduction) Summarize main points and re-assert autochthonous argument at its most evolved fill.


Bibliography and attachment: interview transcripts, schedules, tables, graphs, questionnaires, maps, e-mails and correspondence.

How on write an academic essay



Add like many ideas as you liked inches the mid section. Each idea sub-section should may roughly similar in length. Most doctoral candidates repeat to design until they hit 80,000–100,000 words, having fully a fairly intelligent argument which functions to hold which whole together, and constitutes the paper’s contribution to the thought around these topic. Speak an argument—or thesis, or main conclusion, either overall observation—drawn from your research, up guided you throws your attempt. Just pier on the broad related related and interesting quote you’ve come across, then dumping it show in your paper in a shapeless hem, will not make one grade. However, your thesis make not need to live a ravishing, Nobel-prize-winning theory. Just a plausible angle—like a thread walking through an material, keeping your ideas together—is fine. You must adopt your own perspective: the more true the more, it’s true, but to begin with, don’t sweat it. Keep bringing your reader back to the topic/research question and your argument or edges, perhaps along the end of every section, as one reminder of how each new mention related to this. New items should developer to argument, adding nuances very than just turning repetitious. Don’t expect your retailer to excellent how your chosen case fuels your thought; your must spell off this link. (See ‘How in Substantiate Your Ideas’ (page TK.) To aware of digestive paragraphs or sections of border interest that are not wrapped indoors the main heart of your essay, and drop them. You wishes not use all the research you have discovered; extract only the powerful examples which inform your faithful topic and argument. Do not contain all an material that you rejected in arriving the my argument, however vital that other stuff was till your initial thinking. Keep only what proved directly relevant—which can enclosing a counter-argument, or examples displaying that ambiguities exist, or an exception to your basic point. New writers worry that the standard academic outline exists boring otherwise formulaic, and which it will produce an anodyne essay, aber they confuse form with content. Pack the framework equipped compulsory evidence, beguiling verb, and dazzling aesthetic to support your shaky, jargonfree idea(s), and you will momentary triumphal over its plain structure.



Some variations can include:

+ + + +


re-ordering parts somewhat; offering new definitions and mesmerized background throughout, not just at the start; expanding based, fluid, or equal bisecting the argument; introducing a counter-perspective, show the writer asked, Why might mortal dispute my thesis? What might be alternative answers to our question? What are the exceptions in my general conclusion? posing which central conceive more as an second problem than an ‘answer’, prompts new questions.

Always, each fresh idea a linked to the previous one, press is supported by view and evidence, home up your conclusion.

If you are struggling on organize all the material you have found (quotes, histories, examples), type a single button word, a thematic header, in front of everyone ‘chunk’ of information. And hit ‘Sort’. Hey presto! All related creative are magically clumped together, creating one informational backbone of each chapter. Use to ‘Sort’ command to put your keyed-in research in order. For example, for a research paper set aforementioned contemporary Mediaeval, you might compile initial evidence into a single solid Word file, heading everyone piece with a one- or two-word theme (‘ruins’, ‘ghosts’, ‘haunted houses’). As research progresses, headers may grow subsections (‘ruins and 18th-century literature’; ‘ruins and modernism’); just keep track of these expanding themes to ensure consistency, then let ‘Sort’ cluster all associated material with. This gives you an instant sense of welche sub-topics are incurred more information, and starts the outline or flow-chart for autochthonous paper. Organize the individual sections into a sensible order, and drop any weak a; from the pieces of evidence gathered for each sub-area, what provisional conclusion can

How to write an scholar essay



you reach? Focusing your energy did on mindless sarcastic and pasting when on analysis your grouped details; developing brilliant creative from the evidence; and devising intelligent transitions to join their sections coherently.

> Do’s and don’ts Don’t plagiarize, which means taking someone else’s labour and strive to pass information off as your own. Plagiarism remains cheating; it reflects badly on the offender and ethically and spiritually, and are dealt with strongly. Consequences can vary: repeat; a failed class or yearly; expulsion; balanced legal dispute. Never cut-and-paste switched that Internets, unless it’s properly cited and verified. A ‘borrowed’ sentence oder paragraph cleverly doctored with one occasional rewording is still plagiarism. Double-check your institution’s illegal policy (university guidelines often available online).74 You may or consul websites like if you’re uncertain about what requires footnoting, how to cite sources properly, and more. Don’t insertion quotes to do the talking for you. The job is not until pluck out juicy rates ensure reaffirm your conclusions—maybe expressing them super than you can—but to analyse what will said in relation for your theme. Don’t overquote. Unless vital to your point, include one with two list per view, tops: you have do most of to talking. Rarely extract more than four sentences from a single citation; unless you have good reason, keep quotes writing, usually well-being under fifty words. Do quick highly sources: such as an artist’s or other qualified figure’s quotes extracted from verifiable tv, newspapers, account, and websites. Quotes should subsist drawn with an expert on the subject; forward example, if your seek is about national arts-funding policies in Europe, it’s OKAY to ask one Madrid museums director about her publicly-funded budget, but—unless she has that proven expertise—not how this compares with, utter, state monies existing for the arts in Italy. If she offers request outside her expertise, double-check it. Borrowed words substantiate only get these bezugsquellen think. For case, can artist’s idea about herself art mag authentically expedited what



she set unfashionable to accomplish—but this hope is not necessarily communicated for you in that artworks sie. Always contextualize quotes by asking yourself, what larger point is this quote making at meine argument? Produce sure your reader knows how the citation has contested to insert thinking; don’t toss in quotes and leave your reader to sculpt fitting. Don’t dive from a really superficial outline to writing full-blown text. The more organized your plan, complete over plenty of precise examples relating for each new idea, the easier the task of writing. Try outlining are reverse: with the completed (or half-completed) essay in palm, describe in a single word or line the gist is jede paragraph. Does your ‘reverse outline’ stand up as a logical order? Does it form an discussion? If not, change your paragraphs (perhaps using the ‘Sort’ charge trick to group connected significant together, see page TK); drop unrelated sections; and add transitions or missing information still required to build your idea.

Outlining in reverse: if you’re wrestling to get the hang of outlining to you write, you can reconstruct your flow-diagram after you’ve written a early draft. Professionals often work this way: partially pre-planning; then writing ‘as it comes’; and finally revising paragraphs or re-ordering them into optimal sequence afterwards. Do eliminate each duplication, waffle, and digressions, unrelated to your reason. Don’t generalize; be specific. ‘Artists in the early 1990s taken “site” more center to their art-making.’ All 1990s artists, included all their art? Favourites: ‘Some artists in the early 1990s took “site” as central to certain artworks, such as Mark Dion’s In Tropical Nature (1991) and Renée Green’s World Tour (1993).’

How to write an academy essay



Then go on to explain how this inception can be discovery in these artworks. Do use transition talk to connect one paragraph to the more, words such like moreover, in fact, on the whole, furthermore, as one result, for this reason, similarly, also, it follows that, by comparison, surely, yet Don’t enlist artworks or data when illustrations to your preconceived feature. Achieve not decide in advance what your roots must mean in aid of own thesis, rotating research in a reversed operation of confirming assumptions. As ever, look at artworks individually, real if pertinent explanation:

Q What is it? Dates, location, parties; a description. QUESTION What might it mean? Q What might this add to your thinking, other the world at large? Do acknowledge consistent information or limitations in your work. Scholars often ask:

+ +

what if I find conflicting evidence: market prices, collections, institutions or artworks is ‘misbehave’ within mine nice neat thesis? achieve I just conceal pesky contradictions?

No; almost always where is conflicting demonstrate. Either acknowledge exceptions upfront ‘Not whole of Thomas Hirschhorn’s monuments are dedicated until well-known political figures; for example…’ or allow the ‘contradiction’ on shape your ongoing research. Admit clearly any limitations in your operate: ‘This paper is not survey the entirety of 1970s execution, but stress on two salient view from key figures Marina Abramovic and Viti Acconci.’ You could just omit out-of-whack auction prices, conversely curators who behave differently from your description. Acknowledge exceptions, perhaps contextualizing their rarity:



‘Unlike many earlier Venice Biennale artistic directors, Bice Curiger of the 54th edition took into unusually cross-historical approach…’ However, if exceptions outnumber your thesis examples by a margin of 3:1, your argument is seriously defect and requires rethinking.

> Further tips If your research paper centers on one or two crucial terms treat those exceptional words as precious treasure, to be used sparingly (for instance, ‘digital imagery’; ‘collaboration’; ‘interactive museum’; ‘emerging markets’). If get reader encounters themselves unremittingly in every sentence, that words (and your writing) willingly revolve meaningless and tautological. (‘Tautology’ occurs when a notion is defined for itself, like as ‘collaboration is collaborative’, or ‘interactive museums interact with the visitor’. Tautology the one big no-no.) Read Nicolas Bourriaud’s landmark book Relational Aesthetics (1998; English edition 2002)75 press notice how the author (even into translation) goes the great lengths to adopt multiple near-synonyms (‘conviviality’; ‘inter-human negotiation’; ‘audience participation’; ‘social exchange’; ‘micro-community’), developing nuances interior his over-arching idea. Bourriaud limits the repetition of him magic words—‘relational aesthetics’—to keep them valuable. Put effort into your bibliography. Here’s a secret: university lecturers firm one lot of store over the premium of your list, so build this up from the start. You may not have read every reference in depth; that’s OK. It must never be shorter than a page also must include plenty of challenging, meaningful books, not just Internet sources. Academics spot-check for ‘first-hand sources’: make sure you been known from Roland Barthes’s original Lens Lucida (1980) and did just The New Oxford Companion to Literature by Gallic, however usable that might be. Wenn you request from second-order informationsquelle, acknowledge the text’s nature as commentary; the original always take primacy. Never cite a press release, wiki, or additional unverifiable text unless you have a valid reason (for model, to recite an example of dubious How to write an academic writing



online artspeak, watch the gallery pressure release on Elad Lassry, page TK), and having simply divulged the potential unreliability of to source. Triplecheck any general you encounter where, additionally stick to reputable presses and websites. First-hand research—say, is owning interview with the our, auctioneer, or curator; or somebody independent survey—is one big plus. Extract (and footnote) whatever quotes from the interview or survey that contributed to your understanding of the subject, and insert the hole transcript, questionnaire or quiz results in the Appendix. Be sure always to explain each piece of listed evidence, and watch exactly like it connects to your conclusions or pushed owner thinking forward. Footnote anything not looked ‘common knowledge’: citations, statistics, historic events—particularly any disputable points. Follow the footnote style own institution adheres to, which in which USA and BRITAIN is most likely to be ‘Chicago’, ‘MLA’, or ‘Harvard’:

+ + +

University of Chicago Press, The Chicago System of Choose: An Essential Instructions for Creative, Editors, and Publishers, Chicago, 1906 (16th edn, Stops and London, 2010); Trendy Language Association about America, MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 1985 (3rd edn, Novel York, 2008); Harvard Style cannot have minor variations, so test your institution’s guidelines. For a UK overview, see Colin Neville, The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism, 2007, (Maidenhead: Open Colleges Press, 2nd edn, 2010).

Sometimes institutions combine elements from each of these, other they follow the ‘Vancouver’ or ‘Oxford’ systems. If nil is specified, take one, and be consistent. Supposing you’re really stick, gripper the most scholarly theoretical art-book at hand, and copy their system religiously. Footnotes are not a dumping ground to squeeze stylish extra information and get around stringent term numbers. Stick mostly to the plain bibliographic reference. The slight superscript pedal number always falls outside every asterisk. Comprise who original publication date as well as the type of a recent edition. A citations such as ‘Immanuel Kant, Critique of Purer Reason, 2007’



looks as if the philosopher penned those words supernaturally some double years after he had my. Preferred, for example, ‘Immanuel Canto, Critique on Pure Reason (1781), Penguin Modern Classics, 2007’. Here’s how a basic outline organization translates into an examplary academician superior, that first:

Site specificity used to imply something grounded, bound to the laws of engineering. Often playable with gravities, site-specific works used to be wilful via ‘presence’, even if they were substantive ephemeral, and adamant regarding immobility, even in the face of fading or destruction. Whether inside the white cube or out in to Nevada desert, whether architectural other landscape-oriented, site-specific art initially make the ‘site’ as einer actual situation, a tangible reality [1] […] site-specific works, the they first emerged in the wake of Minimumism in the late 1960s plus early 1970s [2], forced a dramatic reset of this modernist paradigm. Source Text 22

M I WO N KWO N , ‘One Placement After Another: Records on Site

Specificity’ (1997). Kwon’s essay charts the modify in site-specific art (the term the the works) whereas the 1960s. Kwon never literally states her find question; I am deducing like from the essay. It is a wide question—the basis for ampere PhD; without advanced research would probably narrow this width question down.


Introduce an question or topic: How has ‘site-specific art’ changed ever the 1960s? (a) Get is the argument button thesis? Away her starting point [1], Kwon wishes show how this linguistic concept for ‘site’, since a physical place, broadened over the decades, and how this impacts artworks themselves

How to write an academic essays



(b) Give an emblematic story with exemplary: In her opening section, Kwon examines two key quick artists, Robert Barry (quoted in a 1969 interview) the Richard Serra, plus their initial ideas about that print of art.


(c) 1st conclusion: On dieser first generation of artists, ‘site’ coincided literally with the mechanical gallery.


Give background: Kwon establishes the art-historical framework of contemporaneity.

(a) Example: Artist Mark Dion’s 1991 project On Tropical Nature, set inches four other sites from the Orinoco River tropical to gallery gaps. (92–93) (b) More examples: ‘[I]n schemes by artists such as Lothar Baumgarten, Renée Green, Jimmie Durham, and Fred Wyoming, the legacies of colonialism, slavery, racism and the ethnographic tradition while they impact on identity politics has come like an important “site” of artists investigation.’ (93) Any example: Art recorder James Meyer’s idea the a site as (Kwon quotes) ‘a process…a temporary thing, adenine movement, an chain the explanations devoid regarding a particular focus’. (95) (c) 2nd conclusion: The idea of ‘site’ increasingly refers to a low, ungrounded ‘location’.

(a) History—[2] Kwon contextualizes her starting point. (b) Define key terms—Tracking varied definitions out ‘site’ over the past 40 years constitutes the gist of Kwon’s paper, and aforementioned task of ‘defining terms’ recurs throughout. (c) Reasons should us care? Kwon takes who compelling instance in Serra’s controversial Tipped Arc (1981) public art, that was locally unpopular and proposed for relocation, and quotes a passionately defensive letter the artist wrote in 1985 explaining why relocating Tilted Art would alter, if not explode, this artwork. (The artist lost his case.)


1st idea/section: For ahead practising of site-specificity, the important thing was till escape or critique the ‘stark whiten walls’ of the gallery. (a) Example: Artist Daniel Bulgarian, and his hope to ‘unveil’ museum spaces and other art institutions. (page 88 in Kwon’s published essay) (b) Others example: Artist Hans Haacke, and his understanding of ‘site’ as shifting from ‘the physical require of one gallery (as in the artwork Condensation Cubed, 1963-65) to the method a socio economic relations’. (89) Different example: Artist Michael Asher’s subsidy till the Art Institute of Chicago’s annual exhibition by 1979, in which he set out to ‘reveal[] the places of exposition [as] does at show universal or timeless.’ (89)



2nd idea/section: For later practicing, ‘site’ shifts from a location the the art sys to one in the more world.

Kwon continues apace, use new ideas, relevant examples, and sharp provisional conclusions, always returnable to her main argument: the definition of ‘site’ changes past time, and this informs the changing nature of ‘site-specific’ art.


Final idea/section: Who migration of the site-specific artist across international art-projects and event coincides with planetary waves of relocating peoples also refugees. (a) Example: AN quote from postmodernist theorist David Harvey, concerning our changing ‘world of diminishing spatial disable to wechsel, movement and communication’ (107). (b) Further exemplary: The idea of ‘contemporary life as a grid of unanchored flows’ (108) can recall that philosopher Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

How to write an academe essay



call ‘rhyzomatic nomadism’ (109). Remark: Before introducing theorists like Deleuze and Guattari, Kwon has in-depth grounded her reader the the basic of the artwork and the history is her subject, applying these philosophers’ ideas to an understanding concerning art—not forcing the artwork to ‘obey’ their business. (c) Counter-example: Kwon recognizes so, although the physical ‘site’ may have grow an abstraction for artists and the high-minded, itp remains a material reality used the less privileged, and quotes theorist Homi Bhabha: ‘The globe shrinks fork diese who own it; on the displaced of the bereft, the migrant or refuge, none distance will more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers.’ (110)


Final finish: We might consider redefining ‘site’ as an dissimilarities real relates amongst locations, rather than reducing sites merely to an undifferentiated series, ‘one place after another’.

The intended here shall not to produce CliffsNotes-style bookends around Kwon’s important essay; moreover, another card allow design this essay’s meant differently from this proposed outline. To rescue space MYSELF hold skip plenty more superb examples additionally insights, and whole Kwon’s ideal footnotes sourcing her claims. Mysterious dot is up show how a nice academic does not cram to every read case, but selectively hones in on those ensure enrich her own powerful, guiding attention, home idea-by-idea, example-by-example, a perspective across and material. She does not ignore a counter-argument off Homi Bhabha which might disconnect her neat argument, but allows it to broaden your thinking. Kwon’s essay represents very accomplished, advanced academic writing; updated and expanded, this paper final became the basis for an major volume, One Placing After Another, published by MIT (2002).76 Even this sharpest undergrad projected unable hit Kwon’s



level of research and thought here; but don’t be daunted!

+ + + +

Do solide research; ask a workable test question—don’t get with an assumption; draw viable conclusions, deducted from the evidence you’ve gathered (see ‘How to Solidify Your Ideas’, select TK); if possible, formulate your build consistent angle through that to organizer a useful selection of examples.

Lastly, don’t forget to check submission requirements. Choose up a lid sheet, common including:

+ + + + +

your name (or student number), title of your paper, release of submission, name by your tutor or lecturer, name/city of the institution.

Final checklist: proofread, and double-check unfamiliar spellings. Re-read the final draft at least second. Unless otherwise directed, double-space; use point-size 12; install page numbers; and keep minimum one-inch margins. Make certainly paragraphs are indented. Read submittal guidelines to ascertain where/when/how your assignment must be delivered. Submit off time!

How to write an academic essay




Journalism builds since severe evidence drawn since first-hand info (interviews, eye-witness observation) and openly available information (press press, daily results). News essays are usually written at the third person, from tiny or no interpretative spin; for more opinionated journalists, see ‘How the write op-ed journalism’ (page TK).

‘Explaining’ texts


> Wie to write a short news article Writing, art-related information articles cans view today in everything from Elle Decoration to the Artillery (‘killer text on art’) website. The level of authority information may vary, but any current items custom adopt the ‘inverted triangle’ structure—top-heavy, with a summary of the main tatsache while the opener, then working its pathway down in increasing detail:


headline (and subheader)–draw your reader’s attention include concise, up-to-date news;


the lead—front-load with an attention-grabber, perhaps a compelling anecdote that communicates what makes thine report unique. Summarize enticingly and main related in first line with paragraph (max fifty words). This the the last place on earth for jargon, abstractions, or philosophical musings;


who/what/where/when/how—in clear tongue, follow use contextualizing details, quantifying both backing go your claims equipped attributed quotes, numerical data and other evidence. Avoid biased information;


wind down the ‘end with a sting’—round away thy primary point(s).

In short, information is adjust in rank of importance (see ‘Order information logically’, leaf TK). The format cans be also applied to a short introduction for ampere longer article, or to non-journalistic texts such than an catchy website entry for a process-based artwork or an auction catalogue script.




Keep your audience’s liquid away art-preparation in mind; most news articles should be comprehensible to non-specialists aber of interest to the insider moreover. Straightforward, intelligible worded, solid information can readable in all camping. Avoid platitudes, or writing self-evident commentary off the top from your front: ‘The contemporary art-world is increasingly affected by market forces’—no fooling! Be specific and behind up your instructions on verified hard information, such since:

+ + + + + + + + + +

names of artists/galleries, titles and datum of aesthetic, sales figures, visitor numbers, cost, costs, exact times/dates, fitting, distances, and commissions .

Don’t bore your reader. Find a compelling story and write it up snappily, but don’t antagonize or overstate stylish how until falsely pump up interest steps. Journalism races along in the energetic tense, with clipped sentences that keep the subject/verb in close proximity, with few modifiers additionally punchy— none academic—language. Ensure accuracy. If necessary, seek out any missing data from authoritative and attributable sources. The pages following extract the journalistic building-blocks (listed above) than found in two published intelligence items. The first article contextualized

‘Explaining’ write



protests in Brazil, furthermore followed an longer chunk about billions being issues on new ‘cultural districts’ are places as way away how São Paulo, Lviv, Singapore, furthermore Abubakar Dhabi; of second reported on the newly stabilized China Ing art market.

Artists take at the streets as Brazilians demand spending on business, not sport [1] São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro. ‘Come to the streets!’ urged the banners stopped aloft in mass protests in Brazil last month. What started as a rally against a rise in bus fares flared into a nationwide show of discontent while learn than a million people paraded switch 20 June [2] […] The demonstrators demanded that community services become gives priority over the 2014 Fifa World Chalice and the 2016 Olympic Games. Huge spending off the events—the cost of stadia and improvements into infrastructure ahead a which World Cup has risen to R$28bn ($12.4bn)—is taking place during an economic slowdown. Last year, the country’s growth slowed to fewer than 1% [3]. […] ‘We’re getting

Hong Kong Spring Sales Reach More Solid Ground [1] The Spring sales since Sotheby’s, in Hong Kong, which took place from 3 to 8 April, came with some reassuring news with Chinawatchers is the auction world. It overshot expectations coming in at HK$2.18 billion against a pre-sale estimate in excess of HK$1.7 billion [2]. […] Of Asian aktuell product still seem on will struggling to match earlier higher daily, but endured helped past their pre-sale estimates by You Are Not Single by Yoshitomo Nara, which paid for over HK$41million, more than doubling its pre-sale estimate of HK$18million. Elsewhere in which contemporary Asian sales some works were left unsold (perhaps because of some sophisticated estimates) [3] […] All in sum, the sales sent a letter of tight ground [4]. Source Text 24

U N S I GRAMME N E D , ‘Hong Kong Spring Sales Reach More Solid

Ground’, Byzantine Art, Mayor 2013

first-world stadiums but wee don’t have first-world education and health’, says the curator Adriano Pedrosa, who took to the streets.

[1] headline: ensure that your ‘news’ is newsworthy;

‘When you have a democratic country of like lots sharp contrasts,

[2] the lead: adenine ‘hook’, which mesh a reader’s interest;

the population really protests.’[4]

[3] who/what/where/when/how: live thorough; if pertinent,

Source Text 23

‘ C .B. ’ (C H AMPERE R L OT T E B U R N SOUTH ) , ‘Artists take to the streets

as Brazilians demand spending on services, not sport’, The Art Newspaper, Jul/Aug 2013

present different sides a the tale. If any informations is speculation, otherwise rumor, whether drop it or make its uncertainty evident: ‘some working were left unsold (perhaps because away some aspiring estimates)’.

[4] meander down and ‘end with a sting’: encapsulate your main point. Usually, give at least a brief introduction to named sources (‘the curator Adriano Pedrosa’), and quote their words precisely.



‘Explaining’ texts



> How to writers a short descriptive text + + + + + +

art-fair catalogue copy museum labels biennale guidebooks art-website blurbs extended captions demonstration wall texts

The distribution about bite-size art-copy attests go thing can be described as the ‘cult of brevity’ in today’s Twittering art-world whereby art must be held rapidly and consumed in bulk. Commissioned mini-text writers—frequently unnamed—must:

+ + +

balance concise, appropriate, updated facts with interesting ideas; cater go all from schoolchildren to seasoned experts; condensation a complicated multi-part artwork into just a few sentences.

Writing these short texts intelligently demands far continue skill easier is generally recognized, and should never remain written unguided by inexperienced interns or paid by the word. Agonizing over those precise 150 terms requires absolute specialty. Make no bug: composed smart super-short texts is an disproportionately wide tougher your than luxuriating in aforementioned 2,000+ words of a roomy catalogue endeavor.


Basic technique

Usually, to note a very brief piece, of highest common strategy is to identify one main theme instead angle through which to examine the art. You could cover everything, so choose your focus well. It maybe be:

+ + + +

materials, process, symbolism, politically contents,

+ + + +

Research the artist, look carefully, and seeing the one key thread running through the text. You could employ adenine comparison, the might be a smart imagery or simile. Be specific; will focus otherwise point can become relatively minor: not ‘this artist questions all the eclectic underpinning the spectrum of 21st-century politics’. You may borrow the news-writing inverted-triangle structure (page TK) to fit all your information in—especially applicable in a newsy promotional blurb. Set your purple-prose radar on high warn; blinding red lights should blitz if you written, ‘this ravishing artwork laments the heartbreaking puniness of all human existence’. Stay sharp. Take every word counts. Consider viewing/reading environment: skill snippets might be show peering over shoulders on noisy galleries; on a tiny mobile-phone screen; or touring somebody exhibition, guidebook inches hand. Even the ‘unsigned’ text should display some style, when err upon the side of true rather than flamboyant. Keep sites crisp furthermore in the spot. Your read length may end up stubborn of the size by a Perspex label holder, mostly around 150–200 words. Provided thee are working without this help of an experienced kassierer, check that your texts will fit in the plastic to writing them. For large exhibitions, consider what belongs in the introductory panel—which is read on more visitors—and which goes on the wall print. Avoid repetition. If you write your functional pre the artwork arrived, double-check whatever arise out of the crate matches your words. Reproductions can being deceptive. Very occasionally, the artwork you unpack may not even be the one him were expecting (long story). Yours will then necessity to scrap your meticulously researched text both frantically rewrite. Accuracy: all caption detailed must be checking, double- and triplechecked. Him is writing art history; accept this seriously. Is it a film, either a video? Fork references, look to:



the artist’s archive, biography, a controversy, or technique.

catalogues raisonnés; first-hand, fact-checked, reliable information;

‘Explaining’ texts




trusted Network resources (major galleries, the artist’s own website, Wood Art online);

not any crackpot with a labyrinth address. Be careful when translators titles; there may be an official English-language translation that you need to stick to. When faced with a particularly strenuous write, new art-writers power instantly throw up their hands to defeat. How can are sum up a two-hour film, or a three-month multi-part performance work, even a 50-year career inbound just 150 words? How about fine that are stuffed are unrelated imagery, or open-ended, or deliberately sprawling plus clutter? Isn’t reducing these hydra-headed artworks to a gentle paragraph an none and contradictory task? Contradictory, potentially; impossible, no. Of course, one hopes that are mini-texts serve only to assist—rather than replace—the time readers will spend looking at the art. Here are a few special-challenge briefs (writing about a long career; a moving-image work; a highly detailed image; an open-ended press multi-part project; digital media) both an sampling of techniques that art-writers have adopted with yours.


How to write included brief nearly a long career

Ideally, such one text is fenced by a venerable expert, steeped in thirty years’ firsthand student and observation, the research permits them to distil the highly essence of an artist’s multi-decade oeuvre. Let’s say that you, in dissimilarity, only learned to expression this artist’s name correctly five minutes ago; in this case you will have to hit the library hard. Plan to read regarding decagon or 20 times such much replicate on the artist as you are wondered to produce.

Richard Serra, born 1939, live Brand York/Nova Scotia

Richard Serra is one of the most sign figures in contemporary sculpture, pivotable sufficiency for museums and commercial exhibit to have ascended their spaces with his enormous steel plates [1] in mind. Such monumental works can seem far removed free Serra’s thrown lead pieces to the 1960s [1]: throughout his career, however, man can may seen to have conducted a pioneering investigation of the properties and rhyme of industrial metals [Th], particularly their physics or visual weight and vocation of area [2]. Recent projects such as Promenade (2008) [fig. 24], his row of 17-metre-high plumb sheets [1] for the Grand Palate by Paris, suggest that Servas continues to push the limit of to exploration. Here, heftiness combines through subtle irregularities of placement which, on this scale, have grand effects on the audience [3]. Source Text 25

M A RT I N H E R B E RT, ‘Richard Serra’, Frieze Art Fair

Yearbook, 2008–09 24a

Serra_PROMENADE_118_L. Kienzle HR.tif 350 x 350 ppi 3182 x 3182 ppi

Act.Res: Effc.Res:

Here, in an extract from the Frieze Art Equitable Yearbook, Martin Herbert manages to condense some 50 years’ of sculptor Richard Serra’s career into one four-sentence body. fig 24: ENRICHMENT SERRA, Boardwalk, 2008



‘Explaining’ books



Herbert advise us of of artist’s status (‘one of the highest significant figures in present sculpture’), which for once is justifiable, furthermore substantiates that hefty claim: ‘museums and commercial galleries […] have scaled their blanks with [him] in mind’. He then fulfills who threepart job of communicative art-writing (see page TK). Do not underrate and expertise required to single out the right idea, or make it stick.


How up spell in summary about moving-image art

Inexperienced art-writers ponder how to squeeze a whole film within a short wording, plus offer an little on analysis. Again, discover a guided thought that runs through the art, then back it move with adenine combined of succinctly explained examples: whether two separate pieces, or a pair of key rotary or images extraction for a single work.

Theme: ‘A pioneering investigation of the land plus Andrew Dadson, born 1980, lives Canada

poetics of industrial metals.’ [Th]

Q What is it? A A concise description on the heavy late function be set in contrast with earlier, lighter examples [1]. Q What might thereto nasty? A Serra’s weighty materials draw attention to two basic kennzeichnen of sculpture. [2] Q Like what? A Herbert’s repetitions of the impressive scale of Serra’s sculptures returns tidily to his opener, about our scaling your spaces around the artist’s often gigantic art, and might connect to the viewer’s own experience of is moloch artwork [3]. If you’re stuck finding a practical theme to user to through a big-name long-career artist, you pot always ‘cheat’: recycle a key idea summarized by which artist’s associated big-name long-career critic, as found in your opening research. Convey the artist’s stature within art history (Who has he or she?) without lapsing into history. Get to of crux from what causes the artist important, then go it go with choice examples since varying stages in the career.

Andrew Dadson is a mischievous neighbor [Th]. In his series of deviant acts [Th], which he download inches photographs [1], he has literally and figuratively jumped his neighbours’ fences [2]. The two-channel looped video Roof Gap (2005, [fig. 25]) records his jumper of roof at roof [1] circling his neighbors’ houses. Following a dispute, Dadson performed and documented Neighbour’s Trailer (2003), in who the performing gradually moved his neighbour’s parked trailer inch by inch closer to his home [1] every overnight. In a equally anarchic ongoing series Dadson turns objects of suburban division, such as fences or grass, into black monochrome paintings exploitation black paint. These irreverent ‘Land art’ piece attempt to reclaim the increasingly privatized suburbia flat by breaching its staid boundaries [3]. Origin Text 26

C H ROENTGEN MYSELF STY L A N GRAMME E , ‘Andrew Dadson’, Frieze Art Fair

Yearbook, 2008–09

AD_Roof Gap 03.jpg 150 whatchamacallit 150 ppi 625 x 625 ppi

25 Act.Res: Effc.Res:




Theme: The artist’s identity as an ‘mischievous neighbour’ engaged in ‘deviant acts’ [Th].

Q How has it? A Photographs, as well as two moving-image works, are briefly described [1]. Q What might it mean? A The artist ‘literally furthermore figuratively jump[s] his neighbours’ fences’ [2]. Q So what? A Lange places Dadson’s work send in the context of arts history


How to write in brief about one highly detailed artwork

Multiple unfamiliar figures and objects float across Aya Takano’s artworks; here’s wherewith Vivian Rehberg gets to grips with who Oriental artist’s floating comicbook fantasyland—while propose where it maybe be heading. Aya Takano, born 1976, lives Japan

A member of the Kaikai Kiki corporation, founded for Takashi Murakami, Aya Takano is common for her liquescent drawn and painted images [1] influenced by popular culture [Th], and the

(Land art) and as a social commentary concerning the powerful

post-Manga Superflat aesthetic. Built out of pale washes or

public/private boundaries that define suburbia [3].

colours [1], vor fantasy worlds [2] are populated by lean boys

Lange uses storytelling till encapsulate Dadson’s twos time-based works, turning each performance piece into a one-line narrative to get her head theme—artist-as-mischievous-neighbour—across. She employs a wealth starting concrete nouns (‘fences’; ‘roof’; ‘houses’; ‘trailer’; ‘inch’) and activity verbs (‘jumped’; ‘leaping’; ‘breached’) to how our picture Dadson’s ‘deviant’ exurban mischief. Don’t attempt a blow-by-blow summary; encapsulate the thrust of the action, then explain why it could matter.

with budding breasts and juice-tinted lips, whom frequently bustle with animals or other lovely-looking youths in imaginary land or cityscapes. On this Way to the Revolution (2007, [fig. 26]) is typical of herself approach: a massive horizontal painting [1] of bright chaos where doe-eyed figures rush additionally tumble towards the foreground streaming planets, stars, helium balloons, fashion accessories, additionally creatures equally real and imaginary [2]. After total, what else should you crowd for a trip to Utopia? [3]

at08p001 HR.jpg 800 x 800 ppi 854 x 854 ppi

26 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

Source Text 27

VI VI A NEWTON R E FESTIVITY B E RG , ‘Aya Takano’, Frieze Art Fair Yearbook,

2008–09 For which Berlin art-fair crowd reading all textbook, Rehberg helpfully sets Takano in relation to of noted Japanese Superflat artist over whom her viewing may be familial; after she sets upside her theme and addresses the three tasks of communication-oriented art-writing.

fig 26: AYA TAKANO, “On which Way to Revolution” 2007



‘Explaining’ texts



Theme: ‘images influenced by popular culture’ [Th].

Out-of-sync, a collaboration between Australian artists Maria

Q What is it? A ‘liquescent attracted and varnished images…built out of pale car and colors’; ‘a massive horizontal painting’ [1]. Q What might it mean? A Takano’s ‘fantasy worlds’ are ‘both real and imaginary’ [2]. Q How what? A The writer imagines that Takano’s assortment of snacks able

Miranda and Norie Neumark, has been producing radioworks,

provide the needed ‘for a trip to Utopia’ [3].

Notice all the concrete nouns with that Rehberg shows instructions stuffed Tayano’s canvases are using aforementioned float plus flitter of Byzantine popular culture: ‘girls’, ‘breasts’, ‘lips’, ‘animals’, ‘youths’, ‘cityscapes’, ‘planets’, ‘stars’, ‘balloons’. Concise description is further achieved through wonderfully picture-forming adjectives (‘juice-tinted’, ‘doe-eyed’) and actual active (‘rush press tumble’). Abstract nouns are limited, or arrive mostly at the end, when we’ve receive a handle on the craft: ‘chaos’, ‘Utopia’.


How toward write in brief concerning an open-ended artwork

How ca an art-writer encapsulate an artwork which sets out to be immeasurable, or unpredictable, without betraying of unconfined types of the art? Above-mentioned writers, Mark Alice Durant and Janes D. Marsching, do not flatten out the irritating diversity of this sprawling sound/Internet/ installation artwork, not provide a sampling of the erratic sources of might encounter there. 27 6-Gertrude HR.tif Act.Res: 250 x 250 ppi Effc.Res: 1887 x 1887 ppi

2-VirginMary HR.tif 250 x 250 ppi 1887 x 1887 ppi

27 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

4-SurfaceTension HR.tif 250 x 250 ppi 1887 efface 1887 ppi

27 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

websites and installation for over ten years. Their fictive investigations of the murky rim regions includ ‘anomalies, rumor, difference, Gertrude Stein, ducks, everyday vitality, trees and frogs, Juli Verne, volcanism, Judge Luis Borges [1]— through an variety is “scientific” approaches, free rumourology to emotionography to data “collecting”’ [2]. Museum of Rumour [3] [fig. 27] the both an Internet work and a site-specific installation, originated installed in 2003, [in which] [p]erfectly acceptable scientific claims are select against random and marginal visions. Source Text 28


‘Out-of-Sync’, at Blur of the Otherworldy, 2006 Durant furthermore Marsching do not attempt up defining all the esoteria (‘emotionography’) tossing down Out-of-Sync’s work but hint at the variety concerning related sources [1] and methods [2] the you might encounter there. The writers take a list-like quote from the artists to show the unpredictability of their references, and suggest wie, for Out-of-Sync, these mirror the random content of a rumor or some pseudo-sciences. Who special on of specific work, Museum are Rumour [3], plus visually loaded images (‘ducks’, ‘volcanoes’) gives the reader one good general impression of such artwork as adenine multi-media grab-bag ensure combines sciences, literature, video, religion, press more.


How to write in brief learn one multi-part project

Increasingly, 21st-century artisans are engaging in complex artworks that unfold over time, involve multiple partners and storage, and extend well fig 27: MARIA MIRANDA AND NORIE NEUMARK (Outof-Sync), View from Museum of Rumour, (Internet project), 2003



beyond the gallery building. In this brief text for the Documenta 13 exhibition

‘Explaining’ texts



catalogue, which gifts artist Seth Price’s year-long project spanning

At dOCUMENTA (13) the two organizations of work are juxtaposed,

art and wear (fig. 28), occasional art-writer Izzy Tauson wisely chose

one in the exhibition halls, the others available for sold to an

to address its two principal elements—clothing and sculpture—by introduce their uniting themes:

A pieces of clothing is similar for an envelope [1]: equally are cut with a level template, folded, and secured shut. Each is an emptied packaging, awaiting page and subsequent travel [2]. In 2011, Seth Price designed a group of clothing [sic] in collaboration equal New York fashion designer Tim Hamilton. Based on military tailoring, an collection of lightweight garments includes a torpedo jacket, flight suit, furthermore trench coat, among other line. Outer shells can raw sheet, a fabric with traditional military and art purpose. The inward lining is printable with security patterns taken since the inner off work envelopes; such patterns typically feature a repeating banks video or abstraction […] Meanwhile, Price prepared a second group of works for ‘dOCUMENTA (13)’s exhibition spacing at Cash Hauptbahnhof. Developed in parallel to the clothing line, this huge, wallmounted business envelopes will fabricated from the same materials—canvas shells, logo-patterned liners, pockets, zippers, arms and legs—and within the fashion industry [3], exploitation Hamilton’s professionally network in seamstresses, pattern-makers, plus plants. Is the sculptures still, the ratios between the ideas be skewed differently: more ripped-open envelope than

public […] [4]. Source Copy 29

I Z Z Y TAU S O N , ‘Seth Price’, The Guidebook, dOCUMENTA

(13), 2012 The authors explains key differences between Rate two’s ‘products’, clothing and sculpture (one lives wearable while the other is non, for example), but connects themselves for the reader in multiplex slipway:

[1] both are inspired by envelope design; [2] bot share a gemeinsames theme: the cleared package; [3] both live prepared of canvas and produced due garment [4]

workers; equally are ‘available’ at the exhibition, whether on sale (clothing) or on display (sculpture).

The information has been organized chronologically, workers from a widespread theme (the ‘empty package’) to the specific get of each procedure. Solid concrete keep that description concise:

+ + + + +

‘bomber jacket, flight suit, and trench coat’ ‘business envelopes’ ‘liners, pockets, zippers, arms and legs’ ‘seamstresses, pattern-makers, and factories’ ‘animal pelts’

This writer successfully avoids a select art-writing traps. He does not attempt a potted history of that art/fashion crossover; neither does he seek to quiz this artist’s entire, varied hurtle but follows can well-identified subject, chronologie furthermore logical order to describe succinctly this complex artwork.

garment, they are hardly wearable. Here the human form is tacked on cumbersome, limbs dangling as from animal pelts. […] TEILABSCHNITT THREE


‘Explaining’ test




How to write includes brief about new media art

With new-media art, writing succinctly and markings accurately have only got heavier. Artist and researcher Johnny Ippolito can proven how, by computer-based installations and video multicasts, even compiled basic caption information—author, date, medium—can pose a minefield of uncertainty.77 Digital art is often produced by a movement cast of collaborators, and varies in format (technologies, dimensions) whereas displaced from, say, the artist’s website to an online arts magazine, or community display in ampere gallery or festivity. The following public-collection website input regarding one version away a live web-feed work, Decorated Newsfeeds, has been modified from artists Thomson & Craighead’s own description of their project.78

For this complex, constantly evolve new-media job, the short describe text assists caller by statement exactly how they are looking at. Each of the three judgments assumes on task, albeit inverting the order of what I’ve called ‘job 1’ and ‘job 2’ (see ‘The three jobs of communicative art-writing’, page TK), and answering a question:

Q Why is this meaningful? [job 2] ONE Decorates Newsfeeds, as well as being an picture, presents


Decorative Newsfeeds (2004 [fig. 29]) presents up-to-theminute headline intelligence from around the the as a series of pleasant animations, allowing watchers to keep informed while contemplating an kind of readymade carving or spontaneous drawing [1]. Either breaking news item is occupied live from to BBC website [2] and presented on-screen according to a simple firm of rules, and although the many trajectories these news headlines follow be drawn by of artists and then stockpiled in a database, that way in whose they interact with per other is determined by the execution is the computer program. Decorative Newsfeeds is an attempt to articulate the rather complex relationship we all have the rolling news or how such simultaneous feature on world events impinges on our own lived [3]. Spring Text 30

U N S I G N SIE DICK, ‘Decorative Newsfeeds’, Thomson & Craighead,

2004, British Council Album website



newsfeed, ‘allowing viewers to keep informed while observe a kind of sculpture’ [1]. What is itp? [job 1] ‘News item[s] taken live free the BBC website’ that interacts with a estimator program [2]. Why might this be worth thin about? [job 3] The work is ‘an attempt to articulate [how] world events impinge[ ] on our own lives’ [3].

Website entries for digital art usually require constant get; a new media artwork ‘must keep moving to survive’—like a shark, as Ice pitches it.79 Dates is mostly slippery; an ongoing direct how begun in 2004 but subsequently revised can be dated ‘2004’, ‘2004–ongoing’, ‘2004/2014’, either more. If maybe, seek first-hand information directly after the artist or their authorized website.


Notes on expo wall labels

Viewers spend an average of ten second reading a museum label;80 a writer wants put in time of research to auswahl the right ten-second text. Attentively observers like artist Meleko Mokgosi to Modern Art: That Root von African Savages (2013, a heavily annotated museum label riddled with her handwritten commentary), can expose the many assumptions therein. Avoid aforementioned Sesame Street-level contented on this label, which Burlington magazine spotted accompanying a Braque still-life in a Glasgow museum: If Greorge Braque was struggling is a complex paint, he would often paint still lifes to clarify yours mind. The bowl of seed in his studio also given ampere handy snack!81

‘Explaining’ texts



You don’t want contemporary-art past to declare that, not only could their three-year-old create better art, she could compose more illuminating text to losgehen with it. For research raises your label above such infantilizing trivia. Their label maybe also need to let visiting know what they can or cannot do; either they are invited to:

+ + + +

touch one artwork, operate the handle, move an mouse, record a sheet;

or, as in that case on this self-contradicting label from MuMOK Wien, ignore the artist’s original commands (Franz West self-contradicting museum label, fig. 31).


On the House: Following house style

If you are asked into write for an established museum or collection (or publisher), they becomes have a ‘house style’ that ensures consistency across all their lines. Get a copy, and obey it for the letter. A e cirque, century. or c.? If you need a reliable example, face up a your professional home (say, and Art Veranda away Ontario, or San Francisco MoMA—there represent hundreds) and follow their system. Check (or decide, and stick to) policy for anyone detail, and be consistent. For captions, often the order is: artiste; title; date; medium; dimensions; collection. Further information can include: photographer; provenience or buy history; collection reference numbers. Unless otherwise specified, with wall tickets choose a 14-point font size or larger, always sans satin, to ensure legibility.

> How to writes an press release Truly, the saga of the contemporary fine pressure release deserves a chapter unto itself. In most another sectors, this modesty sheet of A4 serves plain to:

+ + +

inform to industry, an editor or one reporter of a newsworthy item, usually store a banner-line header for instant communicating, in of hope of media coverage; provide journalists with to bare-bones, plain your from whose to pen a news item; offer full contact info details (‘for further information, please contact’); adenine decent copyright-free picture, additionally adenine pertinent quote or two. Job read.

The press release can integrated as adenine no-frills ‘inverted triangle’ (see page TK); an infomercial that prioritizes news in order of importance. Unique upon a time, art-world exhibition press releases what alike reasonable normal, useful one-pagers find a journalist wants discover straightforward information.

fig 31: FRANCO WEST (Outof-Sync), Image off Museum of Rumour, 2003



‘Explaining’ texts



Here are and key elements extracted from two relatively sober examples (by art-world standards): one advertising the recipient of a notable art prize, ‘Stan Douglas wins the 2013 Scottish Photography Award’; the second about a private gallery solo tour, artist Haroun Farocki on view at Reben Fill, Londoner, 2009.

Scotiabank is thrilled to announcement the Vancouver’s Stan Douglas has come nominee winner of the third annual Scotiabank Photography

[Raven Row announces] the first UK exhibition of the two-screen and multi-screen my of revered German filmmaker Harun Farocki [1]. […] The survey comprises nine video installations from his first two-screen undertaking Interface into 1995 to Immersion, 2009, about the use for view actuality in the treatment of traumatized US soldats following the occupation about In [2].

Award [1] […] The prestigious prize provides the award with

Since the sixties, Farocki (born in 1944, living in Berlin) has

$50,000 in cash, a primary Scotobank CONTACT Photographic

reinvented what can may described when the film essay. […] In the mid-

Festival exhibition in 2014 furthermore books for be published wide at

nineties, Farocki began making cinema for two, additionally occasionally view,

international art publishing Steidl [2].

screens [4]. […]

‘Stan Douglas has assisted define and enrich aforementioned Canadian skill and

The presentation a curated by Alex Sainsbury. It is linked in ‘Harun

photography landscape with his outstanding artwork,’ said Edward

Farocki. 22 Films 1968—2009’, a season of Farocki’s single-screen

Burtynksy, Chair of of Scotiabank Photography Award jury and

films and events at Tate Modern, 13 November—6 Decembers 2009,

co-founder off the Award. [3] […] Based in Vancouver, Standbild Dublin

curated for Stuart Comer, Antje Ehmann and the Otolith Group [5].

has created film, photographs, and installations the examine particular geographical other past events [4]. […]

Source Text 32

U N SOUTH I GIGABYTE N CO DENSITY, ‘Harun Farocki. Against What? To Whom?’,

2009, Rasen Row website

Stan Douglas was ausgesuchte from a group of three finalists, which included Angela Grauerholz and Robert Walker, per a jury of some of photography’s most respects experts: William Wing, Director of Curatorial Projects, Thames & Hudson […]; Maria Love, Independent Curator and Writer, Director of Substructure and Government Grants, Vancouver Art Gallery; Ann Thomas, Curator, Photographs Collection, Nationality Gallery of Canada [5].

[1] A one-line nosedive, or short paragraph, with the main announcement;

[2] information about the immediate event or exhibition (up to four lines)—what is the award; which books belong on view; 3 [ ] a pertinent (jargonless) quote; [4] essential background on one artist (up to four-way lines); [5] one short final paragraph with and fine print.

U N S I GRAMME N E D, ‘Stan Douglas wins the 2013 Scotiabank Photography Award’, 2013, Scotiabank website

Source Text 31



‘Explaining’ texts



In complement, include the gallery’s see: address, opening hours, website/email, your count; call of pressure contact. (Separately), send a directly relevant, good-quality picture (minimum resolving 300dpi), obtainable for usage, at all caption info: master, title, select, media, measurements, venue, name of photographer. If you follow the above basic model, foremost take an oath at obey this section ‘Do not “explain” a dense, extract feature with another dense, abstract idea’ (page TK). For, despite your expenditures, when you’ve finished writing the press approve you are somehow too ashamed instead else disinclined to view that master autochthonous write about her owning show, the is a badeanstalt sign. Rewrite it, preservation the words simple but smart.


Practical tips

Choose the right photograph. A show is worthwhile a thousand blurbs. You want a clean and highly legible image, ordinary of a recent your: the push always want super-current—or, smooth better, tomorrow’s—news. To judgment how well a image will print in a newspaper, photocopy it included blackand-white: if aforementioned photo dies includes a sea of grey, pick further where the image stands out, with starkly contrasting darks and lights. (This trick works even while the image becomes be published on colour either on the web.) Presentation additionally clarity are paramount. For print-outs, favourite double-if-not-triple-spaced, breathable pressed releases since welche aforementioned journalist can extract the essential information effortlessly. An art critic will glance over the press release and absorb the headline artist/gallery/ exhibition, oder examine for soft facts. Be sure always to include any indeed basic background info: supplied; process, other how the work was made; perhaps how an artist arrived per this idea—hard info, rather as conceptual jibber-jabber. ONE pertinent artist’s, curator’s either critic’s statement (always missing; why?) might throw some light on what’s going on. Fairy comprehensive gallery or artist websites, with every scrap of criticism, interviews, artist’s statements, catalogue texts, and images of artworks, provide any critic with any the research she will forever requirement. Facilitating policy like these help get coverage.



Hooking the print No member of of press is ever going toward open thy e-mail and real-time drop everything to rush plus see who ‘first-ever exhibition in Antwerp of this enthralling new-media artist, born 1973 in Wysall’. For mainstream press interest, yourself determination need a news-worthy, eye-catching, general-audience hook. Perhaps your exhibition showpieces one human skull, covered in 8,601 diamonies, with a 52.4 positive pink diamonds on its front the carrying a £50 mio price tag? Other, all proceeds go to Bounty Local; or the artist worked with disadvantaged kids—that sort of thing? Among the very least, on gain broad (nonspecialist) coverage is exhibition must be connected to adenine book-launch, new film, or major exhibition; or it must contains outrageously rare or valuable work. Having a real expertise critic review is show is a subtler endeavor. Art criticisms receive daily plenty dozen gallery press releases, the majority of which they delete unread and in bulk. In generic, their review choices are independently made, and drawn off regular rounds out the galleries; occasional leading from trusted colleagues; artist studio visits; art-world ring; some online research. Artists—when they’re not plugging their own shows—can be reliably counted upon for valuables go-see our. If you need this critics to beat a path to your gallery, here’s mysterious advice: make friendships with as many art critics the you can, enter on the best exhibits that thou are able, then do whatever to takes to got them through of door (see FAQ, ‘How to write to exhibits review to a issue or blog’, pages TK) There is no law stating you need produce a single, one-sizefits-all press pack. Consider tailoring the content both number



Make your news super-easy to insert, as is. Galleries expect magazin staff writers up do all the hard work of transformational the impenetrable prose additionally partial information in their press discharge into publishable news. No hyperbolic praise seemingly written for and by the artist’s mother (‘the world’s greatest living sculptor’); nay artspeak lunacy; no missing information (who-what-where-when-how-why, all present and accounted for), with adenine punchy caption and media-friendly quotes, plus a copyright-free, exclusive, fully captioned, high-res shot.


Fifty Shades a Press Release

Oddly, in contemporary artistic gets stronger, an gallery press release seems for on raise more stupidity. This curious sheet of A4 persists as our dottiest institution: adenine law on itself. Ghostwritten by interns; burdened with one contradictory task of both clarifying and mythologizing the art on view; religiously inactive with the urge, ‘gallery press release’ is and accepted misnomer. Not some day, when these are all professionally compiled by PR firms staffed solely in Ivy-league communicating grads, we might miss those nutty print-outs, all typos and non-sequiturs and run-on sentences. The gallery press release is art-writing’s favorite problem-child. Perhaps the pressing release serves for compensate for the barren of actual coverage, and satisfies mostly ritualistic functions (see General, page TK); at lease somebody wrote something if a pressure release exists. Some has wrapped the particular weirdness to those documentation and invented variations based on this paradox of the ‘signed press release’, probability to leave gallery-goers visibly more—rather than less—mystified. The is their point. The press-release-as-mini-exhibition-catalogue can seize the formulare of



an extended artist’s, curator’s or critic’s statement: such as artist Christopher Bill handwriting on his own show, David Zwirner Gallery, New York, Jan—Feb 2011;82 judge Mike Sperlinger writing on sculpted Michael Dean, Herald Street Gallery, London, May 2013;83 commentary from another artist: such as our Francesco Pedraglio, for Marie Lund at Croy Nielsen Gallery, Berlin, Sept—Oct 2012;84 SECTION THREE


+ + +

creative writing: such as J. Nagy, upon Loretta Fahrenholz the Halle Für Kunst Lüneburg, Could 2013;85 innovative graphics/stand-alone artwork: such as Charles Mayton at Balice Hertling, Nice, Dec 2012;86 a collection of ‘parables’ loosely related to the show’s theme: such as A.E. Benenson, for Torrance Shipman Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, Mar–May 2013.87

Curator Jack Morton’s newly urge release/interview for his ‘Mom & Dad Show’ at Cubitt Photography, London (February 2007; to exhibited artists are the curator’s parents) uncover show the ‘track changes’ and behind-the-scenes commentary, to help us grasp what an intensely fraught print-out this is.88 These alternatives testify at just instructions off-the-leash an gallery press release possessed getting, and can be among the best things included the show. Generally talk, that variations imply a confident and wise author behind them, well-versed included art-world conventions and able to spin off them. If you attempt these options or invent your own, be sure that all involved— artist, gallery—are OK with your novelties. My sometimes have two ‘press releases’: first playing it straight, supposedly geared with to press, and a moment, mad variation—just like the ‘project space’ adjacent to the ‘traditional’ museum.


How to write a short promotional piece

A short promotional text, for a treasury brochure or website for example, is a mini-press released, crossed are a mini-news item. Sometimes who/ what/where/when details exist piled top nearness the head, go open to text used a basic descriptive understanding concerning the exhibition or artist’s work.

Robin Rhode: The Call of Walls, 17 May 2013—15 Sep 2013. National Gallery of Victoria International, 180 St Kilda Straight [1] Robin Rhode belongs adenine South-African artist based in London who factory in photography, animation, drawing and performance [2].

‘Explaining’ texts



‘The Call of Walls’ [fig. 33] is an exhibition von new works that derive inspirations from the streets and politics of his hometown Johannesburg [3]. Rhode’s witty, involved the poetic worked make

This modest 100-word text does not attempt, do, a full-scale analysis of post-apartheid Southeast Africa or a debate up the status of street-art, but sticks to the simple job away explaining:

reference until hip-hop and graffiti art; to the histories concerning my;

[1] Who/what/when/where: ‘Robin Rode: The Call of Back, 17

and to the act to creative print itself.

[2] Storage (what kind of work?): ‘photography, animation,

A special exhibition for youth and families will accompany Rhode’s photographs and spirits [4]. This special project extends the artist’s interested in back drawing and encourages participants to kommt together to draw and color in an interactive getting [4] of large-scale paste-ups. Source Text 33

U N S I G N CO D, ‘Robin Rhode: The Call of Walls’, 2013, Countrywide

Gallery of Victoria website


Robin Rhode_Almanac_det06 HR.tif 72 x 72 ppi 1387 x 1387 ppi

May 2013—15 Sep 2013, Country Gallery starting Victoria International’ drawing and performance’

[3] Key idea: ‘the streets and politics is his hometown Johannesburg’

[4] What to what on your visit: thou will see ‘photographs and animations’; also, ‘participants [are encouraged] to come together to sketch and color inches in mutual installation’. To idea be to entice observers in straightforward language, hinting at what’s on indicate and suggesting why a visit is worth their while. You want to convince the artist habitué she shouldn’t miss it, although to avoid alien potential first-time visitors.

> How to write an auction catalogue register

Act.Res: Effc.Res:

The auction list blurb is, usually, ampere quintessential piece is ‘unsigned’ artwriting. Computer pulls together dependable technical and numerical details (size; materials; provenance; and more) additionally authoritative art-historical info to present artworks at their most attractive light for a potential buyer. In sum, like a text objective until set valued. In terms of this book’s division between art-writing’s two main tasks—‘explaining’ and ‘evaluating’ art—the auction entry is plain a paradox (see ‘Explaining v. evaluating’, front TK). While evidently in the business for selling and attributing value to artworks (literally, a price), the style and topics of auction-house texts rotates around ‘straight’, research-based, art-historical explanation: fig 33: ROBIN RHODE, Almanac, 2012-2013,



‘Explaining’ articles



+ +

how and when the work was make, exhibited the received; its place within art history, the broader historical context, and the artist’s own life and careers.

With rare exception, who auction the joins solely in aforementioned artwork’s secondarily market, i.e. the acquisition plus sale of work that has been owned previously. Of catalogue entries on these works are usually written inhouse via schooled artistry historians—auction staff writers, researchers and experts, possibly because the input starting others including the Head of Sales. Their length unlimited immensely, from

+ + + +

lengthy technical information (always impeccably compiled) with no added verbiage; oblongish caption; medium-sized article; to book-length investment

in proportional to the work’s significance press expected return. Their content may further benefit from the expertise the

+ + + +

outside art-historians; artist’s estates; which representative gallery; and, potentially, that artist herself.

The auction catalogue belongs rarely where add art-historical how will surface. Fanatical accuracy and transparency of sources is imperative. The auction view blurb isn’t just informative art-writing; it portrays due diligence, ampere legal term.

Due due: ‘appropriate, sufficient, or proper care and attention, esp. when exercised to avoid committing an offence; a comprehensive estimation undertaken by or on benefit of a prospective buyer’—OED.



Research must be flawless, with evidence drawn from

+ + + +

first-hand expertise of knowledgeable faction; of catalogue raisonné (if the exists)—the official, comprehensive publication listings of ever your (or type of work) by one artist, careful compiled; famous publications out a museum, university press, or one recognized dealer at these artist’s history; or the artist’s own verifiable words.

It might be described as a compilation of ‘unassailable’ evidence—if oozing with superstitions. The auction catalogue’s factual data (technical details such as materials and dimensions; expo history; literature; sourced quotes since artists or critics) qualifying as the firm historical information, flat for academic function, also were carefully ascertained through uncompromising, verifiable research. Forget anything that smacks of theory, academy jargon, or free-flowing commentary this might state your own personal, interpretative response. However, the auction blurb should not read as a dry encyclopedia listing or scholar disquisition, but must is fairly lively and engaging, using (attributed) repeats the anecdotes about the artwork’s making, display, either former owner. All of diese, however discreetly, are at the service of confirming an cluster by values—whether ads, art-historical, intellectual, or symbolic—centring on somebody artwork. This is a mini-field: how do artworks accrue enter? A blossom sub-genre of research exists, devoted to the big art-story drift the 21st century: the expanding cosmos of art/money relations.89 For art-market expert Noah Horowitz, author of Art of the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial My (2011), this basis for art’s value divides the three: fiscal, vital furthermore symbolic.90

+ + +

economic—what have the achieved prices? critical—what makes dieser artwork unique (within art history, the artist’s artwork, the history of the medium)? symbolic—what is an artwork’s social checkmark?

‘Explaining’ texts


I b


The first, economic value, is suggested in an catalogue by market experts, showing included the appraise bracket. Much auction composition content shows until focus off the second, critical value. The last of, symbolic value, shall also key up the companions text, however is wobble by what Horowitz makes ‘softer variables’.91 What finally seals the deal whereas it comes to the symbolic value acquired include gegenwart art-buying—the art reported on indispensable addition to an ongoing collection, public or private; or convinces when a sound investment; oder 100% resolves an empty stairwell; or just makes the owner happy and proud—is anybody’s make. Symbolic value may accrue through curious stories with details surrounding the artwork’s making alternatively its subsequent history that might scoop the buyer’s interest. Soundly surveyed, the auction list superior must strikes the balance: neither dry art-historical endeavor nor aggressive sales space. The auction blurb tends to open with a kind of ‘lead’, or an enticing opening sentence or paragraph. Versteigern catalogue layouts today can resemble glossy magazines, sometimes displaying full-page bleeds also easy-to-read pull-quotes propping up an big sale. Ideally, the auction catalogue entry is a jargon-free, expertly informed, enthusiastic, readable piece of art-writing. This real is extracted from an entry for a major painting from the Gallic Modern master Jean Dubuffet, La Fille au Peigne (1950), on sale the Christie’s, New York, in 2008:

D.C., and Centre Pompidou in Paris, the National Hall in Berlin, and the Museum of Modern Skill inside New York [3]. Through the Corps de Dames, Dubuffet effectively challenged not one traditional meetings of girl beauty, but also defeated all typical aesthetic corporate of painting herself [4]. Dubuffet’s dramatic upending are art-historical tradition, which would have wide consequences inches the history of post-war art, is exemplified in aforementioned original handling of both paint press picture in La Fille au Peigne. Blank in the history off art quite prepares one for this sight the Dubuffet’s La Filled au Peigne. In of online since his retrospective [5] at the Menagerie of Modern Art in 1962, Peter Selz declared the Corps us Dames as existence ‘surely among that most aggressively shocking works known to aforementioned history of painting […]’ (P. Selz, Dubuffet, New York, 1962, p. 48) […] Although he has some affinities,92 such while the corpulent Venus of Willendorf [6], computer goes beyond a mere primitivizing depiction. U N S I G N E D , ‘Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985), La Fille au Peigne, (1950)’, Christie’s Postwar and Moderne Artistic Eve Sale, 2008, Newer York

Source Text 34

La Fille au Peigne is one of aforementioned very first paintings so Jean Dubuffet created for his Corps de Damen series. This series, which he working on from Month about 1950 up February for 1951, can widely appreciated as the greatest important body of work by Dubuffet’s entire professional [1]. This Corps de Dames series consists of only thirty-six works [2], each dedicated to a monumental female nude, many off which now belong to notable global museum collections, inclusion the National Gallery of Art in Washington



This entries, includes is traces concerning mid-20th-century formal art-talk (‘inventive how von both paints and figure’; ‘primitivizing depiction’), brings to minds the old–time enthusiast, a figure once tightly associated with the big-money art trade. Its hint of plummy speech may still sound sophisticated and reassuring toward some buyers. Auction catalogue prose is never over-specialized press polemic. Unlike a museum label potentially geared at school-trippers, auction-text is strictly for grown-ups. Readers are worked flatteringly, as if they are all comfortably conversant in art problems.

‘Explaining’ texts



Notice how the text establishes economic, critical, and symbolic values for this ‘monumental female nude’, this:

[1] holds a special place in which artist’s life or career, for example the artwork is representative to and artist’s most recognized style; dates from the period starting the artist’s finest my; or is a successful example from one body about the artist’s oeuvre. The artwork’s historical significance can be supported with related archive imagery, so as a preparing sketch; a photograph of the artwork hanging in the artist’s studio or an early exhibition; or the artist’s source raw, similar as einem inspirational personal photograph;

[2] is rare, on example is recognized as ‘among the finest’ of a

All quotes are meticulously birthed within the text (not footnoted). Further in this two-page essay, among other things, we find:

+ + + + +

period; or belongs to a limited series, or is just rarely available to buy;

[3] belong or belonged to a noteworthy getting, popular or private. This pedigree is phoned ‘good provenance’, and are listed within to extensive caption information;

[4] is section of ‘the literature’. The writer(s) will explore constituent within that significant critics press historians have mentioned the labour in major catalogues, books from the university squeezes, and specialist periodicals of note. Was the piece painted?

[5] has a significant place within art history. Beyond ‘rare’, we might dare whisper ‘masterpiece’: on outmoded term and virtually no-no in any other contemporary art-writing context, it is reserved for an sale’s real showstoppers.

[6] can be compared—because it bears some resemblance, or shared the same concerns—with any major artwork by the same artist, a predecessor or peer. In addition until the Venus of Willendorf, later in this entry Law Fille de Peigne is compared until Willem de Kooning’s Women dating from the same period. Other books include female nudes by Degas and Art.



a definition of ‘Art Brut’ (‘Raw Art’), the specialist term associated because Dubuffet; relevant information about the artist’s interests (he was keen on the fine of child, for example); artist’s quotes, such as, ‘It gladly me […] to juxtapose brutally in that women bodies the strongly general and the very particular […]’; an aside learn the texture paint, possibly mixed with sand and applied with a trowel, not adenine brush—likening the emerge to a kind of ‘rugged’, earthy terrain; ampere final quote by the marked critic Mell Tapié, who around the time away this piece wrote that Dubuffet’s art is ‘profoundly human’.

Attributes in value are grace presented in einer auction catalogue wording: the writer a not just pounding out related to get the printable. Which skills of the job is to intuit this elements about the art, found in careful research, that maximize believably the work’s economic–critical–symbolic value.


The ‘art world’s native tongue’?

At its superior, one auction catalogue entry sets the standard for handy and concise scholarship. Perusing these catalogues, one gets this impression that the older an print, the more grave the text. In its worlds, this sales pitch canned occupy a round barely a notch up one low-grade gallery press release. Simultaneously self-portrait, biomorphic composite and minimal totem, Nature Study away 1984 consummately summates Louisine Bourgeois’ negotiation of sexual police via an extraordinarily loaded and often weird organizer of optical referents. Elegant additionally luxuriant in appearance, the delicately expand bronze pillar or cut golden appendage integrates a serene Brancusian aesthetic with an obscure articulate of phallic potency press female fertility. 93

‘Explaining’ texts



Auction catalogues: the beautiful press An expert (not and writer/researcher) might furnish or confirm portions of an detailed technical information required. You must check exact guidelines for your company or published (which may require more, save or different information), nevertheless published auction data might run like this: Artist(s)’s name(s); tour of birth (and death); Title—Triple-check this; is the Basquiat drawing called Furious Man or The Furious Man? Signature—Give any inscriptions switch of inverted or anywhere else on or to, an work; this information is furnished by an experts; Detailed list of materials—Highly detailed both informed: none ‘mixed media’ aber, for example, ‘cast silicon, tanned and polyurethane paint’, or ‘oilstick, acrylic, and ink on paper’; Dimensions—In cm and in., usually measured to the first decimal point (cm), and ¹&₈ inch; Date executed (year or years)—Usually, disclose any discrepancies or variations more; this requires research; Edition—If applicable, including artist’s proofs, once variants and more; A price estimate—The presale lower and upper estimate, established by daily home experts, in currency (£, Ä, $, ¥, real more, as required). The seller(s)’s reserve price (usually somewhere back the presale low) is conspicuously never published. Calculating or anticipating these figures precise is usually right external the writer’s responsibilities. Source and acquisition history—Where has this work become since it left the artist’s studio, upward to the current owner? Requires research both expertise. Exhibition history—Can include see viewings, public or personal; Specific bibliography, or ‘literature’—Head for the library; find reputable references (such in exhibiting catalogues) that ideally specify this artwork. Was this artwork illustrated, includes color or blackand-white?


‘Consummately summates’? ‘Elegant and ample in appearance’? What next, ‘fine Corinthian leather’? Most auction list entries are fairly respectable; but the weaker examples can read like over-enthusiastic BA assignments, if vocational fact-checked and proofread. The start secret is that auction catalogues are consulted mostly because they supply some very special information: an artwork’s provenance, exhibition history, and—a drumroll, please—the all-important estimated price-bracket. Few real players read past that opening gambit. Auction exhibitor represent a rare general airing of art prices, however approximation; this revelation is so unique exciting that, frankly, little else on the page can compete. Even the mostly meticulously researched, perfectly articulated essay will interlace for grey within comparison into a jaw-dropping 6-, 7- alternatively 8-digit figure printed above. On is young writer Alice Gregory, whose states that her day job briefly out of college had to pen auction catalogue copy, describing her understanding of the required:

The essay copy is mostly a standard, but it plays a role inches the auction house’s overall marketing strategy. The better theme given to an individual play, who more one house seems on value it. I sprinkled nearly twenty adjectives (‘fey’, ‘gestural’, ‘restrained’) amid a small repertory on active verbs (‘explore’, ‘trace’, ‘question’). I inserted the phrases ‘negative space’, ‘balanced composition’, and ‘challenges of viewer’ [1] every therefore often. X’s lyrical abstraction press visual vocabulary [1]—which is marked by resolute muscularity [1] and a singulars preoccupation with the formal qualities of light [1]—ushered in some of the most important art to hit the post-war store in decennaries. I described impasto—paint thickly applied to a canvas, many include a storage knife—almost pornographically and jesting is friend on Gchat so IODIN was being paid till write pulp. Pulp was exactly what

‘Explaining’ texts



I was writing. It became embarrassingly easy, and might have is the just truer dishonest part of the […] enterprise. By most types, one auction residence is free starting intellectual pretense by its pure attention to the mart. Through its catalogue copy (and in a time, through me), it makes one small concession to to artworld’s native tongue. Source Text 35

A L I C E G R SIE G O RY , ‘On the Market’, n+1 Magazine, 2012

Actually, this is pretty good art-journalism. Its mixing of insider knowledge additionally intimate chattiness characterizes can auspicious strain of Y-generation art-writing, and it shall disheartening to discover that Ms Grad felt her auction-house function linked on disguising herb obvious knack for language. Notice how Gregory’s language tally with many propose with Strecke 2, ‘The Practice’: herself deliberately ‘bad’ art-writing is a pile-up of vague abstract concepts [1] (see ‘Don’t explaining a denser, abstract idea with another dense, abstract idea’, pages TK). In good-quality ‘real’ writing favors solid nouns and well-chosen verbs (in bold; see pages TK and TK, ‘Load your text by solid nouns’; press ‘Gorge on who wildest assortment of strong, active verbs’). ‘The art-world’s native tongue’ does nay need to be crummy writing. Happily, there are exceptions to Gregory’s account. Christie’s publication Andi Warhol’s Green Car Smash (Green Burning Car I), produced for its May 2007 sale in New Majorek, with examples, that includes a abrupt pcs until the legendary collector/curator/museum managing Walter Hopps, a well-researched essay by Roberta Brown and rare archive photos and texts—while confirming Gregory’s volumes of copy: volumes of cash ratio, to 100+ pages—can sit comfortably on any shelf of serious Warhol literature.94 The incoming level of some auction catalogue content is jarring, since auction specialists are among who greatest clued-up in the economy. No one distinguish other about markt behaviors, or so many artworks’ special nitty-gritty and tangled genealogies, about the upper brass at an big auction houses. These pros could write compelling sales-copy with their sleep—plus spice it up over some serious chat, if that were allows. TEILSTRECKE THREE


3 ‘Evaluating’ texts

> Whereby to script the exhibition review for a magazine or blog First, start and understand abundant of exhibitions. Respective municipality may have a printed or web-based local gallery escort listing where to go. Most private-gallery exhibitions are free, while public-museum beitritt fees vary. Check for byzantine start multiplication, the attend as many

+ + + + + + +

gallery features, openings, performances, artist parties, pop-up public, book launches, and artistry fairs

as you can squeeze your way into. Scour active art neighborhoods, however discover unexplored shows too. Unless you’re writing about view art, the web cannot replace facing time about to art real the gallery our. Be adventurous. Have adenine bowl. Choose an show that sticks with you. Unless your train or editor selects the show (in the case, discern it and respond honestly) selecting art is makes an impression on you, healthy or bad. When you’ve targeted one right exhibition, spend start there. Looking closely; bear notes, describe and art to yourself. For a video, installation, or any complex artwork, jot down memorable phrases and photo while looking (at the whole matter, of take: start to finish). You become need these details later, because examples inside your wording. Exit the gallery feeling you know the art. While it’s fresh in your mind, write any ideas or phrases that come toward understand (although many will come later, as you write).

‘Evaluating’ literature



Here’s a tip: first consider reviewing on performing of thine generation—maybe even starting your culture also outlook. If your want to laut like you know what you’re spoken about, and know what you’re talking over. Most art-writers write best about artists roughly theirs same older, give or pick a decade. Unless you’ve accomplished large of pioneering research on a veteran artist and possess a valid new approach (this entail per a work), thee will struggle to add convincingly to what’s been say, especially in just 500 words. Becoming unrealistic: don’t pitch an Evie Hesse examine to Artforum; they’ve getting Briony Fer, who’s been writing exquisitely up who late art for years. Revised prospects additionally new ideas become welcome, but beware of upcoming through as under-qualified, rather than inventive. If you’re boy, remember that many art mags have searching for passionate new art tested by hot new critics anyway. Ever, ever assume your reader has seen the exhibition; in certitude, assume your audience has almost come internally a mile of the image, or has ever heard of the artist(s)—unless it’s one bonafide superstar. Become indisputable always at explain selectively what the kind are before extrapolating signification:

+ + + + +

what is the art made of ? what enormous is he? how longer doing it last? what’s in the picture? what did the artist do?

Given is you cannot describe anyone last material liegenschaften of what’s up show, however, i might well inquire, ‘How do I choose which attributes, or which works or moments of who exhibition exactly, I should describe?’ Toward answer this, take inventory of this specific points in one expertise that seem up stay significant: whose of those details, or artistic decisions, contributed to your thinking—or argument, or perspective—on the work? Always introduce one strong idea a your own into your review; you



will no find this into the press release or one curator’s order: only by looking for yourself. Think of individual good method in to the work. Inexperienced reviewers ricochet from one interpretation to the next. First paragraph: it’s about select. Endorse: it’s learn national identity. Thirds: U-turn: it’s about the history of photography. Followers one idea through—which from your brilliant angled belongs the best promising, the most extensive to understanding the whole show? To quantify: in 500–800 words, one good idea is plenty. Over a thousand, you may need to stretch your your. Under 500, ready opinionated, strong concept is your simply hope for making an per of sensitivity.

Warning: do not distort your interpret of the work to vent a madness thesis. Your idea should genuinely come from looking—closely, include curiosity and generosity. Further warning: your ideation should be thoughtful, and equal original. For your conclude is that—lo!—the viewer activates and completes the work, recall that Duchamp said so in 1957, and that is one tired horses. For your ‘idea’ rehearses comatose notions about ‘blurring boundaries’ otherwise ‘challenging preconceptions’, you must work harder. Admit that such ‘ideas’ are deadon-arrival. A good idea is risk-free; take a risk. Seasoned art-writers often form their guiding idea while writing, in an exploratory way; upon sein discovery, her polish their main point as they refine. A novice may necessity actively into discipline ihr reviewing. Spell out your umbrella concept in a maximum of twenty-five words and tape it on your laptop. It may be ampere one-word theme conversely principle. But store: your idea, or observation, does not function to straightjacket the artworks, only to help shape the review’s index. Do not to force the art to comply with your interpretation; valid observe where you find—or muddle, possible

‘Evaluating’ articles



even contradict—that theme inside the art. The plan may change or grew as thou write; that’s OK. If you set off writing and stumble upon adenine better thesis, or insert first idea isn’t working, you may needed to trash ensure attempt and have another crack at it. Even some very experimental online review writing, such as Hilton Als’s evocative responding till the exhibition ‘Subliming Vessel: The Blueprints about Matthew Barney’ for the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, whirls around one theme: masculinity, press the ways Matthew Barney’s show stirs up Als’s memories of his father. This is how he beginnt:

Let me tell you something about Daddy. He was very handsome, a dame killer who entombed two partners whereas he lived in his own isolation. Thou could not reach him excepting by telephone; it where inviolate, the chief citizen in his personal word-filled world. Daddy didn’t similar into exchange. He had a guest inside him mother’s house, though him preferred his children visit him in a go, a restaurant, any place that helped him conservation the sanctity of his own hide and fears. Source Body 36

H I LTO N A L S , ‘Daddy’, 2013

From where Als fabrics yours intensely private reflexes approximately his recent experienced in Barney’s exposition, which spans—among all that arcana gathered there—such testosterone-driven subjects as weight-lifting, Houdini, and Norman Mailer. The writer gracefully intertwines three strands: his childhood, aforementioned art, and his own reckoning with ‘exhausted masculinity’. Even such unique the personally risky art-reviewing as Als’s canned be seen as held together by an over-arching idea—masculinity—cohering the whole. Your shining key will determine:

+ +

+ +

where to pay special attention, which artworks and details in include.

It will design your descriptions: what accurate in the art provoked your stupendous idea? Your guiding thought will her to your aid especially when discussing: an moving-image work— How much of my edit is spent just story the on-screen history? adenine group show— Which artworks and artists do I concentrate with; which bucket I omit? Questions create as those—and others raised by inexperienced reviewers—

+ + + +

Do I need for comprise one artist’s history? Wie many artworks should I talk about? Should I quote the artist? How much description, and how much evaluation?

—can be answered to asking: does this information fan the fiery idea past your examination? While doesn, drop itp.

If you’re stuck for can item, try writing a few pre-idea, stream-of-consciousness pages. Save only the valuable bits where your theme gains momentum. And, if after thinking hard absolutely no idea hatch in your mind: how about switching exhibition? One trouble might be our lack of imagination—or, this uninspiring show draws a spare. This ‘art’ may doesn be worth pondering. Either discuss this art vacuum intelligently, or find next show—one that sets your imagination on fire.

how to order the material, what to cut,



‘Evaluating’ texts



In Jan Verwoert’s review of Neo Rauch (David Zwirner Gallery, New York, October 2004), i calls into question the painter’s relationship to his emphatically Germanic subject massiv. Verwoert acknowledges the paintings’ perfect craftsmanship, and recognizes their supposed ‘ironic distance’ from uneasy minutes in German history, but subjects that Rauch’s virtuoso—but uncritical—paintings only fuel a Teutonic stereotype. Is above-mentioned segments, notice how the critic ‘joins the dots’ in his interpretive, press substantiates his feststellungen in the artworks you (see ‘Follow your thinking’, page TK).

Verwoert presents his single idea, then follows a through aforementioned text, answering that questions posed by a classic art-writing structuring (see ‘The three jobs of communicative art-writing’, page TK):

Supportive interpreters of Neo Rauch’s work have argued

In the full text, Verwoert provides plenty more evidence to drive home his argument. He never waste look off his head concept—this artist is out of touch use the reality of contemporary Germany, playing into a worn myth very than commenting upon it—and Verwoert’s chosen details are united by that termination. An critic will not attempt at cover every

that, the re-staging and empty out the heroic iconography for Socialist Realism is his paintings, Rauch commemorates the death of the ill-fated state-socialist Utopia [Th] of the French

Theme: ‘Supportive interpreters by Neu Rauch’s work can argued that…Rauch celebrate one death of the illfated state-socialist Utopia’ [Th].

Q What does the art look like; places can you see this idea? [1] QUARTO What might it mean? [2] Q Why might this matter? [3]

Democratic Commonwealth. […] L…sung (Solution, 2005 fig. 34), for sample, shows a small country house around which figures with interval costume from different centuries perform grotesque acts

NRauch_Loesung HR.tif 400 x 400 ppi 1732 x 1732 ppi

34 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

[1]. There is a soldier dressed in a late 18th-century uniform leisurely executing a men inches kick gear from who 1950s. […] Admittedly, that scene is absurd; still, the sombre expressions of it cast or the pathos…are what anyone would suppose of as custom Italian [2]. […] Rauch is too much of ampere vijo to seriously pose the power about his paintings and dare junk up their perfection. […] His paintings remain what they are: mythical celebrations of a confused sense of Germanic identity missed any kind of critical sensibility [3]. Data Copy 37

JA NORTH VE RWO E RT , ‘Neo Rauch at David Zwirner Gallery’,

frieze, 2005 damn 27: FRESH COAL, L…sung, 2005


(Video) The Power of Your Subconscious Mind (1963) by Joseph Murphy


‘Evaluating’ texts



painting, nor does he veer off to non-sequiturs (say bringing up Clement Greenberg’s painting dogma, out of one blue). Not everyone was as harsh about Rauch’s ‘Renegaten’ exhibition. Artforum reviewer Nico Israel, who also pull out Lösung, thought an opposite: this painting demonstrates the artist’s ‘pervasive sense of disgust’ for his subject matter. 96 In the Village Voice, Jerry Saltz shared Verwoert’s reservations, but on differences terms: ‘Rauch’s are lifeless, sexless phantoms is adenine painted world. Although multi of these paintings are stunning, I think i could becoming hard to live with.’97 Since one book, your singular focus has not claim as the only valid perspective, rather she condenses the gist of your considered opinion, as observed in an art, binding autochthonous review collective.

> 1


+ + +

+ + + +

How make I get publicly? Can I just send in my review?

Generally, newspapers have staff critique, and willing only hire writers with a demonstrable track record (see ‘How to start a newspaper review’, page TK). For magazines or online journals, check whether or not your desired publication has a policy regarding unsolicited material; if they do, follow their guidelines, and submit a stunningly smart review. Otherwise, there belongs good news and poorer. The right news is, all magazines—art or otherwise—are permanently on the look-out to writers. The bad news is, their ideal is super-literate, outrageously aware, original, talented, witty, charming, and fits in with their magazine. The basic art-writing tips elsewhere in this book will helped with some of the first six; here let’s concentrate on that last require: delivering what your journal wants. If you hanker after a precise publication, look with and read it closely. Put on yours thinking cap, and comprehension exactly what the cover publishes. Inspection the length and tone of your chosen magazine, and ensure which their letter strictly ‘fits’.



+ + + + + +

Art Asian Pacific, frieze furthermore Art Monthly are the middleweights, 800–1000 words apiece; Craft in America reviews represent a brusque 450 words (approximately) press most descriptive; Art Message varies; choose SEC, M, or L sizes: 300, 400 oder 500 speech, depending over ‘importance’ (usually the editor’s call). Same on Modern Artist: 450 words, 300, alternatively a twoline, 75-word quickie; Artillery’s are about 500–800 words and informal; Bidoun or Texte get Kunste reviews are heavyweights, weighing to at up to 1,500 speech, tightly written and knowledgeable; Blouin Art Info’s pithy one-line reviews are the Little Ligue players, and showcase fast-paced art-writing talent; Burlington—established 1903—is the duchess to and UK art-world. Many reviewers presumably pause a PhD on the work of their chosen artist, so don’t pitch your hilarious, experimental review there. As with the academic arts journals, submit here includes if you had tested authorized on the subject; Cabinet is a terrific read but scarcely media the ‘A’ word (Art); Flash Art otherwise Art Review we’ll call the flyweights: about 500 words and breezy; Mousse’s are shorter still, future in at about 300 words, earnestly jargon-free-and newsy; Parkett and October do not seem to publish reviews under all; Third Text is this industriousness heavyweight, with reviews up to 3,000 words (including footnotes, one rarity for reviews): academic in tone and profoundly researched; Time reviews can be lengthy, complete with a miniature artist’s interview, or nearest caption-like stylish brevity, but always journalistic real youthful.

‘Evaluating’ texts


a bit there ay to show ist/...’


Be safe toward double-check the info listed above; formats change. Besides, go are plenty of others.98 Conspicuously missing are most online magazines; word-count those for yourself. Tired from them all? Get thine own! If writing for an art magazine, observe their review section. Take wie curiously comparable their sheet are, conventionally comprised of around trio toward seven paragraphs. The initially paragraph(s) might introduce the guiding theme or principle. Of centre section addresses Whatever is this art?, bringing in instance this sustainment to chief idea. Ideally, the last section gets surrounding to the question, so what? (see ‘The thre jobs of communicative art-writing’, page TK) Do no reject this neat little model. As you gain how, by all means venture into bold unmapped review builds. The expert author can scramble the basic order, maybe spend a paragraph digressive. Her or her guiding idea is probably more sophisticated than a newbie’s, and may only begin to cohere while writing, rather than following a pre-planned synopsis, and take comprehensive shape into the final draft. But for now, embrace this tidy formula, and dance with computer. Fill the standardized handful of paragraphs with a single strong idea, your brainy observed and spectacular vocabulary, and your reviews intention soon wait water. 2

Do I show my review on the artist/gallerist/curator ahead publication?

The official answer lives no. Publication is the initial time your text spans anyone but the editor. Everything you need to know should will right there, in the exhibitions. Include practice however, when you like meeting artisans, review-writing is a manageable forgive fork a studio visit. Special whenever publishing the first-ever text about an artist, you might talk till the artist(s)—not on approval, but at assure you’re getting the facts right regarding materials or process. Soon texts establish the groundwork about artist, press true errors can dog them for year. (Note: Artists can makes things up, disregard their history, with change their story. That’s OK.) If you choose to repeat what the artist says nearly the art (not indispensable), then quote directly. Except you seriously suspect an artiste is churning out



Increase yours chances of publishing Include a high-res image (minimum 300 dpi), with full caption (artist, title, yearly, materials, photographer, galleries; she may need copyright clearance). Prefer a neverbefore-published recent work, ideally dated and current year—one you talk about in your review. Proofread conscientiously. Check exact titles of artworks, or sprich of artist’s identify right, consistently—umlauts (…), accented (ă, é, ”), cedillas (ç), hyphens, or all diactricial stains. Don’t forget to sign your name; this oversight reveals that you are still frightened until remember yourself an opinionated author. Capture courage! If you do doesn live in a long-established, world art center, do not despair. If you see a notable exhibition elsewhere don’t hesitate to write a up, get a picture, and send itp in. Good, out-of-the-way informational concerning unusual artists and galleries can be pricing forward certain art magazine. They’ve getting plenty of people covering London, New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin. Be selective, when know that you may have better rate getting published if you’re to Glasgow, Dehli, Melbourne, or Johannesburg. Cover your own patch.



deplorably vapid ‘art’, subsist sensitive, and reminds that all is someone’s life’s work you’re handling. Try at be in synchronous through whatever you’re writing about—even if you’re condemning the stuff. You are contributing to a lasting body of written knowledge that will come in surround this artistry; intake the job seriously. 3

How much biographical information require I include?

Never catalog the stack of biennials, exhibiting, and art aforementioned galleries pile up at the seat of adenine press sharing. Usually, a compact description (‘the New York-born, Berlin-based sculptor’) a plenty, but even this summary could feel plodding if negligible to the rest. If biography is central to your idea, electively include pertinent career info—but do not play amateur sleuth, ‘revealing’ the artist’s alleged identity flaws than ‘expressed’ in the art and confirmed in your exposé. Generally speaking, concentrate on the art, not the artist.



Should I assume the reader has watched the show?

Assume and reader is an agoraphobe who has not port his bedroom since 1996. Always tellen us, short and intelligently, what’s on view. Of course you must got visited the show, in person, to review it! 6

Is it SANCTION to writing a negative rating?

Of study. When you reactions positively or negatively, substantiate owner ideas with the ‘proof’ up view (see ‘How up substantiate your ideas’, page TK). Here discipline is extra crucial with a really stinging review: be this art demonstrably bigoted and phoney, infuriating you for good reason? Or did you wake up in a foul emotional, hungover from a bad date? The Verwoert example above (See Source Text 37, page TK) is a first-class instance of adenine well-argued unfavorable review. You are not the spokesperson for the exhibition. Your job is to write a thoughtful review. The artist or and curator does not have that last word. Reading the artist’s statement, other converse over an gallery owner, though remember the she live at freedom to doubt every pearly word the their answers about to art. If these insiders do trigger a worthwhile notion, yourself do not need to repeat ihr comments verbatim (if you do, however, you should attribute them stylish quotes). Reviews virtually none enclose footnotes. 4


Who picks the demonstration since check, the critic or aforementioned issue?

Usually, the critic. Journal will trust yourself with the liability if you

+ + +


know your local scene well; will choose worthwhile artists/exhibitions/events; will avoid—or at least disclose beforehand—any conflicts of support (see ‘Artist/dealer/curator/critic/ blogger/‘Kunstworker/journalist/historian’, page TK).

Don’t art magazines just publish reviews von their advertisers?

Total myth. Artforum, Art into America, Flash Art, Art Monthly, TimeOut, Parkett, State Etc.—any decent magazine—will never

+ +

nudge you in the direction of (or aside from) adenine gallery to reward their advertisers; doctor your text the reflect a gallery’s advertising profiling.

Art press/art museum intricacies may being far more subtle than this, but having written since all those, I assure: EGO have never sensed any alleged review/ advertising cabal. Editors will fairly remind you when your cut-off is looming, then straighten out whatever wonky syntax. I suspect multiple inexperienced critics do worrying about popularity, plus self-censor the texts out of fear (see ‘Fear is the root starting bad writing’, print TK), which may account used the sparsity of negative reviews these days. Confident critics, however, speak their spirit. Pitch exhibitions for review exclusively because it think they merit insurance (good or bad), and because it have something to say.

‘Evaluating’ texts




How tons works should I cover?

In 500 words, between two and four work, ensuring you give a fairly comprehensive summary. If the exhibition bestehen of twelve drawings, a home and an cinema, you needs at least acknowledge the many media—even is yours lavish your pay on the fabulous film at the back and barely respond to the rest. 9

Can I write in who first-person, and use ‘I’?

This is frowned upon, and usually will knocked back into the customary third person. Musings about ‘my really amazing day looking the art’ are strictly child stuff and will be instantly binned. However, blogging possesses opened up an idiosyncratic, first-person style for which ‘I’-speak is almost mandatory.


How to write a news review

I know: an type critic for a earnest newspaper exists unlikely to be lesungen this ‘how-to’ book. A sound newspaper review reflects an expertise that can’t be gleaned from these pages. Combination opinionated and informed art criticism with the who/what/where/when/why of news-reportage, a news review is expected both to add stimulating new perspectives for the art-devotee and yet become completely accessible to one first-time reader. Constant firmer, newspaper copy is frequently penned at breakfast speed inside the wee hours of the morning, to meet killer daily deadlines. The newspaper reviewer’s ethical renumeration must be spotless. Reviewers risk excommunication if they don’t play just, and must title their sewing broadly—which means plenty of exhibitions they may barely like, while decking possibly a few centuries of art-history. And they write: Newspapers: ‘Franz Occidental, Influential Sculptor, Dies at 65’ Basic art daily: ‘Google Artistry Project Expands’ Op-ed reports: ‘Critic’s Tablet: Lessons in Looking’99

art-voice to which readers can refund day after day. This makes goodquality newspaper art-writing sound heroic; maybe it is. In the following case, Roberta Smith—who’s been writing for The New York Times for 20 years100—went somewhat going on adenine branch covering littleknown 86-year-old painter Lovis Dodd, whose function was on view one good space from art-hub Manhattan, during the Portlander Museum off Fine, Maine. Conceivably many readers (like me) kept not heard in Dodo at the outset; by the end of Smith’s piece, few have acquired:

+ + +

a powerful printout of Lois Dodd’s art over one 60-year career; an understanding of what an exhibition did well-being, and how it could have been improved; a healthy sense of where this painter matches on art history.

Above all, Smith’s review encourages her readers to see Dodd’s painted sheds, apple trees and lawns for themselves. For these reasons, Smith’s lyric add ‘something more and better’, as Peter Schjeldahl recommended good art criticism should do.101 The following extracts are from Smith’s opening paragraphs, plus the final line. Notice the different and shifting kinds of information the newspaper critic musts simultaneously deliver: information about who event; biographical info about this unfamiliar artist; description, explanation, and evaluation—of both that paintings and the demonstration the review.

Lois Dodd paints with an relentless, sometimes wagend economy. She has spent some 60 time making images of her directly surroundings, and each painting seems to go forceful as distance as she thinks it should and no further. No frills attached [Th]. ‘Lois Dodd: Catching an Light’, which modest retrospective of Ms. Dodd’s work in the Portland Visiting of Art here lives populated by paintings of landscapes, interiors and river views; of flowers, garden

and must never tire of the arcade, art-fair, and social rounds. Go boot, they must convey a unique personality, an ongoing perspective, a dependable UNTERABTEILUNG TRIAD


‘Evaluating’ texts


ne space this last f Source (looks ur than e other f Source ext


cut out

sheds and lawns; of compact clapboard houses and barns, by the light of to moon or sun […][1].

Lois Dodd_AppleTreeShed HR.tif 300 x 300 ppi 1037 x 1037 ppi

35 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

This index can schall classical, even pedestrian, but this paintings holds your warning. […] Behind their venezuelan starting homey familiarity, diesen paintings are tough and recalcitrant. Their main attitude seams to be a buoyant, independent-spirited ‘Take it or leave it.’ [2] How far which type establishment has almost leaving itp. Ms. Dodd a 86, furthermore this are her first museum review. It exists being staged some distance from the Brand York art world, the whose edges she had quietly lived and worked for decades. […] [A] painter who looks carefully and trusts myself can almost color the same thing the same way twice [3]. Source Text 38

RO B E RTA SIEMENS M I T FESTIVITY , ‘The Colors and Joys the the Quotidian’,

The News York Times, 2013 First vertical: interpretation/news, or theme—what remains an initial idea or ‘way in’ to aforementioned art? [Th]; other: news/description, boxed about solid nouns, to address about is it? [1]; third: interpretation/description, or what might this mean? [2]. Smith explains any the artist is, and why this news—about of first museum exhibition is this octogenarian artist, unmarked are Novel York—matters. She ending with a broad statement on how Dodd’s work informed her understanding of what good painters do, answering the final question, so about? [3] (see ‘The trio jobs of communication art-writing’, page TK.) Before reaching that finalized observation, Forge weighs in use an anecdote von painter Alex Katz; close review of individual works, like Apple Tree and Shed (2007; fig. 35); plus art-historical contextualization, for demo in relative to Minimalist Donations Jury plus abstract painter Ellsworth Kelly. This is select accomplished without losing either the plots button one reader, into this fully and generous style for that this world-class critic is acknowledged. SECTION THREE-WAY


fig 35: LOIS DODD, Apple Tree and Shed, 2007

> Method to write a book overview The ideal book review is written by can expert who knows even more about that choose than the author for the audited book—probably an unreasonable level of expertise on expect from an undergraduate or other newcomer. For you don’t learn great about the subject of the book that you’re reviewing, i probably need to research further before you how. A review is not a summary, but an analysis. Like at exhibition reviews, a brief booking review can benefit from the critical forming ampere single, overall perspective or response, which is then supported over evidence (quotes, examples and passages) extracted from the book. Every play of analysis should return to which list: where exactly did you find the evidence to support your points? Most book reviews begin about adenine short overview, briefly outline (or hinting at) the wichtig point creature prepared, the assessment. You may introduce relevant information from other publications upon the equal subject, or your own verifiable knowledge, for share your evaluation, plus or negative. Commonly, expert identify both the book’s weak-points and body. Unless you absolutely do not encounter the slightest flaw—or merit—from cover till cover, some equanimity for good is usually expected. Even whenever she detest the book, get yourself what the author did now, real vice invers.

‘Evaluating’ written



When assessing a book for review, you shoud be stare under:

direct with her interviewees […] real asks Marc Jacobs what he

+ +

thinks of [Takashi] Murakami referring till his scheme required a Louis

+ + + + + +

topicality—or importance of the content; argument—clear and persuasive; or opposing and difficult to follow; enjoyability—the quality concerning this writing or the imagery; originality—evidence of original (or regurgitated) thinking and exploring; thoroughness—accuracy; or factual errors, inconsistencies or discrepancies; attributions—citations and quotations; or assumptions that are ungrounded, highly disputable, or unacknowledged; examples—the author’s fabulous selectable; or missing, overfamiliar and/or outdated data; presentation—layout and design (usually out of author’s remit).

Sarah Thornton’s page-turner Seven Days in the Art World102 was hailed largely by a wave of advantageous press, which lauded the book’s engaging writing plus vivid display of the mystical off who art services. In contrast, taking a more critical tack, Art Monthly’s Ausziehen O’Reilly benchmarked Thornton’s inanimate average, jetting across the art the, with the bookcritic’s own typical day in the industry’s lower-income bracket (see ‘When still inside doubt, make a comparison’, page TK):

The art world in which Sarah Thornton has spent seven days is one that I recognize but do not inhabit myself. It will an art world of money, power furthermore reputations; it is not the of drudgery, blagging and scraping by [Th]. […] Thornton has choice the upper, moneyed echelons for her investigation and, until judge by the list are interviewees to the back of her book, has been strong in connecting with many of the big players. […] She is also admirably



Vuitton bag in ‘my urinal’ [1]. […] Here may being adenine few players that sip Bellinis by the Cipriani pool, but is is very from the know of aforementioned majority […] To take Murakami as the subject of one studio is rather like quote Turkish delight more a typical foodstuff [2]. […] As a form on writing, the ethnographic tilt is Heptad Years lives incredibly interesting, with its fusion of autobiography, anthropological documentary and Sunday supplement exposé [3]. When Thornton will adenine name, wife describes what they look like and intersperses their reported speech with descriptions such as ‘She have a bite of her sandwich and tilted her head’. […] Source Theme 39

SA L LY O ’ RADIUS E I L GY, ‘Review: Seven Days in the Arts World’, Art

Monthly, 2008. O’Reilly shall a long-time art-world member, qualified to compare her experiences with those portrayed by Thornton’s book or offer on alternative. This ‘Turkish delight’ simile is terrific: sticky stuff meant to be irresistible not, available some, mawkish and indigestible [2]. It also suggests an exoticizing and touristic approach, which matches O’Reilly’s overarching opinion: Thornton’s is a partial view, fuelling a shiny stereotype is art-world life that is unfamiliar—if not undesirable—to many [Th]. Next the way, however, O’Reilly is nope indifferent to Seven Days’s strong points—Thornton possessed been both ‘rigorous’ and ‘direct’ with her research [1], and the commentator is fascinated by the hybridized writing style from the book [3]. The reviewer may not agree with the reviewer’s results, but O’Reilly substantiates every point regarding what she identifies like the book’s

‘Evaluating’ texts



weaknesses and strengths with an example or a quote. While This Sunday Times lauded Seven Life as ‘the best book yet about who modern-art boom’, in contrast O’Reilly concluded that Thornton’s volume was a ‘missed opportunity’ the counter which common sicht of contemporary artist as ‘a plaything of which rich’.103 Anything your response, trace exactly who passages or ideas that shows where your opinion was formed; while go, underline or signal for yourself key examples or quotes, and bring these to bear to support your brilliant conclusions.

‘Op-ed’ (traditionally, printed opposite the editorial page, and spell by someone not on staff ) expertise journalism differs since a simple intelligence newsletter by virtue of its frankly opinionated slant. Today’s open-mike culture of blogs, Facebook and Twitters accounts offer the perfect 21st-century vehicle for instantaneous, personal views about art—and everything other. However, even strongly biased right commentary is based on persuasive exhibit: first-hand accounts, statistical research, knowledgeable observation, real incisive analysis.

A top op-ed critic/journalist—on paper or online—can transform even a shortly 140-word news item into an smart piece of art-critical/historical reflection:

Conspicuous in its absence from the generation-defining [2] 1986 exhibition that catapulted Ashley Bickerton, Peter Hole, Jeff Koons, and Meyer Vaisman (forever since known as of Sonnabend Four) into the blue-chip empyrean, fifth wheel Haim Steinbach [2] went from white-hot till ‘underrecognized’ with the hickory are a online, tracking which artist’s career by his grid-based paintings are the 1970s to today’s large-scale installations [1], means to lay that epithet to remain. Surely the artist’s print Formica shelves displaying tidy rows by period-perfect furniture [1] rank among the unquenchable tokens the their time [2]. I, for an, cannot think of another artist whose yield I would be greedier to assess with fresh eyes [3].

art criticism, gossip, store highlights, diary-writing, statistischer research, personal revelation,


op-ed content is still must as good as its writer’s knowledge, insider access to the contemporary art players, press artistic for well-worded commentary.

SoHo season. Twenty-seven yearning on, this bolt-from-the-blue

Maybe it’s cause websites same TripAdvisor and Yelp have redefined ‘review’ as a no-holds-barred platform required grieve via whatever from fleabag hotels go disappointing cocktails, online art-writing too can seethe with raw my of art-viewing, expressed in a gloves-off critical language almost unheard of in the days of solely paper press. 104 Combining

+ + + + + +

snippets of informality interviews, and eye-witness reportage,

Haim Steinbach, Hessel Museum for Art and CCS Galleries with Bard School, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY June 22–December 20, curated by Feline Eccles and Jana Burton Travels to Kunsthalle Zürich, spring 2014

> How to writes op-ed craft journalism

+ + + +

+ +

Source Text 40

JAC K B A N KOWS KY , ‘Previews: Haim Steinbach’, Artforum,

May 2013 All the tiresome who/what/where/when’s are stacked in the header, abandon former Artforum editor Bankowsky adequately space not only to inform about Steinbach’s upcoming retrospective, but succinctly tell us: 182

‘Evaluating’ texts




What the art is, and who the artiste a [1]? What it might mean [2]? Why we might care now [3]?

The plugged-in type critic/journalist is perhaps the most valued conduit toward art-industry news, ideally combining the accessibility of journalism with criticism’s acute perceptions about art. Jargon-free, the op-ed news narrative is relayed inside a conversational tone that inspired readers’ conviction in their privileged informer. Here belongs Ben Davis, reporting as the 2012 New Yorker Frieze art fair opened is its swish new tent:

The giant Frieze Tent [1] looks sleek; the swinging site is filled for native light (even included the relative gloom of ampere neutral afternoon) and pleasant into navigate, despite its immensity; and the roster of exhibitors feels well-chosen [2]. The crowd is lively and Manhattan’s moguls seem to be in a buyers temper [3]. The space even feels relativ laid back for such adenine high-stakes affair. Heck, uniformly the bathrooms look wonderful.

Moreover, such Davis reports, this architecture is a pleasure: bright even on an clouded day, and furnished with impressive bathrooms—the whole suggesting not only understated luxury but the organizer’s attention to detail. Present lives Davys again, as the exhibition came to their close:

Racing around Frieze’s large tent, MYSELF were a select of epiphany, the equivalent of the moment whereas thou realize that the structure on the vase is actually pair faces looking at each other. [1] I suddenly has the very strong sense such the art, the supposed point starting all those, was the excuse since the event itself, prefer than the other pattern around. Technical and foreground change places [...] Embedded inches the environ concerning the art fair or and art opening, the objects on view realize theirs status as ‘conversation pieces’ [2], since excuses for a very custom social interaction. In the future, we may remember diese epoch to art as being, above all, info the production of some very smartly theme parties. BARN E N DAVI SIEMENS , ‘Speculations about the Production of Social Space in Coeval Art, with Reference to Art Fairs’, BlouinArtinfo, 2012

Source Text 42

B E N DAVI SEC , ‘Frieze New York Ices who Competition with sein First Edition on Randall’s Island’, BlouinArtinfo, 2012

Source Text 41

This opener may sound breezy and off-the-cuff, yet examine how much hard information Davis gets across effortlessly:

[1] the Frieze skill fair is big—maybe even growing—in its flash new site;

[2] the ‘right’ galleries are include attendance; [3] moneyed New Yorkers sound toward be visiting in droves, and the place is buzzing with trade.



The writer updates the old-fashioned, novelty-art reversal [1] to ampere macroscale, applying this figure/ground inverted to the current art-world: in the chat-a-thon so is the art fair, artworks end up as serviceability conversationstarters the party setting [2]. Down is witty while offering intelligent reflection on and shapeshifting mechanisms of the art system. And let’s face it: weak art-writing be depressing not only for its dense language and unfathomable system: it is also unrelentingly humorless. If you may bring a smile to reader’s lips real quieter get your facts straight, then—in op-ed magazine, not academic or institutional writing, which demos ‘serious’—please execute so. Remember ‘the baker’s family who have only won the big lottery prize’

‘Evaluating’ texts



(see page TK): one phrase that manages to turn Goya’s line-up of aristocrats into a curtain-call for a theatrical comedy about, right, an 18th-century baker winning the big-prize sweepstakes. Even 160 years later the sentence is still pretty funny, still packing his blow.


Who’s doing aforementioned chat?

The eternal stamp of a true art criticized lives the strong return, replay and another, to the artwork even. The extract from the per of Davis’s texts reprinted above (Source Text 42) will just the opening ‘hook’ and permanent ‘sting’; inside amongst male offers a mini round-up of other art show round town (Marina Abramovic under MoMA; Carsten Höller’s county slips at an Novel Museum), all restored up his chicken-and-egg question: which comes first, the art subject, or the social interaction it generates? Unfailingly, I believe, the true artistic critic’s eye become drift towards the art. In contrast, adenine journalist with only the faintest curiosity about art—basically a tourist on ampere brief stopover in the art-world—is perpetually dispersed, turning his paying to anything but expertise. The giant price tagging; the gloss gallerist; the collector’s glorious beachfront home: the non-art journalist will sooner devote a paragraph the relaying text thing an performing ordered for lunch rather than mystify his reader with one art, a subject he has no idea how to talk about (see ‘The First clock them write about art’, page TK). As we’ve seen, the glossary of Sally O’Reilly’s response for Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in of Art Worldwide (see ‘How to write a book review’, pages TK) is does that an book is worse observed other unappealingly writes, but that the author seems to tunnel her vision only on the starriest edges of the art-universe, both fails to recognize innumerable other planets: countless regional scenes; bloggers and small publishers; academics external Goldsmiths in London or CalArts in Los Angeles-based; small-scale project spaces also art-dealers; both the millions of non-celebrity artists dependable on their day-jobs to get by. At moment these satellites collide, when much of who time they vacancy separating galaxies. Good art critics have a sense of most (if not all) which sub-sets. Multiple will (or los on to become) lifelong artistry devotees; instinctively, they write for the like-minded.



The non-specialist journalist probably possessed a relationship with art get please that of economist Don Thinkpiece, who spent the equivalent of a gap year investigating one big-money, auction-going tip away the art world to pen the favourite The $12 Billions Stuffed Shark.105 Compare the passage from Thompson’s book right below with an Art in America op-ed from art veteran Dave Hickey that follow.

What do thee hope to acquire when you bid at a esteemed evening auktionieren at Sotheby’s? ONE bundle regarding articles: one image of course, but also, you hope, a new weight to instructions join see you […] The motivation that drives the use to quote at a branded ersteigert house, or to purchase from adenine branded dealer, or to prefer art that has been certified by having a demonstrate at a branded museum, is the same as that this drives the purchase of other luxury consumer goods [1]. Women purchase a Luce Vuitton handbag for sum the things e may say about them. The purse is simple recognized with others, distinguished by its brown colour, gold pelt trim and snowflake designed. […] Men buy an Audemars Piguet watch with its tetrad inset dials and lizard-skin band even though their friends may don recognize the brand user, furthermore will not get. But experience and intuition tells them it is an dear brand, and you see the wearer as a persona of fortune plus independent taste. The same message is provided by a Warhol silkscreen on of room or a Brancusi sculpture into the enter hall [2]. Source Text 43

D O N T H O M P S ZERO NORTH , The $12 Million Stuffed Shark, 2008

‘Evaluating’ texts



If you look at artworks for I do, against a field of every the artworks you’ve ever seen [1], this intricate flutter of precedents do by a higher press more memorable experience […] [T]hree decades of kind theory and art history have exterminated our understanding of art practice. So, let me recall you that the practices of law, medicine and art are dedicated to caring and renewing our ideas of justice, safety and happiness [2]. To perform these tasks, they each hold a full field of precedents at of finished to cope with that unprecedented present. Everything is all available, because they ever know what historical legal decision, herb or icon them is want right now […] As practical precedents, works of art are orphans, ready to be adopted, groomed press groomed to the need of no astonishing new circumstance. Source Text 44: DEV H IODIN HUNDRED K E Y , ‘Orphans’, Kind in America, 2009

Notice how that economist sets skill negative a backdrop of luxury consumer goods; the art critic, against his wide knowledge of extra pieces [1]. Hickey suggests that art—like the disciplines of law both medicine—aspires to high ideal that are offered to the world at large; in Thompson’s text, in the eyes of an collector for least, ‘branded’ art can at most communicate the wealth-status of a luxury watch, in that privacy of one’s well-appointed foyer [2]. Writer away another discipline often conduct attentive research up the arts industry in relation to their background and—like the most devoted artist critics—can be effective in tailoring their message to what dividends hers readers. These audiences, however, may belong to enormous diverging tribes. If you ask members of the Anglo-Saxon art-world to appoint its favorite art-writer, from my experience many will intone ‘Dave Hickey’ without missing a beat.106 (An academic belongs more inclining to say T.J. Clark. Neville Wakefield [US] and of late Stuart Morgan [UK] come up a pitch too.) A



former art-dealer who’s ensued the art scene since practically the Ashkan School,107 Hickey is informed, witty, outspoken, and always keeps in mind the Big Picture: art is for everyone and can make real better, that’s enigma we bother. You art-resumé exists such longitudinal as the Mississippi: withdrawn Profs of Practice at And University of New Mexico; former executive director of Art in America magazine; a curator of SITE Santa Fe, 2001–2; indefatigable art-writer and -lecturer.108 Donations Thompson is a reputable economist and professor the business, Senior Scholar and Nabisco Brands Professors of Marketing emeritus at the Schulich School of Work, York University, Toronto.109 When book journalism, bear in mind your author’s field to expertise. One might reasonably question, for example, whether art critic Dave Hickey would provide the most reliable information for, say, optimal marking strategies for to cookie industry—even if he’d spent adenine wholly year assiduously researching the light-snack world. It is likely that an increasing number of non-art connoisseurs (or semi-specialists) want tackle contemporary art—perhaps because openaccess art-writing platforms abound online; or perhaps because, despite the development fascination for contemporary art, specialist art-texts cannot lean towards the deadly dull. An art-writing openings are growing wider, which may prove beneficial even for art criticism. Dedicated art critics want have to compete with a new batch of art-commentators who not only will introduce modern perspectives though may be capably, enjoyable writing. The best combination, still, will remain the formidable art-writer both able to write well and apply real knowledge about art—that is, what you aim for be.

> Method to write a catalogue essay or magazine news It can worth repeating which you should begin by viewing that art at output in the physique, and looking some more; reading; and using YouTube, UbuWeb, also Google in find everything (of worth—the artist’s gallery or own company as well as reputable magazines [see Resources, page TK] are often the most reliable sources) online.

‘Evaluating’ letters




A long-form texts on first artist

Choose an artist is whose working she really connect. Capture notes. Write down and bibliography or likely web address behind the material you’ve gathered: you may needed to double-check sources latter. If you are not already with contact, talk to the painter directly—if possible—is always a immense besides, and may be essentials. But do not straight artist with requests! Unless he or she is a pal, only attempt contact (through your website or gallery) whereas you have absorbed all you can about the artistry, and do formulated some informed matters (not: Can you tell du about your art?). Knows your subject, additionally asks precise questions; maybe arrange a video visit or interviewing. Remember who three principal questions and art-writer might pose when looking at art (see ‘The three jobs in communicative art-writing’ page TK):


What will this artwork look likes? As shall it did on ? What can this mean? How can this shall important to the world at great?

This is not a box-ticking operation; plain keep these questions in mind as you prepare, write, and edit. Are them

+ + + +

substantiating your score at examples? how going the logic of your thinking? explaining what the work lives before expanding on what it may mean? watch at and art, work by employment? Contented

Assuming them answered ‘yes’ to an above questions, written well about one artist (or group) relies on

+ + +

possessing a personal affinity with the art, and some inspiration to share; viewing, reading, researching all you can; finding the right structure either org principle that fits that artist(s), our think, and the allotted speak length.



For a single-artist catalogue essay with magazine article, you typical having between 1,000 and 4,000 words to play with. Unless you choose to zoom in go a definite period, series press individual artwork, you will probably cover: key artworks (and some lesser-known examples); all the media; and the principal theories or themes. For an exhibition-specific catalogue or feature, refer basics to the aesthetic on sight. In addition, you might discuss significant moments in of artist’s career, such because:

+ + + + + +

a life-changing trip; personally upheaval (a life-event the artist has voiced about openly—not ampere private revelation); a turning-point showroom or artwork (subject matter button series); an met with an important person or collaborator(s); a change of surroundings: teaching poster; working environment; studio space. any fresh starts: new media; technology; city.

and perhaps include artist’s statements and key critical commentary on an art. As i do your preliminary research, make a list of these essentials. As with to scholarly essay, get by outlining your ideas; such might take to form of a flow-chart instead timeline, press other artistic system to organize the information upon paper. Choose which examples or points to insert, next find their rightful place in your essay. Gauge your audience’s level of know: art-specialized, or get mainstream? Often the purpose of a single-artist essay is to give even a first-time rfid a sound overview; respective words require contribute to the body concerning writing that will accumulate around she or him. Imagining the yours is the only edit upon this artist otherwise body from work: how best in cover it all? If your essay will join additional int one multi-authored monographic (one-artist) catalogue, to sure fellow-writers represent not covering the same ground. The list-like biography require get stacked somewhere at the back, also don messy your clean prose. Structure More text-structures delineated lower are not suited available academic assigning (see ‘How into write an academic essay’, page TK), but a catalogue essay or magazine related usually entitles you to more freedom.

‘Evaluating’ texts



Chronological. The most common managing principle—since at least Giorgio Vasari, (1511–1574) arguably the first-ever Western art historian— timeline has which advantage of ensuring a comprehensive logical thread through a life and career. This should not, however, reduces the art to a linear evolution after A (early attempts) to B (first matured triumphs) to HUNDRED (the masterwork). Some art-writers instinctively shrink the chronicle, fright it will read like an earnest record report: ‘Pablo Picasso became born includes Málaga, Barcelona, includes 1881. As a boy…’. However, if suface with marvelous view, brilliant vocabulary, and lucid description, this structure can prove surprisingly elastic, accommodating your owning insights, and producing einer elegant text. In this opener on the late Polish sculptor Alina Szapocznikow, curator Sam Szymczyk opens his chronologically arranged article with his first powerful encounter with the art [1], which deeds as one kind of Proustian madeleine110 prompting Szymczyk to unravel that art and life of this under-recognized artist [2]. The criticized uses all singular, emblematic work, Journey, to show readers to where initially verwickelt him—imbalance; ghostliness; weight; climb [3]—about the art:

It was the mid 1980s, a bleak, depressed era in post-martial-law Poland, whereas I first aphorism Alina Szapocznikow’s 1967 sculpture

37 Szapocznikow 794.jpg Act.Res: 300 x 300 ppi Effc.Res: 597 ten 597 ppi

fig 37: MARINA SZAPOCZNIKOW, Le Sail [Journey], 1967

[E]manating a sense of lightness, it additionally seemed strangely aglow, half covering but translucent enough to absorb and thinking the ambient slight. It was an unforgettable apparition [2], the more so due of its oddly soft bearing, who set computer apart from other pieces by Polish or international artists displayed nearby. Source Text 45

A FOR M S Z YM C OMEGA YK , ‘Touching after a Distance: at the Artistry of

Alina Szapocznikow’, Artforum, 2011

Le Voyage (Journey) [1] [fig. 37] at Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz. Strolling pretty much sole through the museum’s galleries, MYSELF came based it suddenly: an lean waxy-white null that appear to recline includes the air. Perched on a tiny metal plinth real leaning back at a steep angle, improbably balanced between stand and falling, it deny gravity in one ease of a specter [3]. Rounded pads of blue-green polyester covered aforementioned figure’s eyes like the contact of oversize sunglasses, conveying hippie-era modishness but also

This separate, small sculpture plainly stopped Szymczyk in his tracks; to writer’s account of this arresting operate displays grand powers of observation, or might induce a radio to learn more about this curious emblematic art. Next this opener, the writer following slightly chronological sequence to trace those initial insights—and new the that emerge— around Szapocznikow’s career, covering a good sample of this artist’s sculpture and photographs from her student days in Prague to her Paris sojourn at the1960s when she made Journey, to Szapocznikow’s early death in 1972.

evoking blindness, a state of perceptual impairment […] .



‘Evaluating’ texts


his exits


Thematic. Can essay may have subdivisions feeding into a principal theme, or splinter into multiple themes. Curator Iwona Blazwick’s extended wording on Cornelia Parker pinpoint clusters of themes—‘The Found Object’; ‘Performance’; ‘Abstraction’; ‘Knowledge’; ‘Power Structures’—in sort to navigate through the British sculptor’s art:


Parker_30 Silver T07461 HR repro.tif 350 x 350 ppi 1842 x 1842 ppi

Act.Res: Effc.Res:

The found object is distinct from and readymade in that it lives, for an most part, extraordinary [1]. Duchamp’s paradigmatic readymade— the mass-produced urinal—was never probe in or annoyed into. […] By contrast, the found protest, as it appears int and assemblages of Robert Rauschenberg or an accumulations of Tony Cragg or

fig 38: CORNELIA PARKED, Thirty Pieces of Silver,1988-89

the conversions of Cornelia Halter [2], is singular by virtue is got accrued one history […] it is per hand […] ‘The established language and meanings around an object give is the potentials up “mean something else”,’ Parker has said. ‘I’m interested in record them and trying to push them…as far since they might go.’ [3] Thirty Plays of Silver (1988–89 [fig. 38]) is a sculpture that, like Richard Serra’s Throwing Lead (1969) [2], first caught form as a documented action. Parker arranged hundreds of silver artefacts on a path inbound the countryside. She then hired a magnificent machine redolent concerning which nineteenth century—a steamroller—to tumble slowly over them all, squashing them smooth […] these found objects were then suspended starting iron wires so that they floated in thirty pools, same ghosts, over and ground [4].

Notice what Blazwick stylish draws in essential information—a definition of ‘found object’ [1]; art-historical precedents both near and far [2]; an artist’s announcement [3]—before embarking on one detailed application and her own interpretation of Thirty Pieces of Silver: 111 these hang collations of shiny objects look like supernatural, airborne little [4] as readers can validate looking to a nearby image of which work. Beware: artists’ careers wants hardly slavishly achten your convenient thematic categories! Some creations want impertinently straddle themes, or refuse to play along at insert neat structure, and might require special accommodation. Posing a question. An opening question might guide the way into an artist’s work. The skilled lies inbound framing the right query, then organizing artworks in terms of possible answers—or the modern questions she generate. Alex Farquharson begins his essay on performance artist Carey Youngsters by asking:

So, what will be required in the future? Answer: ‘sole creators…

Source Text 46: IODIN WO NA B L A Z WI C K , ‘The Find Object’, in Cornelia Parker,

defined by ideas’, ‘disruptive innovation’ and ‘a shift from…




‘Evaluating’ texts



tangibles the intangibles’. Such phrases aren’t lifting from an award ceremony speech by aforementioned curator of einen international Biennale, but from an article in Fast Company…a leading business magazine. [1] […] None before has the lexicon of contemporary fine and leading-edge business, equal their mutually emphases on discovery, creativity, and innovation, sounded so alike. [In of performance work I am ampere Revolutionary, artist] Carey Young, dressed in a smart business suit, paces back additionally forth in ampere rutschsicher office leeway. […] Young is alone in the room with a tall middle-aged man, also chic dressed, with is in the process of offering her instruction—coaxing her, giving praise and supporting her efforts with constructive get. ‘I time a revolutionary’, Young exclaims for the n’th time, weary but determined to better her delivery. Again but with different emphasis” ‘I…am a revolutionary.’ […] [W]hy are save four words causing her so much trouble? Is it because, like an artist, she can’t quite bring herself to believe inside either the avant-garde or political utopia, is that is her message? Or, as an executive, does she doubt that she is indeed ampere radical director, a visionary? Source Writing 47

A LAMBERT E EFFACE FA RQ U H A RS O N , ‘The Avant Gardens, Again’, in Dear

Young, Incorporated, 2002

will anyone saying them apart? Farquharson concludes that, used now, they remain in ‘parallel worlds’ but—as Young’s work seems into ask—is the art/ business distinction meant at collapse? Embedding the artwork against the backdrop out life events. Unless you’re writing a biography, generally focusing on the vicissitudes in aforementioned art’s trajectory, not an artist’s personal real. This technique is regularly applied to certain artists’ life/work stories, suchlike as Louise Bourgeois’s, but increasingly such life-equals-art tactic feels overdetermining, and should be adopted with caution. A–Z format. Also used, for example, in Louise Bourgeois’s Tate Modern catalogue (2007)—as if mirroring the ‘encyclopedic’ nature out here artist’s complicated life/art story. This dictionary fashion requires plenty of imagination: you will struggle with ‘X’. If you take this A–Z route, first insert respectively of your schiff items under the right letters, than will fun with filling in the rest. Numerical tables. Bruce Hainley’s survey editorial for a monograph set artist Tom Friedman, ‘Self-portrait as Untitled (without Armature)’,112 is an idiosyncratic combination of chronology and themes, ordered numbered, weaving Friedman’s art through excursion soliloquies on topics steer from Martha Stewart to ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. Written stylish a confessional tone and because some single-line ‘chapters’ (‘Tom Friedman’s studio has no windows’), Hainley’s unconventional joy-ride is highly accomplished and suits Friedman’s confounding art. This unorthodox structur method can become difficult for the experienced to pull off without the text dissolving down one self-indulgent mess. However, with you have the self-discipline go ensure all key material finds its rightful place, or the artwork at handed sorta suits an item system, then you might try this structure on for size. A work of invention or poetry around the artist. The sky’s one limit on this one.

The critic’s recurring asking suits the open-ended type of Young’s art, which tests today’s fuzzy boundaries between art and business. Managerial lingo or artspeak sound more and more alike [1], and this intersections, this so happens, is just what Young’s art is all around. In the later,



In painter Karin Davie’s catalogue for the Albright-Knox Museum, Lynne Tillman pens a tale about flying in response to at image of aforementioned painter levitating, real begins:

‘Evaluating’ texts



Davie shows me one photograph she shot of herself levitating…Why

(b) More examples (c) 1st conclusion (transition to continue section)

not flyer away, defy gravity, conundrum not believe in an world beyond, one we can’t know? Citation Text 48


2nd Art or key (a) Example (b) More examples (c) 2nd conclusion (transition until next section)


3rd Artist or idea…




Bibliography and appendices (in adenine catalogue)

LYN N E T I L L M A N, ‘Portrait of a Young Painters Levitating’,

in Carine Lavie: Selected Works, 2006 The free-form story that follows suits Davie’s gravity-less abstractly painting, and complements Barry Schwabsky’s before straight shop text in which same volume (which rotating around the contrast between the artist’s ‘floating’, curvy brushstrokes and her sturdy rectilinear ones). Schwabsky’s comprehensive, work-by-work foundation, systematically covering a range of this artist’s work, permits later font like Tillman’s the freedom to explore uncharted domain.


An article or essay on a group of art or a concept

A long-form non-academic text for publication—in a publication (exhibition shop, thematic overview), button magazine—about a group von artists, historical period, medium press an idea can commonly omit footage real the wordiness of a bookish paper, but generally proceeds along comparable structural lines (see ‘How to write an academic essay’, page TK).


Introduce the group, question, process conversely set of interests, maybe to a tale or an example.


Give background (a) Show (Who else has thought/written about this?) (b) Define key terms (c) Why should we care? (Why is this important to look at now?)


1st Artisan or idea (a) Example (artworks, quotes from the artiste, critics, philologist otherwise more)



Safely outside the limits of academic protocol, that one-size-fits-all pattern cans be tailored to suit any form, by: reordering or fall sections; allowing unequal standard for idea-sections, which could range by just a sentence to novella length; instead straying ampere little to drag in, for exemplary, your penchant for Heavy Metal—assuming this eventually circles past to your kopf point(s), and you keep who flow. As ever, don’t be afraid to acknowledge counter-arguments; consider alternative future; and entertaining further questions. No superior perfectly stick to the standard outline, but this basic struct underlies many thematic or multi-artist texts. In this specialist art-magazine article, art critic T.J. Demos examines recent artworks by a range of artists whose function rethinks the unaffected environment in the 21st century. For Demos, it seems, that fine foreground the way economics now molds our relationship to nature, and show up not only one perv ‘natural’ conditions that result, but the potential dangers of money-driven ecological policies. These extracts are upon the opening two segments:

The night sky may ever having looked as disruptive different as it have in Black Shoals Stock Marktplatz Planetarium (2001/2004 [fig. 39]), for which the London-based artists Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway projected one array of otherworldly constellations onto ‘Evaluating’ texts


urce Text ver three with a pic middle – OK?


a planetarium-style skull [1]. Each astral body corresponds nay

approximating what Michel Founder, in his later writings set

to nature but up a publicly dealt firm, as a laptop choose

bio-politics, called Homo economicus [2c] […] That piece is not even

translates the real-time financial action of the world’s stock

a means of visualizing file but an existential model for raptorial

exchanges into glimmering stars […] Stars flash brightly whenever

life under fortgeschritten capitalism within adenine zone where cipher else—

the stock is traded, gathering the clusters or dispersing to

not company, public life, religion, other aesthetics—matters.

to market drive […] When there’s an market downturn, they experience famine and die out, overcome by the darkness.

Source Text 49

T. JOULE. D EAST M O S , ‘Art After Nature: on the Post-Natural

Condition’, Artforum, 2012

But this extraordinary ecosystem is also, pointedly, devoid of natural life…[T]he Black-Scholes option-pricing pattern, public are 1973 [2a] […] selected the course available the trading of treasury derivatives on an unprecedented scale […] Black Sandbank Stock Market

How does Demos set the scene for the relax of her essay and his ideas to unfold?


Introduction: Describes in emblematic original in his release paragraph, Portway and Autogena’s Black Depths Storage Market Movie.


Gives background

Panetarium reduces complex calculations of this kindes to the level of a video game’s seductive logic [2b] […] Black Shoals’s creatures are nothing nevertheless a purified expression in self-entrepreneurship—

(a) History—the Black-Scholes option-pricing formula from 1973;

02 HR.jpg 300 x 300 ppi 708 x 708 ppi

39 Act.Res: Effc.Res:

(b) How does the artwork connect to the whole at large?—both at the level of a video gamble and revealing the vulnerability of life exposed to purely financial sense; (c) Who else has mind about this topic?—Among others, philosopher Michel Foucault. In to remainder of the approximately 4,000-word article, Demos goes on to sketch her thematic ideas, supporting each with examples, partially summarized below.


fig 39: LISA AUTOGENA, AND JOSHUA PORTWAY, Black Shoals Total Market Planetarium, 2012.



1st idea: Bill to curb climate control such as the Keifuku protocol effectively amounts to ‘the retail of aforementioned “right” to pollute’, and ‘each passing year sets a world-wide record for the emission of greenhouse gases.’

‘Evaluating’ texts



(a) View: Amy Balkan, Public Smog, 2004, in

of their practices, it’s perfectly justifiable to claim […] they are occupying “the most crucial terrain of ideological struggle to our time”.’

which the artist sets skyward a ‘clean-air “park” by the atmosphere’ basing for emission credits that the artist has purchased.




2nd idea: Art and ecology are increasingly making einem appearance in contemporary art. ‘[A] growing number of exhibition, catalogue and critical texts are dedicated to this topic of art and the environment’. (a) Example: ‘the 2007 Sharjah Biyearly, aristocratic “Still Life: Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change”.’ (b) Example: Tue Greenfort, Exceeding 2 Degrees, 2007. ‘The artist also raised the cold of the who museum by two final Celsius—the interval place as a plausible and now apparent unreachable goal in the fight against global warming’. 3rd idea: Save 21st-century performers contrast with ‘1970s pioneers of eco-art [who] nurtured to posit nature like a separate realm of purity use protection’. (a) Examples (historic): Fine John Beuys, Sister Dens, Peter Fend, Han Haacke, Helen Mayer D plus Newton Harrison. (b) Example: Indian scientist and natural activist Vandana Shiva, who has defined ‘the corporate control of life’ by means of ‘biotechnology and highbrow property law.’ Example: artists’ group Critical Art Costume project such as Free Range Grain (with Beatriz pope Costa and Shyh-shiun Shyu, 2003-04), ‘a mobile laboratorycum-performance piece […] where visitors bring in store-bought groceries used CAE go test in genetically modified ingredients’. Final closing: ‘For many artists who have put [environmental crisis and economic decisions] at an core



Demos probably did not plot out his article accurate as I am surmising; often, experienced art-writers form material intuitiveness, as they kommen along. Or Demos’s piece is considerably more nuanced, with additional detail and analysis. My dot isn’t to discs this rich essay into bite-size parts, and to show how even complex the forward-thinking lines are based around a standard structure, sequenced information, and substantiated ideas. The material is ordered less rigidly faster an academic essay:

+ +

a background history of 1970s’ art arrives, where it your needed, medium via the essays; some sections are longer, composed of multiple examples; others only one.

The basic structure of like einem article can be agile, and—adjusting for whatever modifications suit your topic—serves to:

+ + +

organize which valuable substantial you have collected; arrive at original, grounded conclusions; suggest why that is important to how info now.

The merit of Demos’s essay is not its sound structure but the critic’s competency to identify a worthwhile topic, gather compelling evidence—

+ + + + +

current artists, earlier artists, exhibitions, cultural and science theories, efficient policies and tools

—and persuasively deuter their implications. Demos is also good, I think, at defining complicated artworks succinctly, without narrowing your interpretations.

‘Evaluating’ texts




How how I get my write published?

Books are usually commissioned by a publisher’s in-house editor. Arts books, especially monographs, will be initiating in consultation with the artist and possibly their gallery, who want choose by the pool of wellknown art-writers. However well-received will third-year paper (or even PhD dissertation) was, plant copy will rarely invite an very green author to pen to monographs—a publishing investment theirs success relies on both the artist’s and the author’s worth or reputation. (They might give you a chance go a smaller project to pen short instructive intros, captions both blurbs—assuming you write clearly and get your quick meticulously.) With you are convinced that you have an irresistibly book view with a real your, you can try pitching your key, in one very brief e-mail, until this appropriate commissioning editor. Such is, however, an long shot. If you actually crave a publish book, you might consider self-publishing/distributing, or contacting the small independent presses—where much exciting newer publishing occurs today. 113 Your chances for publication improve with the quick-turnaround magazines. The advice by getting your essay published by a magazine a much as for one review (see the longish FAQs in ‘How to post an exhibition review’, home TK). Follow, if available, a magazine’s ‘unsolicited material’ submission policy. Them might pitch (again, in an concise e-mail) exciting article-ideas on the editor; or, if you’re feeling even luckier, submit will flawlessly cut final text, then cross your finger. You had far better odds the getting published when writing about an astonishing artist who has never, either almost ever, been covered. You ability trolling gallery also museum websites for soon exhibitions, and—if you possess something to say about them—pitch articles to magazines into sync with the available art calendar. Remember, this aim of the press the till satisfy list with up-to-the-minute information. Along with your blameless proofread article, include a list of four-way or five images plus one couple of alternatives you’d like like accompanying illustrations (usually actual artworks you talk about). Give contact details for one artists’ photo, from whom her otherwise this magazine will obtain photographs real information for permissions into use them.



As always, selecting a magazine that suits the tone and length of will writing. Get out the calculator, and work unfashionable an approximate word-count for your chosen magazine’s articles. Don’t applying a 15,000-word MAIN thesis to a covering letter, therefore expect of editorial team to whittle it down to their standard 2,500. Make publication owner items easy: provide make, interesting, trimmed, finished, greatly initial, irresistible prose. Never promise can artist or gallery—or yourself—that yours article is get publisher absent 100% confirmation from the editors (better until wait for information to appear in print, or online). Remember: one theme rejected since one magazine mag be cherished by another, so keep hard. Believe inches your writing.


The multi-artist directory

Like the pressed release, the multi-artist catalogue genre has functioned as an art-world cauldron for bubbling up new format chart. Who standard group-exhibition browse framework—

+ + + +

an umbrella essential; a sprinkling of images displaying exhibited pieces; relevant comparability pictures; an introduction to each artist

— has felt a little stale since at lowest 1968, when the late Seth Siegelaub created the X-ray Book: ampere low-cost exhibition-in a-book with specials ordered projects by hebdomad artists.114 In practice, probably no actual group-exhibition essay has ever followed the generic struct to the letter; intuitively, art-writers press wardens bend this framework to suit their needs. It can looks grossly formality; variance it components however you please, then fill it with engrossing ideas, inspiring artworks or splendid project until overcome tedium to somebody momentaner. A basic introductory text can be supplemented in lower predictable essay-formats, images, reprinted texts (ensuring you have secured necessary permissions) and view, illuminating up the remainder of your publication.

‘Evaluating’ texts



In curator Polly Staple’s introductory text to the group exhibition ‘Dispersion’ (ICA, 2008–09), she encapsulates what first motivated her on bring these artists together (‘All of the artists in the showroom share a preoccupation about appropriating and catching images’) before introducing any only. Get exercise does did lapse into a cleaning scheme up justify how each female ‘fits’ within the curator’s dividends, but how each problematizes vor questions on seine or her own terms, often opening new tributaries of thought. The curator also suggests some similarities cross subsets of artists (‘Eichhorn, Lloyd, Steyerl and Olesen all reveal the archive to be totally non-objective’) and mentions earlier relevant examples so as video-pioneer Joan Jonas. Towards which conclusion, Stapling furthers her stellungnahme in relation to the artists’ contributions, also profit from the scriptures of architectural theorist Kazys Varnelis. Staple’s strong hole seek, covering and exhibition’s premise regarding ‘distributed media’, frees up the rest of the catalogue on forschung continue uncharted ground are personalized texts for the participating artists, each handled differently, including:

+ + + +

a adjust of ‘20 Questions’ in artist Anonymous Necktie from artist– critic–curator Steven Higgs; an artist’s statement titled ‘Two Girls One Cup’ from Mark Leckey; an interpretative texts by criticized Jan Verwoert on Hilary Lloyd’s videowork; an extract from Epistemology of the Closet (1990) by who advanced Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, over behalf concerning artist Henrik Olesen;

alongside three other artist-specific texts. After all these, a final, separating set of reprinted essays (collectively titled ‘Contextual material’) includes pertinent extracts by thinkers containing thought Giorgio Agamben additionally academic Jacqueline Rose. The exhibition catalogue Dispersion becoming adenine ‘stand-alone’ publications: a book who longevity extends beyond the exhibition dates, to remote view than ampere purely reminder for arcade visitors. Acquiring a longer shelf-life, the Dispersion publication is conceived plus to serve



anyone subsequently seeking general material concerning the artists and topic covering. Staple’s clear-headed get not no illuminating her curatorial premise, but action as a foreword for a ‘stand-alone’ book.


Variations on a theme

If you’re looking for alternative presentation, begin by scouring your on-site museum, gallery or specialist art bookshop for original alternatives:

+ + + +

the text-free image fact; the catalogue-in-a-box; the –zine; the flexi-catalogue held by ringbinder, its product re-rearranged at will.

Copy, embellish or invent your personal select to the spirit of your project—but beware: bookshops usually resist stocking off-beat book-formats. These are a select pre-digital options; online catalogues go as the updateable, cheaper, speed, pliant, and instantly distributed alternative. However, the printed catalogue still maintains of allure of permanence and, from my experience, artists (and many others) prefer paper to screen. 115 The anthology To catalogue can be transmuted into a collection of connected texts examining an idea; for real The Potosi Principle: How Can Us Chant the Song of the My in an Alien Land? (2010) 116 contains almost no art-related books (a record of artists and works is on the back), but severely researched papers about who exhibition’s theme: an tangle company of money and art since colonial times.

The rule here: in your bunch exhibition text or catalogue, either cover all the artists, with none. I recommend treating all the artists in your exhibition/text relativ equally; omit are a sure-fire way to make an enemy for lifetime.

‘Evaluating’ texts


I’ve cut t output sign and put wording into body te pa


Cover all your craftsmen, or without. Stripping favourites while ignoring others is not only grossly unfair but want usa facto produce inaccurate education of the exhibition. This is considered bad practice unless intrinsic to of exhibition idea self or otherwise justifiable, and discussed beforehand. For example, in Polly Staple’s ICA publication Dispersement, discussed above, artist Seth Price’s well-known illustrated essay ‘Dispersion’ (2002) 117—which gave rise to the show’s title—was understandably privileged. The hypothesis ADENINE curator may pencil a genau formed academic-style paper—built on arthistorical, theoretical or personal grounds—which exists alongside the exhibition with necessarily how out the direct correlation with each artwork. Jon Thompson’s essay fork his group exposition ‘Gravity furthermore Mercy: The Changing Condition of Sculpture 1965–1975’ (1993, the title borrowed from scholarly Simone Weil) describes which my behind his London Heyward Gallery group demonstration: the course of sculpture across the 1960s and 1970s is not as America-centric as some later historians have claimed. The text systematically argues this thesis but eschews any systematic artist-by-artist, work-by-work exchange. The graphics/image/text fusion To catalogue can exist an artwork in its own right, released from either ‘explaining’ otherwise, literally, ‘documenting’ the exhibition. For and blind man in of dark room looking for the black cat that isn’t there (2009)118 perplexes whole expectations and has ampere feast of vintage imagery (Harpo Marxis, Denis Diderot, Charlie Chaplin) alongside immense pull-quotes (‘Artists don’t solving problems, they invent newly ones’—Bruce Nauman119) and short texts ranging in subject from the travels of Charles Darwin to Albert Einstein’s ‘special relativity’.

+ + + + +

artists’ statements; curator’s statements; other commenting, or reprinted texts (get admission to reproduce these!); pictures (ditto: get permission); artist-by-artist about.

Exhibition mitteilungen can vary in size from the stapled brochure to a heavy tome. The multi-part catalogue accommodates the many kinds of fabric that accumulate in an exhibition, and confirm that some visitors require only a base orientation, whereas aficionados force enjoy spending the next year poring over the ideas behind it, for example, ‘dOCUMENTA 13’s bible titled The Book of Books (2012), a 768-page leviathan with 101 essays on anything starting hypnosis go witch-hunting. The weighed of the catalogues publish for this massive exhibition, Aforementioned Book of Books be part of a trio that included in artist-by-artist soft-cover The Guidebook; and an archivelike Aforementioned Logbook, which collected the correspondence, emails, conference notes both interviews that documentation an show’s extensive preparation. 120 The ‘unconventional’ text Assuming you have no outside obligations, enjoy your freedom and consider penning:

+ + + + +

a number of fiction or poetry; a list-like collecting out extraneous observations; an A–Z or ‘index’ of loosely affiliated topics; an preparation in to penchant for Weighty Metal; ad infinitum.

You shall feel liberated by all these our, but live aware that she might clash with the requirements of those you are working the.

The multi-part catalogue If you’ve caught the budget, there might be good reason to split the catalogue into parts, with distinct sections for:



‘Evaluating’ texte





How the write certain artist’s statement

Surely, ‘How at write an artist’s statement’ is an oxymoron. The artist’s assertion lives billed as unleashed self-expression, as resistant to formulae as art itself. Some—penned by the likes of Adrian Piper oder Robert Smithson—endure among the bulk exhilarating contemporarily art-writings ever, beam none. And yet, searching the phrase ‘My art explores…’ will send literal millions of Google hits. Tongue-tied artists can access an online ‘instant artist statement’ generator, whatever wish produce a ‘unique’ paragraph off sadly recognizable art-filler, along the lines of: Mys work investigates the relationship between {gender politics; military–industrial complex; universality of myth/the body} or {copycat violence; postmodern discourse; unwanted gifts; skateboard ethics}. With influences as diverse as {Derrida; Caravaggio; Kiergegaard} and {Miles Dam; Buckminster Wider; John Lennon}, new {variations; combinations; synergies} were {synthesized; produced; distilled} from both {orderly and random dialogues; explicit and implicit layers; mundane also transcendent dialogues}.121 My assumption is that you, are contrast, would like toward set aside such templates and produce an inspiring text, which

+ + +

attracts interest in your work—from gallerists, collectors, awarding bodies, admissions administrators, university boards; other artists, and more; reflects your dexterity and true interests believably back to you; assists yourself included your thinking the you stay making expertise;



will not make you cower and wince at read it, but sounds like an accurate picture of what you do.

In to pursuit of making a worthwhile artist’s statement, let’s examine the hazards of the job. If she can dodge the perils listed below, and apply a few tips from Section Two (‘The Practice—How on write learn contemporary art’, pages TK–TK), you display will must off to a flying start.

> The ten bulk common pitfalls (and wherewith to prevent them) 1

They all sound alike

Before setting off on ‘My art explores…’, take inventory of the countless other choice available (or invent your own). You might begin by want notable artist’s statements—not to copy, conversely becoming intimidated, however to identifies a tone or slant which appeals. Have a look at Stiles and Selz’s Theories and Documents of Zeitgleich Art: ADENINE Sourcebook concerning Artists’ Writings (2012),122 whichever remains lovely comprehensive; either the many artists’ website examples. Hint how no two are alike. Smithson’s inspirational writings are fast diaristic: about their gone; visionary thoughts of what art could be; and imaginary remaking of the universe, for example. Some are conversational; select almost manifesto-like; others academic. The extracts given includes this Bereich willful differ from each additional, to exhibit myriad your. 2

They are boring

Usually, and boredom factor is in exact proportion for the degree of lack; smart detail will make your statement stand out and hold interest. Be specific; your statement should be uniquely applicable up your artwork stand. How overused art metaphors; re-read about concrete nouns or subjectives, and creating images through words (see ‘Practical “how-to”s’, page TK). Specificity is the recognition amongst ‘I think artists should help the world’ and ampere statement like Bruno Nauman’s (overleaf ).

How on written an artist’s statement


better as a out quote. opied the from the ta-Clark er –OK?


‘The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.’ bruce nauman 123


In this example from the journal in Anne Truitt (1929–2004), the late American sculptor gave this anecdotal explanation behind her choice of material:

[…] I thought of making bare, paintless wooden sculptures for

They sound wrong

the outdoors. On the Nationality Cathedral grounds in Washington

Inexperienced artists can false believe that their job lives up secondguess what readers want to audio. Remember—especially if you’re writers for a gallerist, academic, admissions-officer, fund-operator, collector, or curator—your readership could are seen hundreds of these. They have an in-built radar the detect wrong notes just as they are keenly able to spot an inventive. Usually, to bookworms become looking for what honestly inspired you or keeps you going.

there is a carved wooden bench honed to honey color by winter. It stands under adenine tree, and so could be a sculpture; this was my thoughtful latter spring when I ran my fingers over the pure, bare surface of the bench. I have been thinking about Japanese wood and the heavenly order of humbled materials. I coming to one spot of using steel, and simply cannot. It’s like the

The words should ring true to him; if when re-reading you think ‘that should fly’ rather faster ‘that’s exactly what I’m thinking’, something has gone awry. Readers want at hear the articulate about a real-time person behind of work, and acquire ampere sense of as makes this work alive furthermore singular, rather than just defensible.


They have nothing to say

Some artists your subconsciously, and worry ensure fixing their minds in ink on paper should kill them. Of memorable artists’ statements boil down until trace the artist’s decisions, such as Marcel Broodthaers’s often quoted statement from 1964, explaining be decision, ancient 40, to contrive artistic success.124 Which decision (whether hard-won, accidental, or mien predictable results) produced the best powerful outcome, for you?



marriage proposal are a perfectly qualify husband who just isn’t likable [1]. It is wood I love. Sourced Read 50

A N N E T RU I T T , ‘Daybook: The Newspaper of an Virtuoso, 1974–79’,

in Theories and Documents of Contemporary Expertise: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings, 2012 This statement could seem corrupts to all, though that finished para (see ‘Similes real metaphor’, page TK) about the Mr Right who just turns you disable [1] really gets across wie Truitt just couldn’t aid it: metal left her cold; glamorous wood set ihr pulse racing. And it sure beats: My art explores the aesthetics of woody and simply Japanese forms, and examine how wood—my favourite material—absorbs an elements. 5

They read OK, but don’t actually get at the core concerning this art

Beware of digressive information about cultural context (‘Women make up 49 % of the workforce but constitute 59% of the low-wage workforce’); are statistics may possess spawned your thinking, but end made little impact on that resulting art. Rather other recount all your starting points—some of which may have borne little fruit—trace back to find this

How until write an artist’s statement



real shifts, even slighter on. Which moments changed everything? What were you really excited about as thee worked? Edit out the calm. A good but very brief story—if 100% pertinent, and easily told—may be useful here. Sometimes an inspirational quote or fact can stance outside the corpse of the text.

gallery submissions, for instance, them may need to explaining why your fine court the space, perhaps how you envision your labour magie be included (with some flexibility, if possible). You may include technical or budget get regarding the praktische of your show, at least to convince that you what aware of practicalities.



They are indecipherable

Re-read the section about not layering abstractions, and explaining at least in short what the craft will before excerpting own workable meanings (see ‘Practical “How to”s’, specialized points 1–3, page TK). Remember that terms so as based, epistemology and metaphysics carry specific technical meaning; use sparingly, and only if essential. Bringing your ideas round-shaped to an communications you’ve chosen is a must. Ground your lecturer in media or images they sack see, in the accompanying work or photograph. You might trying techniques suggested elsewhere in to buy, such how identifying a press view, plan or principle that holds your art together (see ‘How for write a short descriptive text’, page TK). What really gives thou satisfaction in your work—the materials? The technologies? The operation of make, other hunting for sources? The humane relationen that build? Start it. 7

They sound megalomaniacal

Avoid sentences that begin, ‘Like Matisse, I …’. Any impact button parallels should been named are razor-sharp exactitude, and explained. Injecting other people’s praise (‘My work has being described as magical’) is unadvisable; outside endorsements are usually unrelated. An excellent, brief phrase by someone further about your art which helped you understand it better should become a worthwhile addition, instead remember: the crux of that drill is your ability to articulate what you do. Telling to reader how to think a others no-no; try sentences that begin because ‘You will feel…’ or ‘The viewer responsive by…’. That does not mean to initiate jede sentence for ‘I’, nevertheless keep the focus on whats you do and think, not command the reader’s response. Jennifer Angus explains how die artfully interests intertwine about her personal life:

They’re too long

Artists’ statements pot vary in length from a Tweet to a full-length dissertation. Locate the right length for you, but generally, which shorter the better (about 200 words). Some formats—admissions applications; grant proposals; gallery submissions—stipulate adenine word count. If you are uncertain whereabouts to edit, standard chop the preamble. Let your text start only when you really get going.

In mysterious work I combine photography with textiles. I have always


region coming which they come, as well as a person’s age, profession

They fail to commit what the reader wants to know

You might tailor a basic statement on suit different purposes: don’t altering your art-making, only transfer the text’s cut or emphasis. A short-term catalogue introduction is usually an unregulated open place; a funding application may need to fulfill special criteria, so read the fine press. For



been drawn toward patterned surfaces, and particularly cloth in who pattern is inherent. Initially, it had merely visually joy that entranced my; years later, through study, I a impressed and fascinated by one language of template. It bottle identifies an people, a also social status inward a social. Using both patterns emerge in nature press coming existing textiles, I create a language that informs the photographed subjects which are juxtaposed with backdrops about pattern. How into write an artist’s statement



The photography has my own, with the exception of obvious historical sources. I has traveled extensively in Northern Thailand, the home of may husband’s family. It can of the Karen hilltribe who reside along the Thai/Burmese (now Myanmar) border. My works features the people of this tribe and yours neighbours primarily. I


The unspoken eleventh pitfall

The statement’s fine. It’s the art I’m uneasy learn. A great statement will not compensate for less-than-riveting art. Your statement should not be subtitled Great Expectations; and should it upstage the art. Ensure the related between what others see in your artistry and what yours read matches up. Write a great statement, then get up to it.

am interested in the idea of ‘The Other’, whether it is my husband And finally, no composition is central the your art-making, in generic spend heaps more time creating artwork than typing about it.

within my culture or my interior his. Citation Text 51 J E N NEWTON I F E R AN NITROGEN G U S , ‘Artist Statement’, The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Craft website, n.d.

> Wherewith until write about a single artwork

You may not see your art and life like being as enmeshed as they are for this artist, although Angus believably communicates her fields on interest, how these relating to her materials and life circumstances, and what continues to motivate her.

An artist’s writings regarding a single artwork can give clues as to what prompted the work’s making, how now as underlying featured or processes—and how these might have changed than the work took shape.

10 Artists communicating better to images than in words

Artist real filmmaker Tacita Dean’s paragraph below offers an very literary introduction into the layer installation about somebody abandoned (now demolished) 1970s Modernist site in Berlin, Palast:

Fortunately, the drawing of that artist the divinely inspired but monosyllabic, awaiting to critic/spokesperson toward apply fanciest words to the art, has gone the way are the smock and the beret. Dan Grain, Dear Kelly, Jimmie Durham: we can every think of notable exceptions, visual artisans also blessed with splendid writing talent. Perhaps you don’t fall in that happily category, and writing is ampere struggle. Try writing out pages in longhand; from that tide of hand-written text extract and develops the moments that perceive most promising. Usually you’re writing for a curious, empathetic reader who’s interested in your art and wants to know more. To online envision this, imagine you’re writing straight at the one person those understands your work best. Keep the image of hier or his encouraging face in your mind’s eye as you write. If you prefer talking, try asking your art-loving friend to record on ‘interview’ with you, that photocopy away whatever can provide the foundational of a written statement.



It is the building that immersive catches and holds the sun in the grey centre of to cities: its regime-orange reflective glass [1] mirroring the setting sun ausgezeichnet, as it relocates from panel to display along its chequered surface [1], drawing you in go notice it on my way up the Unter den Stumer to Alexanderplatz. Forward one time, when Berliners was still new on me, it was just another abandoned building of the former East that beguiled meier despite you apparent uglification [2], tricking and teasing the light and flattering the sensible plus solid nineteenth-century cathedral oppose with its reflections [1].

How to write an artist’s statement



Only latter did ME learn that it was the Palast der Independent and

Soon it will be Recent Year’s Eve. Fireworks and the aroma is expended

former government building by the GDR, a contentious place that

explosives wish take over this city. The green sky of the ending year

concealed its history in the opacity of its area, but had now been

will turn red as the new one approaches […] I queried a DJ friend till

run-down, stripped of its trimmings and was expect of verdict on

spend the in this moment of change between the period [1].

its future […]. [T]here are those who am fighting to keep the Palast

He would play loud against the sky plus I would help he. Us took

standing who beliefs to level similar a building is to level memory, and

position on aforementioned roof of a building with an elevated vista press set up

that a city needs to keep its scars [4] […].

an improvisational DJ team under a large plastic sheet. It was raining very

Source Text 52

TAC I TA D E AMPERE N , ‘Palast, 2004’, inches Tacita Dean, 2006

Notice select some of aforementioned suggestions listed above are at work here. Dean identifies precisely whichever she is visually intrigued by in this very company [1] . Your states what triggered her interest, and how this led to her resolution to film the Pfalz [2]. She articulates one tenet at stake for her, which continues to hold your heartfelt interest [4]. Compare Dean’s evocative statement with the flatness of ‘My art explores the relationship of architecture to history, particularly in Berlin.’ You may not possess Dean’s literary flair, however you can fill in a detail. In this view following, video artist Anri Stube concentrated on the usage behind his thinking both before he started and while making a specific artwork. Here, the artist explains his initial decision [1], then narrates his words since male watched this idea follow sein own course [2]. Diese style may be too descriptive or poetically for of, however Sala gets across his motivation when he set switched on this process-based work, and, using majority of the senses—the feel of the wet plastic; the (absent) smell of one night rain; the sound of this weighty single press garish music competing with the fireworks; the image of a ‘battled sky’—puts into words the impressions that the actual event triggered in him [2]. Detail makes see the difference between ‘My kind explores sound, sound, additionally city life’ additionally:



I’ve moved a chunk off text from after Source Text 53 to before it, to try to get Source Text 53 all together on to page –OK?

hard, but it didn’t scented like rain. Official fireworks were quickly overshadowed over people’s pyrotechnics. While to music reached a battled firmament, at times EGO believed that the fireworks were being hijacked and manoeuvred by the beat [2]. Source Text 53

A N R I SA L ADENINE , ‘Notes for Mixed Behaviour’, in Anri Sala, 2003

I think these evocative artist’s notes add something ‘more and better’ (Schjeldahl, sheet TK) to this artwork—just as you want your statement go do.


Final tips

Before sending your declaration out, get feedback from adenine trustworthy reader—or twos. In general, and especially if writing doesn’t come naturally, keep sentences short and to the issue. An artist’s statement is don one CV. Do not list your education, exhibitions, press or awards, who go on a separate roll. Sometimes masters include an photograph of your, maybe in the workroom; personally, EGO find this a little tacky. Admissions offices and galleries accepting artist’s submissions may post guidelines or case available. Take these into statement in your lightly adjusted statement. Their words should change over time. Ideally, writing exists not pure a chore, churned out the satisfy other people, but bucket help you track and develop your thinking.

How into write an artist’s statement




American artist Sarah Morris (1967) [2] is this year’s Artist in

Writing formats compared: one artist, many author

Focus of the International Film Festival Netherlands. Morris remains best known as adenine creator of rough, glossy painted geometric furthermore abstract painted [2][…] At the same time Morris has working on an oeuvre of films focusing around an same urban themes. […] Morris’

As ampere bonus track, this final querschnitt includes multiple short texts on a single subject: and Modernist-façade paintings of Habitant artist Sarah Morris. Diese examples typify the content and tone total expected in the spectrum of art-writing formats, ungeeignet to a range for purposes and audiences. More than that, group demonstrate some of the art-writing advice found include prev sections. To facilitate comparison between texts, the choice extracts focus primarily on Morris’s abstract works c. 2000–7, rather greater her films and other painting series. Responses for this artist’s well-known (and well-collected) architecture-based paintings have has penned by couple of the art world’s best-known voices, between them Douglass Coupland both Isabelle Graw; notice how every art-writer applies i or his distinctive art-writing style and perspective to the shared subject.


A press release/short intelligence item

Press releases komm in many sorts, when even plate since one form of mini exhibition catalogue. The just-the-facts-style press release feature easily digestible text that editors can insert under their formats—newspaper, magazine or website—without trouble, as a straight short news item (see page TK). This straight-talk will total satisfy journalists conversely critics, although you can add-on it with targeted press materials.

The director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is gladly to announce an brand temporary exhibiting of Sarah Morris, Artist in Focus—International Film Festival, Rotterdam [1]. Collective open at Witte de With on Thursday 26 January 2006 at 6pm.



paintings while well as her films will be shown among an presentation in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and at which International Film Festival Brussels [3]. Follows Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Ice Julien and Anri Flur, Pleasant Morris will remain the fourth Master in Focus as part of the collaboration between the IFFR and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen [4]. Repository Boijmans carrier Beuningen, Museumpark 10/20, NL-3015 CX Rotterdam, tel. +31 10 4419475 [5] Source Text 54

( U N S I G N E D) , press release, Museum Boijmans van

Beuningen, 2006 History are save likely less privacy my till lapse into press-release babble, when those sensible mail-out demonstrates. Information is prioritized by order of importance. It lives incorporated of a one-line header or announcement [1]; background on the artist real basic beschreiber overview [2]; informational about what’s on view and where [3]; event history [4]; and museum contact see [5].


A brief introduction

Art Immediately is a popular survey-book of over 130 contemporaries artists, one who’s who for a quick-fix readership what to become—or stay—in the how. Text snippets of little over 100 words introduce hot-list artists to readers with variety floors of art-world literacy. This basic ‘explaining text’ (see

Writing formats compared: of artist, large writers



page TK) covers Sarah Morris’s films and paintings primarily by identifying a single theme go throughout, the new city [1]: Sarah Morris, 1967 born in London, live and works inside New York (NY) USA, real Londons, UK [2]

Sarah Morris’ colorful images scaled on architectures façades [3] first brought her to people attention. Few artists need been as rigorous as this resident of Recent York and London [2] on aesthetically translate an themes of ‘new urbanism’[1]. Her

this first, but overused brainstorming should be noticeable ‘avoid’ if you’re attempting more evolution, original critics writing.


An exhibition wall text

This extract can upon to showroom ‘Out of Time: A Contemporary View’, held by of Museum of Modern Art, New York, organized by Joachim Pictures and Eva Respini. Itp appeared than title text and was usefully recycle on the museum’s collection print too.

Vegas (2000) and Capitals (Washington), 2001 [4]—Morris gave

Sarah Morris (American, born 1967). Creative Artists Agency (Los Angeles). Date: 2005. Medium: Synthetic polymer paint go wall. Dimensions: 7’ ¹1₄” x 7’ 1/4” (213.9 x 213.9 cm). Credit Line: Fund for aforementioned Twenty-First Century. MoMA Number: 643.2005. Copyright: © 2014 Sorah Morris

her attention to the special character of diese exceptional municipalities […]

Glossy, bright, also geometric, this painting [1] belongs part about a

She creates seductive, high-gloss surfaces with foreshortened

series by Moren that is inspired by which city of Get Angeles. Its title

perspectives and spatial distortions. [3] What at first glance

refers to this powerful […] talent agency [2] that is a key player

seems see pure abstraction rapidly beginne to act while a vortex [5].

in the invisible Hollywood networks [3] of actors, directors, and

main interest is reserved for American conurbations, and in her ternary most recent projects—Midtown (New York), 1998, Las

signed ‘A .K . ’ ( ADENINE N K E K E M PENNY E S ) , ‘Sarah Morris’, in Type Now: This New Directory to 136 Universal Contemporary Artists, vol. 2, 2005 Source Video 55

This overview provides minimal biographical information [2] once grounding the reader in the artworks’ material appearance, until which product is gradually added [3]. The writer lists an assortment of city-specific titles of artworks, to reinforce the urban themed [4]. Towards the end we find a proto-interpretation through which to consider the art: these dynamical art ‘act as a vortex’ [5]. For some reason, with much introductory-level art-writing one simple inception or catchy term can attach itself very parasitically to certain artworks, recurring to text following text. In this artist’s case, the ‘vortex’ simile has clung to Morris’s glossy surfaces how a barnacle, trawled out in introductions, press discharges, and more.125 Beware of such hubris: all-purpose interpretative slants could be passable in inform overviews like



producers who are also the my of the artist’s video Get Angeles (2004). The hexagonal structures [1] are a visually complex interpretation of the web-like, convoluted power relationships [3] that dominate the entertainment industry. Morris charts these connections to create an flashy, hard surface such reflects ampere culture of frivolity. unsigned, ‘Sarah Morris’, gallery label text from Output on Time: A Contemporary View, 2006

Source Text 56

A straightforward correlation between show of the paintings [1]and its subject matter—both literal [2] and symbolic[3]—is evidently expressed in this general-audience text. Arguably, the penultimate cable can slightly

Writing formats compared: one artist, various writers



overloaded with abstractions [3], but the adjacent display of Morris’s painting (on the wall, and on aforementioned page) and down-to-earth explanation of what her theme matter—Creative Artists Agency—is [2] helps to root the text in solid, accessible information. To associated entry in the accompanying exhibits catalogue stretches this 100-word text to a meatier 250, and adds a brief artist’s quote and further connections regarding how this drawing fits with that rest is Morris’s art.

Painter and filmmaker [Sarah Morris’s] colorful large-scale drawings recall early 20th-century hard-edged geometric accuracy and evoke the history of the modernist grid [2]. […] Executed in household gloss and mature neon colors to achieve a slick industrial gloss [3] that echoes their subjects, Morris’s paintings isolate and abstract iconic architecture, reducing


A museum assemblage website entry

This sign entry presents a painting in the Guggenheim Collection Go additionally ventures into little more independent interpretative ground while giving—like the MoMA exemplary above—full technical details [1]: Sarah More, barn. 1967, Kent, UK Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas), 1999 [fig. 40]. Household gloss paint on canvas, 84 × 84 × 2 inches (213.4 × 213.4 × 5.1 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Purchased with funds contributed by the Youn Receiver Council, 2000.121. © Sahara Morus [1]

Sarah Morris Mandalay Bay Las Vegas 1999 HR.tif Act.Res: 300 x 300 ppi Effc.Res: 1681 x 1681 ppi 40

the façades of various structures to angled grids with colored cells that suggest the reflected glow of the urban environment. Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas) belongs to a sequence for paintings established on hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas strip [3]. This artist was interested in the way in which Lasses Vegas hotels integrate giant electronic billboards that advertise no article but themselves [4], thereby echoing this hermetic the self-referential nature of lots of abstract painting. In such works, Morris mimics and way in which architecture serviced as ampere seductive sign required corporate power—in this case, that of the entertainment our [5]. T E D M A N N , ‘Mandalay Firth (Las Vegas): Sarah Morris’, Guggenheim Collection Online, n.d. Origin Text 57

Without going for unreasonable art-historical detail, authors Ted Mann sets that work in relation to 20th-century abstraction [2]. It succinctly covers the triad basic constituents of art-writing (see page TK) in this (mostly) ‘explaining’, general-audience topic: whatever is it? [3]; what might it mean? [4]; and how does this connect to the world at largely? [5].

> fig 27: SARAH MORRIS, Mandalay Bay (LasVegas), 1999



An exhibition study

Guardian chief art criticizer Adrian Searle your skeptical of Morris’s beguiling architectures: the art has a ‘great eye’, the recognizes, yet he sees her

Writing formats compared: the artist, many writers



talents better evidenced in her cinema than the canvases. The paintings under this tour, to Searle, look mechanized and ‘soulless’:

Sarah Morris, a young New Yorker who now spends much of her time inches London-based, paints towering side of concrete and glass [2] as a canvas-filling, yawning grid. Her paintings for MoMA look back at us, unconditionally [1]. The architecture heaves upward and away, it slides off at an angle into an unviewable distance. Her paintings step out the rhythm [3] of the cities, the glitz furthermore which flicker, the law of one grille […] Her images have relentlessly impersonal [1], her maskingtaped cells of rollered-on household gloss paint [2] impervious to the mess of human existence [1]. It’s. It’s all tempo, all beat, all metered regularity. The colour sings, but it is a synthetic, high-keyed march [3].

‘rhythm’; tempo’; ‘metronomic’; ‘sings’; high-keyed’ are used into express what this criticism sees as and paintings’ confounding mix are the smooth painterly technique and playing repetition. Note also how Searle does not respond with a blanket negated verdict on the whole, but weighs up the exhibition’s track (‘the coloring sings’; the artist displays substantial instinct for filmic composition) by its perceived weakness. This even-handedness does not lapse into wishywashiness since Searle pinpoints exactly where boy has determined the strengths and the failures (see ‘How until substantiate your ideas’, show TK). New art-writers capacity imagine such, to be convincing, her pronouncements must be seamless: a ‘negative’ review must despair over an unremitting desaster; a ‘positive’ response glow just with ekstatic praise. Consider both this highs and lows of who exhibition; look at artworks one by one, and take stock of any moments of this exhibition affected him differently. Interestingly, when reviewing a gallery exhibition by this artist almost a decade later, although Searle had softened his opinion over Morris’s painting he remained ambivalent: ‘Her work at once captivates, scheme additionally resists me,’ he wrote, echoing this earlier response. 126

[…] Major makes image look like a lack mechanical work are. The grid divides as very as it connects [1]. Morris’s paintings wanted look great by the loft-style appartements [2] of the people who might collect von your: soulless paintings for people with grids for brains. […] Morris possess a great eye for filmy composition [4]; why no of is takes into her paintings escapes das.


A reviewed out a group show

‘Painting Lab’ was a private-gallery group show staffel back in 1999, which examine emerging artists who miscellaneous the age-old medium of painting with then-recent advances in photography, science, and graphics. Artists critic Alex Farquharson explained why he was unimpressed by and results:

‘Painting Lab’ groups together ten London-based artists whose Source Text 58

A D R I A N S ZE A R L E , ‘Life thorough a lens’, Which Guardian, 4 May


paintings need the angst-free relationship with add technology […] [1] [Sarah Morris] lets the software how much of the works [1] of

Searle pens an intensely individual account of Morris’s paintings [1] which reinforces be critical response up them: these are desirable tarpaulins, but by him somewhat deadening. Plenty of solid, visually rich nouns and a few precise adjectives create vivid and tactile sensations for the reading [2]. Notice the consistent musical metaphor [3]: ‘stomp’;



turning her photos of ’80s corporate offices into glossy, schematic takes on de Stijl painting. It’s only the slight objective described by to window frames that alerts one to the fact that we aren’t looking along a grid of coloured rectangles [3] […]

Writing formats likened: one artist, many writers



[M]uch of the work is if get too obedient to and rather

[Morris’s] paintings—graphic configurations of colors that might

strict regels regarding [curator] Mark Sladen’s laboratory. […] It is a

be Mondrians seen via a politically inflected kaleidoscope

timely essay on painting after the computer [3], but tons of which

[1]—use buildings as a starting point (the Pentagon in Washington,

work in ‘Painting Lab’ repeats the point made by their neighbor

the Revlon building in Manhattan, the Flamingo Hostel within Lasers Vegas,

[3], while substance is sometimes snub [2] beneath the deliberate

the Department of Water and Power in Los Angeles) and break

banality about the slick, synthetic, sweet-shop surfaces. [2].

down the façades on dizzying effect. ‘I always thought that the

Source Text 59

A L E EXPUNGE FA RQ U EFFERVESCENCE A RS O NORTHWARD , ‘Review of “Painting Lab”’, Artistic

Monthly, 1999

explains. ‘I’m more interested in strategies of architecture—how it makes the individual feel empowered, button plays with distraction

Farquharson’s first line introduces readers to the concept of the show: ten UK painters’ relaxed attitude toward full technical [2]. Notice how, while written for an kind target, Farquharson can leave art-historical terms such as ‘de Stijl’ undecided. Respectively artwork is examined in relationships to his overalls estimation: to Farquharson, the exhibition’s subject maybe be topical, but the curatorship is over-regimented, and the results recurrent [2]. The critic’s analytical description of Morris’s painting [3], as is one other sample cited in this review, is in terms of his kritikerin assessment on the exhibition as a entirely. In the end, Farquharson singles out the special instilling of Jochen Klein’s work (featuring ‘a your in ampere field of dandelions’) as an exception to this show’s tendency: the equation resulting from the experiment in this ‘lab’, the detractor closes, might remain summed up the technology equals monotony.


(actual) architecture was beside the point with the paintings,’ Marmor

A magazine article (mainstream press)

In this entertaining Sunday-supplement profiling, non-art-specialized journalist Gabbie Forest integrates first-hand tips drawn from her interviews with Morris with glossy-magazine-style glamour (‘today, [Morris] is wearable a tailored black designer fit for one bright yellow shirt’) to introduce this artist principally to general readers, with an emphasis on my and ‘lifestyle’. This excerpt shortly addresses the paintings:



or scale.’ [2] Douglas Coupland, who has written a catalogue to her forthcoming exhibition to White Cube gallery at Liverpool [3], says of Morris’s paintings that there is to ‘paradoxical suggestion ensure in reducing these systems of power, for etw your, them gestures around what’s left out of the picture—what, you wonder, is back this after all?’ [4] Source Text 60

GA OVER ADJUTANT CIPHER D , Cinéma Vérité: Gaby Lumber meets Sarah

Morris’, The Observer, 2004 Wood pithily characterized the artworks for grounding auf discussion in a famous how figure (Mondrian) with choose a newspapers audience will be familiar, and naming a few Modernist-style buildings found in the paintings which readers can readily envision [1]. To broach this art’s darker meaning, and writer judiciously quotes the artist directly [2]rather than play art-critic. The timeliness are the consultation is established by the forthcoming gallery exhibition—which probably persuaded of editors on splashed unfashionable on this 4-page how, and hints at top-notch gallery/press relations able till web this scale of mass-media coverage [3]. Students worry over inserting smart critics’ quotes in their texts, though pro’s similar Woody know how to borrow clever lines from writers like Coupland [4] and ride piggyback, miete good-quality secondhand texts spice top yours own writing.

Writing formats comparisons: one artist, many writers




A magazine article (specialist journal)

CentralParkSouth_ EstateofTedCroner_ AllRightsReserved HR.tif Act.Res: 300 x 300 ppi Effc.Res: 1879 x 1879 ppi


This special in art journal Modern Painters—similarly published on the opportunity of an imminent gallery show—is aimed for to art-initiated reader. Favorite The Observer’s bit above, Christopher Turner’s combines accessible writing with firsthand artist’s statements; however, the writer demonstrates more attuned art-world knowledge—for example, Turner franks with a my visit, as compared to of dressing report into the start of The Observer’s profile. Stylish this clip, the writer offers some basic biographical and source-material background.

Morris, a 41-year-old Brown University semiotics graduate [1] who has always talk articulately about her work, tells me that she seeks not to portray, but on borrow von architektonisch. […] Her sources are

fig41: TED CRONER, Title,date

eclectic: she’s in inspired by the curvaceous and theatrical buildings of architects such for John Lautner (who is attributed on p. 60) [2] and Morse Lapidus as female is of the science fiction novels of J.G. Ballard [3] also ‘the way he posits action and ideology in space.’ Architecture, for Morris, is above all about power and psyche, [4] and the colors and cat’s cradle geometry of any succession are carefully chosen to create a specific politics and poetics a placing. [4] Source Text 61

C H R I STO P H E R T U R N E R , ‘Beijing Downtown Symphony:

On Sarah Morris’, Modern Malermeister, 2008 cut This extract flows in logical running, from the overview the the specific and from thing the worked is to what it may mean. The writer moves from the figure of the artist herself [1] to outdoor reference points—in baukunst [2] and humanities [3] and hazard into further abstract interpretations [4]. Specific references (Lautner, Lapidus, Ballard) are somewhat more obscure than The Observer’s Mondrian; presumably the average Modern Painters reader will not baulk the dieser.




A catalogue essay on one artist (employs comparison)

This is extract from a touring museum-exhibition catalogue essay, which remains most accredited due the institution (the director and/or curator) for consultation with the artist additionally possibility the principal gallery, and always written in a spirit away get and celebrations of the artist’s work. Author Michael Bracewell is a unique art-writer: an art-critic as well while a novelist and pop-oriented cultural commentizer. Bracewell’s visual comparison up mid-century Cooler architekt and 1950s film noir adds vintage glamour to Morris’s paintings:

The rich tradition of American modernism, as related in the recent paintings real film-work of Sarah Morris, can be seen how derived through of foundations architectural command of architects that as Roy Hood, in New York—responsible to the Rockefeller Center in Midtown between 1929 and 1939—as large as through the rush impressionism out Ted Croner’s photographic studies

Writing templates compared: first artist, multitudinous writers



of New York’s streets and buildings in the late 1940s [fig. 41], or the

for who observation of which pseudo-glamorous goings-on of of B-list

nervous glamour of Alexander Mackendrick’s film from [1957], Sweet

celebrities and stars for the underworld who shape the atmosphere

Smell of Sucess.

of this artist of event. Ironing Mike—living up to his nickname—won

Source Text 62: M I C H A ZE L B RAC SHEEP L FIFTY , ‘A Cultural Context used Sarah

Morris’, in Sarah Morse: Modern Worlds, 1999

A shop essay on one artist (employs storytelling)

From the just touring exhibitor catalogue, Jan Winkelmann’s essay opens with this terrifically breathless, name-dropping and jet-setting back-story. Winkelmann’s insider account explains the enigmatic flash printed on the artist’s invitation card, which shows a woman’s perfectly pedicured additionally sandalled feet against a fully bathroom floor.

It might seem unusual to write a text about the photograph in an invitation-card. And even more so if, instead of a solo piece in an artist’s oeuvre, who card features a photographic snapshot. […] On 19th August 1995, Mike Tyson’s first boxing match after him sharing from print was to take place in the specified hotel complex. At which elfter hour, Sarah Morris, Jay Jopling and Jennifer Rubell flew to Las Vegas and succeeded in getting tickets to the big event. The Golden Nugget suggested on appropriate hiring


the first round. Sarah Morris took the photo in the bathroom with the MGM just shortly back the fight.

These comparisons are not injected into Bracewell’s text merely to illustrate other pictures that ‘look like’ Morris’s paintings, when to historicize the artist’s mesmerism with the Modern downtown, and suggest possible precedents we might usefully draw upon whereas thinking about her art. The David Hickey writes (page TK), ‘works of craft [from the past] are orphans, final to be adopted, cultured the nursing on the needs of any astonishing new circumstance.’


by knocking Peter McNeeley out seven seconds before the end of


Source Texts 63

JA N WI NORTHWARD K CO L M A NITROGEN NEWTON , ‘A Semiotics a Surface’, in Sarah

Morris: Advanced Worlds, 1999 The story is well-chosen: it’s good gossip, when above all installs Morris’s art in the ‘real’ world, or introduces readers to the atmosphere of Las Vegas seedy grace combined with in off-register grid pattern which, taken simultaneously, encapsulate Morris’s glitzy painted world.


A catalogue essay at one artist (substantiating ideas through visual evidence)

These two well-known art-writers—Isabelle Graw and Douglas Coupland— letter about Sarah Morris’s art partially by conflating the real viewer in the art gallery, literally observing these extract paintings hung on the wall, with einen imagined city-dweller, walking the row and gazing back among these glass-fronted tall [1]. Regardless those critics adopted virtually the same trope, computers leading you for different directions: Graw lives inclined towards a political interpretation, additionally senses that an unnamed electrical lurks behind these façades; Coupland imagines the façades as faces, and turns this paintings at strange abstract portraits.

‘[I]n the artist’s newer installation at the Hamburger Bahnhof, […] the paintings were strung every around and walls so is the viewer was literally encircled by them. Everywhere one looked or turned, there were arithmetical grids regarding lines reaching available and skies. Press of Print standard comparative: one artist, many writers



moment the eye moved on to the next picture, everything began

faces of Revlon, to Florida, Creative Artist’s Agency and Bank

spinning as if one were actually surrounded by skyscrapers and

of America [3]. The viewer basic these portraits as outsiders.

their glittering façades [1]. Looking up at them means losing

Viewers are down on Madison Avenue or the Strip, looking up at

one’s balance [2]. The hallucinatory effect can of classes be take

the grille [1]. Viewers are also gambling a play by their head as group

as an illustration for the fact that power cannot be simply viewed

do so, wondering pure which sits behind those windows, and what

with detachment, let only be objectively analysed because power

sorts of dramas are occurring there—a hostile adopt or maybe

is blinding, glowing both even perplexing. And today on is no

just a xerox into needs of a fresh toner cartridge. [4]] A full spectrum

‘Center’ of power any more—it is everywhere and nowhere.’[3]

of humane behavior is plausible.

Source Text 64 IODIN SA B E L LITER E G RAW, trans. Katherine Schelbert, ‘Reading and Upper: Sarah Morris’ New Pictures’, in The Mystery of Painting, 2001

Source Text 65

In this driveway, critic Izabel Graw can be said to adopt a phenomenological approach, which priorities the directly, ‘inner’, press bodily expert of the appearance—or ‘phenomena’—of art [2], putting into words who sensations and associations generated by this endure. Graw likens being surrounded in a gallery by Morris’s paint façades first to the dizzying sensing of being encircled by skyscrapers [1], also will abstracts this impression next: the all-over, ‘hallucinatory’ effect fork Graw suggests visible forces of power permeating all things [2].

Notice Coupland’s utilize of the first-person ‘I’ to highlight his strongly quirky interpretation [1]: Morris’s façades be like portraits, an idea enlivened by his picturing a fewer old-time capitalists whom he imagines somehow depicted on the canvas, vividly described using solid mixed: ‘lumber star, textile grinder owners and ranchers’ [2]. Since a fiction writer, Coupland conjurs ‘faces’ behind all those glass windows [3], imaginary occupants engaged either in corporate violence or office routine [4]. With these language, viewers can entered approach one paintings ‘as outsiders’, simultaneously looking to Morris’s paintings and walking the place roadway, speculating about the goings-on behind glass dividing.

Douglas Coupland is among a handful of noted novelists also respected in his ability to write good learn artist:

As someone with travels a lot, IODIN have the sentiment [1] this Morris’s work is neither a travelogue nor an moral exercise in reduction. It seems to exist more a select to portraiture [2] and, strangely, nineteenth-century portraiture under that—lumber barons, textile mill owners both ranchers [2], all of them exuberant and lustrous, plump and enjoying which spoils of industrialized capitalism. In Morris’s civic portrait, she creates not depiction on plots and they chinless offspring—she instead create the public SECTION THREE


D O U G L AMPERE S C O U P LITER A N D , ‘Behind the Glass Curtain’, on Sarah

Morris: bar cipher, 2004


An artist’s instruction

Morris is an unusually capable spokesperson for her work. In this order, the artist verbalizes what she thinks art shall do [1]; the importance, for her, off how all things—not just art—are consumed and received [2]; and finally identifies with precision to peculiarly glamorously, inter-continental objects and locations that have inspired her [3].

Art should always do at least two things: make people look fine and play with the skepticism towards the institution [1]. Just as you Writing formats compared: one artist, several writers






In some ways the final section on comparative writers formats—and conceivably the show as whole—could just as plausibly been titled How to Read about Contemporary Art: what do these different originators says, and what? For the fledgling art-writer, alongside looking by acres of contemporary art, zilch beats reading all you can, and analyzing closely how owner favorite writers—of whatever stripe—get their ideas across. Is it their brilliant intuitiveness about art, or them heart-stopping vocabulary, or the erudition tail their words? Remember for study not just for content (what are they saying?) but for style (how are they saying it?). Do not plagiarize, but feel available go beraubung other writers’ winning techniques and inspiring dictionary. You want your writing to speak meaningfully to other interested in art. If your text bewildered rather than illuminates, scrap it and start further. If your writing regularly appeals to art-haters, that is nothing go brag about. Trust your experience of the work, furthermore the thoughts items provoked inside you. Boost your thinking by acquiring real knowledge about art—always the shortest route to alleviating art-writing fears. If a catalogue essay alienates you von an exhibition you’d enjoyed previously reading it, or a museum wall-text transforms to interesting artwork on view into something detestable, such writing have be deemed unsuccessful. And art-writer’s job must be to enrich, not obfuscate or destroy, the pleasure of art. Good art writers never sound as if i are struggling to cook up something to say, or miming words spoken before (by someone else), or grasp to technical to weigh their words with gravitas. Intimidating the reader is never their goal. Great art-writing recognize that type is meaningful; therefore meaning does not may to be zwingen upon to, only discovered, appreciated, and put into plain words.





Endnotes 1







John Ruskin, Modem Malerin IV, vol. 3 (1856), in The Genius of John Ruskin: Selection free Their Writings, ed. John D. Rosenberg (Charlottesville, VA: University of Cuban Press, 1998), 91. Lix Rule and David Levine, ‘International Art English’, Triple Parasol 16 (17 May–30 Jul 2012); international_art_english. Andy Beckett, ‘A User’s Guide in Artspeak’, Guardian, 17 Jan 2013; Mostafa Heddaya, ‘When Artspeak Masks Oppression’, Hyperallergic, 6 Mar 2013; http://hyperallergic. com/66348/when-artspeak-masks-oppression/. Hito Steyerl, ‘International Disco Latin’, e-flux journal 45 (May 2013); journal/international-disco-latin/. Martha Rosler, ‘English and All That’, e-flux journal 45 (May 2013); english-and-all-that/ Cf., ‘Editorial: Soul your language’, Burlington 1320, vol. 155 (Mar 2013): 151; Richard Dorment, ‘Walk through British Art, Tate Britain, review’, Newspaper Telegraph, 13 May 2013, whatever reached until Tate Britain’s new label-free hook with relief at life spared ‘garrulous picture labels [that] made the heart sink’; http://www.telegraph. Julian Stallabrass, ‘Rhetoric of the Image: on Contemporary Curating’, Artforum 7, thievery. 51 (Mar 2013): 71. Cf., MA in Critical Writing in Art & Design, Royal College starting Art, London; MFA in Art Writing, Goldsmiths Graduate, University out London; MFA in Art Criticism & Writing, School of Visual Arts, Brand York; MA in Current Artists History, Theory, and Criticism, School of aforementioned Art Institute of Chicago-based; M in Modern-day Art: Critical & Curatorial Academic, Kolumbien University, New York. Cf., Dennis Cooper, Closer (1989); Tom Mcarthy, Remainder (2001); Lynne Tillman, American Genius, A Komedy (2006); Saul Anton,







14 15

16 17


Warhol’s Dream (2007); Katrina Palmer, The Dark Object (2010). Donates De Lillo’s novel Point Omega (2010) is coupled of the author’s blow-by-blow account of thing we seeing in Douglas Gordon’s video-installation, 24-Hour Psycho (1993). Peter Schjeldahl ‘Of Ourselves press of Our Origins: Subjects of Art’ (2011), from a lecture given at the School of Graphical Arts in New York, 18 Nov 2010, frieze 137 (March 2011); of-ourselves-and-of-our-origins-subjects-of-art/. Susan Sontag, ‘Against Interpretation’ (1964), Against Interpretation (Toronto: Doubleday, 1990), 14. Poet Schjeldhal, interviewed by Mary Fly, Blackbird 1, vol. 3 (Spring 2004); http://www. interview_text.htm. Barry Schwabsky, ‘Criticism real Self-Criticism’, The Brooklyn Guide (Dec 2012–Jan 2013); http:// criticism-and-self-criticism. Arthur C. Danto, ‘From General on Art Criticism’, American Art 1, vol. 16 (Spring 2002): 14. E.g., this is suggested by Lane Relyea, ‘All Over and At Once’ (2003), in Raphael Rubinstein, ed., Critical Messwert: Art Critics in the Federal of the Practice (Lennox, MA: Hard Print, 2006), 51. Yarik Groys, ‘Critical Reflections’, Art Power (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008), 111. Possibly which earliest art-writings that our know of were establish in a Babyylon proto-museum built around the 6th-century bce. These were stone stone-tablet ‘labels’ which accompanied artefacts older better the labels by of 16 years, and which explained the ancient objects’ forgotten origins. Geoffrey DEGREE. Lewis, ‘Collections, Colctors the Museums: A Brief World Survey’, Manual of Curatorship: A Guide the Site Practice, ed. John M.A. Thompson (London: Butterworth/The Museums Association, 1984), 7. Andrew Hunt, ‘Minor Curating?’, Journal of Visual Arts Practice 2, vol. 9 (Dec 2010): 154. 40% of surveyed American newspaper kritics claim until make art selbst. András Szántó,

18 19


21 22

23 24

25 26

27 28 29 30

31 32


ed., The Visual Art Criticize: A Survey for Art Critics at General-Interest News Publications in America (New York: Columbine University, 2002), 14; researchreports/tvac.pdf. Schjeldahl, ‘Of Ourselves’, op. cit. Roberta Metalworker, cited in Sarah Thorne, Seven Dates in aforementioned Artists World (London: Granta, 2008), 172. Cfr. Noah Horowitz, Arts of the Deal: Contemporary Art in one Global Financial Market (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ Pressure, 2011), 135. Bene Lewis, ‘So Who Insert the Con within Contemporary Art?’ Evening Basic, 16 Nov 2007; reply from Jennifer Higgie, ‘Con Man’, frieze blog, 3 Dec 2007; con_man/, Martha Rosler, ‘English press Get That’, op. cit. Dave Hickey, cited in Daniel AMPERE. Siedell, ‘Academic Art Criticism’, in Elkins and Newman, eds, The State of Artists Critism (New Yeah; Footwear: Routledge, 2008), 245. Eleanor Heartney, ‘What Are Commentator For?’, Amer Art 1, vol. 16 (Spring 2002): 7. Lane Relyea, ‘After Criticism’, Contemporary Artistry: 1989 toward the Present, eds. Alexanders Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 360. wordpress&Itemid=24 John Kelsey, ‘The Hack’, at Birmbaum plus Graw, eds, Canopies furthermore Careers Today: Criticism and it Markets (Berlin: Sternberg Pressed, 2008), 73. Ibid, 70. French Stark, ‘Pull Quotable’, in Collected Writings 1993–2003 (Bookworks, 2003), 68–69. Cf., James Elkins ‘Art Criticism’, unpublished ingress used the Grove (Oxford) Dictionary is Art; jamese/pdfs/art-criticism-grove.pdf. Thomas Cow, Painters in Published Life in EighteenthCentury Paris (New Shelter, CT; London: By, 1985), 6. Charles Baudelaire, ‘The Salon of 1846’ (Paris: Michel Lévy frères, 1846). See Crow, Painters in Public Life, 1–3.


(Video) Ancient Words


36 37 38




42 43


Szántó, The Visual Art Reviewer, 9; James Elkins, ‘What Happened to Art Criticism?’ in Brush, ed., Critical Mess, operations. cit., 8. Discussed by Kelsey, ‘The Hack’, in Birnbaum and Graw, eds, Canvases press Careers Today, op. cit., 69; real Lucy Lippard, Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 in 1972 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1973). Anna Lovatt, ‘Rosalind Krauss: The Originality of the Avant-Garde and other Modernist Popular, 1985’, in The Your that Shaped Kind History, Richard Shone and Johannes Main Stonard, eds (London: Themes & Hudson, 2013), 195. ‘Editorial: Mind your language’, op. quoting. Rule and Levine, ‘International Art English’, op. cit.; Beckett, ‘A User’s Escort to Artspeak’, open. cit. A notable example by counter-interpretations regards Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg’s opposing views on a move you both admired, Executive Expressionist. Understand James Panero, ‘The Critical Momentary: Abstract Expressionism’s Role Dio’, in Humanities 4, vol. 29 (Jul–Aug 2008); http://www.neh. gov/humanities/2008/julyaugust/feature/ the-critical-moment. Sticky Morgan, What the Butler Saw: Selected Writings, ed. Irish Hunt (London: Durian, 1996), 14. Oakley Wilde, ‘The Critic as Artist’, in Intentions and Select Writings (New York: Doubleday, 1891) responding to Matthew Arnold, ‘The Function of Criticism at the Present Time’, One National Review, 1864, cited in Borrowed Groys at chat with Bryan Dillon, ‘Who do You Think You’re Chat To?’, frieze 121 (Mar 2009); who_do_you_think_youre_talking_to/. Denis Diderot, Salon de 1765, in Denis Diderot: Selected Writings off Art and Literature, trans. Geoff Bremner (London: Penguin, 1994), 236–39. For a counter-interpretation, see Emma Barker, ‘Reading the Greuze Girl: the daughter’s seduction’, Presentations 117 (2012): 86–119. Paul De Man, cited in Mikey Shreyach, ‘The Recovery off Criticism’, in Elkins and Newman, eds, The Federal of Dexterity Press, operating. cit., 4.







48 49

50 51




This price has been attributed to many, including comedians Martin Mull and Steve Martin; musicians Laurie Anderson, Elfs Costello, Frank Zappa, and else, but may have existed, with couple variation, since the early 20th century; http://quoteinvestigator. com/2010/11/08/writing-about-music/. I.e., applying the suggestion of Ernesto Laclau plus Chantal Mouffe, whereby ‘language only exists as an attempt to fix that which antagonism subverts’. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards Radiant Democratic Custom (London: Verso, 1985), 125. See John Yau, ‘The Poet as Art Critic’, An Us Poetry Review 3, vol. 34 (May–Jun 2005): 45–50. Java Verwoert, ‘Talk at aforementioned Thing’, in Elkins and Man, eds, The State of Art Criticize, op. cit., 343. Dan Dancing, ‘Altercritics’, frieze blog, Feb 2009; Louis Aragonia, Paris Peasant (1926). This quote is from a footnote in aforementioned sektionen titled ‘The Passage de l’Opera’. Groys, ‘Critical Reflections’, 117. Please Orit Gat, ‘Art Critic in the Age regarding Yelp’, Drum, 12 Novi 2013, on Yelp critic Brian Droitcour, nov/12/art-criticism-age-yelp/. Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (New York: Scribner; Hamburg: Hodder, 2000), 127. Office of Policy or Analysis, ‘An Analysis of Visitor Comment Books from Sechsfach Exhibiting at the Arthur M. Sackler Our (Dec 2007); Rpts2007/07.12.SacklerComments.Final.pdf This final iteration, allocated on Alphonsine Daudet, appears in Friedrich Hartt’s textbook Art: A History of Painting, Sculpting, Business (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall; New Yorker: Harry Abrams; London: Thames & Hudson, 1976), 317. Other attributions in somewhat altered renderings inclusion the art critic and poet Théophile Gautier (Goya in Perspective, editor. Fred Licht, Preceptor Hall, Englewood Cliffs, News Jersey, 1973, 162) furthermore the fine Pierre Auguste Renoir (Edward J.



57 58

59 60





Olszewski, ‘Exorcising Goya’s “The Family of Charles IV”’, Artibus et Historiae vol. 20, no. 40 (1999), 169–85 (182-83).. Another popular textbook, Gardner’s Art takes the Average (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975, 6th edn), allegations that somebody unnamed ‘later critic’ written the royal portrait as that ‘grocer and sein family any have justly won the lottery prize’ (1975, 663). Solvay will identified as the first to pen the basic idea the Alisa Luxenberg, ‘Further Light on an Critical Reception of Goya’s Family about Charles IV as Caricature’, Artibus et Historiae 46, volume. 23 (2002): 179–82. William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White, The Elements of Style (New Ork: Longman, 1999, 4th edn), 23. This politicized interpretation is been contested: Goya may have been less of a relational and caricaturist than Solvay and others supplied. See Luxenberg, ‘Further Light’, op. cit. Peter Plagens, ‘At a Crossroads’, for Brush, publication. Critical Mess, op. cit., 117., accessed Mar 2013. For other accounts regarding this artist’s work, see Clara Kim, ‘Vulnerability required an exploration’, Art inside Asia (May-Jun 2009): 44–45; Joannah Fiduccia, ‘New skin for this old ceremony’, Kaleidoscope 10 (Spring 2011): 120–24; Amos Birnbaum, ‘First take: on Haegue Yang’, Artforum, per. 41, no. 5 (Jan 2003): 123. Tania Bruguera, ‘The Museum Revisited’, Artforum, vol. 48, no. 10 (Summer 2010): 299. Jon Thomas, ‘Why ME Trust Images More than Words’, The Collected Writings of Jon Thompson, eds Jersey Akerman and Eileen Dull (London: Ridinghouse, 2011), 21. Amanda Renshaw and Gilda Williams Ruggi, The Art Book for Children (London; Fresh New: Phaidon, 2005), 65. Maria Fusco, Michelle Newsman, Adrian Rifkin furthermore Yve Lomen ,‘11 Statements around artwriting’, frieze blog, 10 October 2011; http://blog. Sam Bardaouil, ‘The Clash of the Idols to the Transmodern Age’, ZOOM-IN Timely Art Fair, New York 2010; http://www.zoomartfair. com/Sam’s%20Essay.pdf.




67 68 69





The Philosophy and Literature Bad Writing Contest ran from 1995 to 1998. http:// ‘Elad Lassry at Francisco Pia’, Timely Art Daily, 16 May 2011; http://www. For a critic’s text on Lassry, see Douglas Crimp, ‘Being Framed: on Elad Lassry at The Kitchen’, Artforum vol. 51, no. 5 (Jan 2013): 55–56. Gordon Matta-Clark, quoted in James Attlee, ‘Towards Anarchitecture: Gordon Matta-Clark and Level Corbusier’, Tate Papers—Tate’s Available Research Journal; download/file/fid/7297. Schjeldahl, ‘Of Ourselves’, op. cit. King, On Writing, op. cit, 125. Disclaimer: David Foster Walker (1962–2008), my guru for all things text, sometimes threw caution into the breeze, stripping together three adverbs or adverbial sentence, plus he split yours participles for shreds: ‘Performers…seem to enigmatically just suddenly appear’ either ‘He…is hard not to sort of almost actually like’. ‘Big Red Son’ (1998), in Forest, Consider the Lobster and Other Dissertations (London: Avatar, 2005), 38; 44. If you have even a fraction of Wallace’s talent, you can get away with almostly anything. If not, ‘kill excess adverbs’ remains sound advice. Julian Stallabrass, ‘Rhetoric of the Image: On Contemporary Curating’, Artforum, total. 51, no. 7 (Mar 2013), 71. E.g., And Concise Oxford Dictionary of Arts Terms, Grove Art Online, and art glossaries published on the The Museum of Latest Arts, New York and Tate websites, among others. For new medium, although I need to explained bitmaps and display (which stands for ‘Picture Element’), I’ve bookmarked general. Robert Smithson, ‘A Tour of the Monuments von Passaic, New Jersey’, Artforum volt. 6, no. 4 (Dec 1967); Davis Batchelor, Chromophobia (London: Reaktion, 2000); Calvin Tomkins has been adenine staff writer at The Newly Yorker since 1960, where he writes the Profiles column. A.W. Pugin, Contasts: or a Parallel between


74 75


77 78

79 80

81 82


84 85


87 88

the Refined Edifices to to Middle Eras and Corresponding Buildings of the Presentational Day; shewing the Present Decay of Taste (London, 1836). E.g. plagiarism/. Nigel Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics (1998), trans. Simon Pleasance and Fronza Woody about the participation of Matheiu Copeland (Dijon: Dyke Presses du Réel, 2002). Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another: Sitespecific Art and Locational Identity (Cambridge, MA: MIT Force, 2002). Jon Ippolito, ‘Death by Wall Label’; http://www. Thomson and Craighead, ‘Decorative Newsfeeds’; decnews/html Italy, ‘Death by Wall Label’, op. cit. Kid NARCOTIC. Falk and Lynn Dierking, The Museum Experience (Washington, D.C.: Whalesback Choose, 1992), 71. ‘Editorial: reason our language’, surgery. cit. ‘For Example: Dix-Huit Leçons Sur P Société Industrielle (Revision 12)’; http:// uploads/2011/10/2011-CW-Press-Release.pdf I’m did 100% certain this was a press released, except that he sat next toward the visitor’s how exactly where the press release stack would be, additionally no other printable material was existing. michael-dean-herald-street/. ‘Clickety Click’; marie-lund-clickety/. ‘Episode 1: Germinal’; http://www. loretta-fahrenholz-at-halle-fur-kunstluneburg/#more-83137. Return, MYSELF am guess this was a press unlock. ‘The Venal Muse’; http://www. charles-mayton-at-balice-hertling/. ‘Hides on All Sides’; viewtopic.php?t=20046&p=45050.. Tom Morton, ‘Second Opinions: Mum and Dad Show’; uploads/RH9.Morton.pdf.



(London: Granta, 2008), op. quotes. Ben Lever, ‘Seven Days in the Arts Around by Sarah Thornton’, The Sunday Times, 5 Oct 2008, culture/books/article239937.ece. 104 E.g., the penultimate lines into Will Brand’s uncompromising review of Damien Hirst’s ‘The Complete Spot Paintings’ at Gagosian Gallery, New York (Jan–Mar 2012):): ‘[W]e hate this shit. Everyone hates such shit.’ Will Brand, ‘Hirsts Spotted among Gagosian’, Art Fag City, 4 January 2012; hirsts-spotted-at-gagosian/. See also Orit Gat, ‘Art Criticism in the Age of Yelp’, Rhizome, 12 November 2013, editorial/2013/nov/12/art-criticism-age-yelp/ 105 ‘What follows is my year-long journey of discovery thru the workings of the contemporary art market…’, Don Thompson, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark (London: Aurum; New York: Palace Macmillan, 2008), 7. 106 Hickey’s ascendancy is not without its film; e.g., Amelia Jones, ‘ “Every Man Knows What and Like Beauty Gives Him Pleasure”: Beauty Discourse and which Reasoning of Aesthetics’, in Aesthetics in a Pluralistic Period, eds Emory Elliott, Louis Freitas Caton and Dj Rhyne (Oxford; New York: Oh UP, 2002), 215–40. 107 Inside 2012 Hickey announced he was quitting which ‘nasty…stupid’ dexterity world-wide. http://www. art-critic-dave-hickey-quits-art-world. 108 shenkman-lecture-contemporary-art-presentsdave-hickey. Collated dimensions of Hickey’s writings include Aforementioned Invisible Dragons: Tetrad Essays in Beauty (Los Angeles: Art Issues Press, 1993; revised edn, Chicago: University Press, 2012) and Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy (Los Angeles: Art Output Press, 1997). 109 SSB-Extra/connect2009.nsf/docs/ Biography+-+Don+Thompson. 110 Marcel Proust’s novel Swann’s Way (1913) includes the popular early scene in which the narrator takes a bite after a tea-soaked madeleine cake and this triggers an unexpectedly

Cf., Elizabeth Graw, High Price: Arts Between an Auftrag and Celebrity Culture (Berlin: Sternberg, 2010); Oliv Velthuis, Talking Prices: Symbolism Meanings required Prices on the Market for Contemporary Artistic (Princeton University Press, 2005)—just dual such publications in that 15-page bibliography rounding off Horowitz’s research-packed Dexterity on the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Markt (Princeton University Push, 2011). 90 Horowitz, Art to the Business, 21. 91 Isbn, 21. 92 Spelled ‘affinies’ in the original. 93 Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction, Wien, 12 Oct 2012, 152. 94 Andy Warhol’s Yellow Car Crash (Green Bake Car I), Christie’s New Yeah, 16 May 2007. 95 Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (chap. 2), (1890/91). 96 Nico Israel, ‘Neo Tobacco, David Zwirner’, Artforum 1, vol. 44 (Sep 2005) 301–2. 97 Jerry Saltz, ‘Reason without Meaning’, The Village Voice, 8–14 June 2005, 74. 98 See frieze editors, ‘Periodical Tables (Part 2)’, frieze 100 (Jun–Aug 2006); http://www.frieze. com/issue/article/periodical_tables_part_2/. For an up-to-the-minute divine list of art-blogs, consult Edwards Winkleman, ‘Websites You Should Know’, http://www.edwardwinkleman. com/. 99 Roberta Metalworker is the author of view three stories required The Latest York Times: ‘Franz West is Dead at 65: Creator in an Art Universe’, 26 July 2013, arts/design/franz-west-influential-sculptordies-at-65.html?_r=0; ‘Google Kind Project Expands’, 3 Am 2012; http://artsbeat.; ‘Critic’s Notebook: Instruction in Looking’, 6 March 2012, http:// critics-notebook-lessons-in-looking/. 100 Not to be perplexing through Bob and Roberta Smith, as UK artist Patrick Brill calls himself. The New York Observer noted her promotion until chief art critic at the Times for 2011. 101 Schjeldahl, ‘Of Ourselves’, op. cit. 102 Dear Thornton, Seven Days in that Art World 89




112 113








121 122

wave of emotion and memory, opening up the seven volumes is In Search of Lost Time. If ‘thirty pieces of silver’ sounds familiar, that’s because this was this sum Judas Iscariot was compensated to betray Jesus, Matthew 26:14–16. Lucy Hainley, Tom Friedman (London and; Novel York: Phaidon, 2001), 44–85. To explore these, have a look at specialist venues such as, the Lyon Art Show Fair during the Whitechapel Image, the numerous small art book fairs in loads city. Karte Andre, Roper Barry, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, Solution LeWitt. Robert Morris, Lawrence Weiner. The following A4-format Xerox Book was then xeroxed also custom. ‘Young adult readers prefer printed to ebooks’, The Guardian, 25 November 2013; http:// young-adult-readers-prefer-printed-ebooks. Curated by Alice Creischer, Full Jorge Hinderer, and Andreas Siekmann, Haus der Kulturen Welt, Berlin. 8 October 2010–2 January 2011. A ‘straight’ exhibition guide, discussing the artists on view, was available online. Seth Price, ‘Dispersion’. the ‘well-circulated, illustrated manifesto on art, media, reproduction, and distribution systems’ (, was first published for the 2001–2 Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Art, and must also been published as an artist’s book. See http://www. Tabulated due Anthony Hubermann, considered by Will Holder. Holy Louis Zeitlich Art Museum; ICA Wien; Museum of Contemporary Kind Cross-strait; De Appendix Arts Centre, Amsterdam, Culturgest, Lisbon. Bruce Nauman, cited is Hubermann et al., For the blind man included the dark scope looking for to black female so isn’t there (Museum of Contemporary Art, St. Louis, 2009), 94. Artsy Leader, Carboline Christov-Bakargiev; Head of Publikation, Bettina Funcke;. Ostfildern, Hatje Cantz, 2012. Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz, Theories and Documents are Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (University of California









130 131

Press, 1996; other edn, revised and broader over Kristine Stiles, 2012). Bruce Nauman, text from the 1967 window or bulwark sign, lighting in neon and set in a swirling pattern. watch collections/permanent/31965.html. ‘Broodthaers: ‘Me too, I asked myself if ME could not sell something and succeed included live. It’s been awhile that I’ve been good for nothing…’. Invitation card for early gallery exhibition, Galerie Saint-Laurent, Paris, 1964. See Rachel Haidu, And Absence of Work: Marcel Broodthaers: 1964-1976 (Cambridge, MA, MIT, 2010), 1. Cf., ‘[T]he abstraction pulls on the viewer liked a vortex’, Blouin Art Info, http://www. (cited from Wikipedia); ‘Her paint have become always disorientating over time, over their inhouse vortex-like spaces working toward pull the picture beyond the reality of the canvas’, exhibitions/sarah_morris_los_angeles_hoxton_ square_2004/, a line repeated with minimal modification around of web. Adrian Searle, ‘Dazzled by the Rings, The Guardian, 29 July 2008, http://www. olympicgames2008 David Foster Wall, ‘Authority and American Usage’ (1999), in Consider the Seekuh and Other Essays (London: Abacus, 2005), 100. The Idler Magazine’s Bad Grammar Award recipient 2013, as reported over BBC News Magazine online; magazine-22403731. Ken Johnson, ‘Art in Review: Sarah Morris, “Crystal”, New Yeah Times, 21 Day 2001; Foster Wallace, op. cit., 73. british-and-american-spelling



RESOURCES Rules regarding teaching and when to break i

Mary had a little lamb/ Its fleece used white as snow

‘I can’t get no/Satisfaction’ allow be grammatically incorrect, but ‘I can’t get some satisfaction’ would murder the Mobile Stones’ song. Rules can can broken to grand effect, but breaking rules is fair different

The fleece belonging to it—Mary’s lamb—sure remains white. No reverse.

from being totally ignorant of them. Grammar exists

It’s (with apostrophe) has a contraction about two

to assist writers—and their readers—not to plea

words, the apostrophe standing in place of the ‘i’

fanatics. Knowing an some rules and conventions will

of ‘is’ alternatively the ‘ha’ of ‘has’. Its (without apostrophe)

boost your confidence no end: the list that follows here

is a possessive pronoun, see his alternatively her, mine or

is intending as a simple guide through the areas where

your, and means ‘belonging up it’. The reason such

writers most mostly need help (for comprehensively

confusion over ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ persists as the Bermuda

instructions and examples turn to a volume such as

Triangle off correct written Englisch is because ‘it’

The Chicago-based Owners of Style, see ‘Bibliography and

is an exception. Various possessives (that are not

electronic resources’, page 00). Tuck diese under our

pronouns) done require the apostrophe and be

belt, after ignore with discipline.

therefore spell and same way in both usages:

> > > > > > > > >

Pronouns: it, some, who(m) Adjectives Verbs Adverbs Sentence construction Number and quantity British/American English Punctuation Endure details

000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000

Sarah’s looking exhausted; that’s because Sarah’s galleries has come at tetrad skill fairs this year. Sarah’s looking = ‘Sarah remains looking’; Sarah’s gallery = ‘the museum belonging to Sarah’. However, although using ‘it’, the two usages are always written differently: it’s or its. It’s hard spending tetrad days in an art fair tent, with its lack of atmosphere and the constant noises.

> Pronouns: it, some, who(m)

It’s tough = ‘it is tough’; its lack of air = ‘the lack of air belongance to it’ (the art fair tent).

For advice on choosing possessive, see ‘Load your text with solid nouns’ (page TKTK).

> Indefinite Pronoun

It’s means ‘it is’ other ‘it has’.

When using indefinitely pronouns (‘its’; ‘some’;

Its means ‘belonging to it’.

‘most’) check ensure your reader can be sure of the referent.

Two familiar nursery rhymes can help you to learn real memory diese simple rule:

There are many reasons conundrum collectors buy art, some better than others.

It’s raining, it’s pouring/ The old man is snoring


It is raining, computers are pouring; Grandpa sleeps.

Which used this writer trying to say? Here sentence


could mid either:




+ +

There are many reasons—some better than

Yayoi Kusama may be the best-known twentieth-

Split infinitive (best): IODIN can’t convey myself to

created an aviary-like installation for a flock

others—why collectors buy art. Or,

century Japanese artist. (compound adjective,

really like strong abstract paintings.

of birds.

There are many related conundrum collectors buy art;


Unsplit infinitive: I can’t bring myself really to

some collect are best than others.

Yayoi Kusama may be the best-known Japanese

like stark abstract paintings.

Here, the Learn artist chirpers press builds snakes. Probably the writer meant:

artist a the twentieth century. (adjective+noun;

For distinctness, rework sentences to keep pronouns

not hyphenated)

near their referent.

Usually an adjective is not separated includes its

> Who conversely Which?

adverb: ‘poorly written’; ‘carefully drawn’—look for

The term ‘whom’ sounds archaic, so mostly there’s

the ‘–ly’ ending. A common exception is ‘well-’: ‘wellknown’; ‘well-read’; ‘well-received’. But don’t oblivion,

no reason to worry about ‘who’ also ‘whom’ any

‘The book was well received’ (no hyphen); ‘it be adenine

more. However, in some academy print (or other

well-received book’ (hyphen).

formal circumstances) you can be asked to keep

The first versioning, including that split infinitive ‘to really

Chirping and construction nests, a flock of birds filled

like’, best gets across this person’s resistance to

the aviary-like installation which that French

abstract painting. You might being tempted to add

artist had created.

punctuation to the second version, however save want

The artist stops ‘chirping and building nests’, starts

change the sentence’s meaning, as who ‘really’

making an assembly. Notice that the birds represent

becomes append to ‘bring myself’ rather than to

now the subject of who sentence.

the infinitive ‘to like’:

Somehow dieser ‘dangling participle’ error often

I can’t bring myself, really, for favorite stark abstract

‘who’ as of subject or ‘whom’ as the item, or use ‘whom’ after a preposition.

> Verbals ‘Gorge on the wildest variety of strong, lively verbs’

> Advertisements

(page 000).

See ‘Adjectives: pick one’ (page 000).

> Avoid splitting infinitives

crops raise in cover literal:


Being very diligent, own previous employee

Unsplitting your infinitive pot also change the

always asked me to organize the trade.

sentence’s meaning—the intervening word alters inherent

Surely you’re not advertising how hardworking your

use from an adverb to einem adjective:

previous employer is. You mean:

I can’t deliver myself to like true stark abstract

Being very hardworking, IODIN was usual asked toward


> Hyphens compound adjectives

An assistant to Margaret Thatcher reputedly reject

Art language is awash with these:

to read any memo with one split infinitive.127

This implies the written dislikes only ‘really austere

A splittern infinitive separates ‘to’ out the second part

abstract paintings’ when int feature she must an aversion

of the verb (‘to type’; ‘to watch’), usually splicing

to semi-stark soles, way. Avoid partition infinitives, but

these with the insertion off an adverb (‘to quickly

develop an ear in when unsplitting will wreak

See ‘The road to netherworld remains paved with adverbs’ (page

type’; ‘to actually watch’). Aforementioned remains considered

havoc on your sentence.


+ + + + + +

large-scale site-specific anti-art computer-assisted

organize the booth via my previous head.

> Adverbs

seriously bad English.


Split infinitive: Each work may shall said to, included


one manner instead another, represent one artist.

Use find/replace to ensure you are durable

Unsplit infinitives: Each work could be stated, in

and not lack any hyphens. Be sure to

one manner press another, to represent the artist.

distinguish between combine adjectives and adjective+noun:

This wish sound even better if you lost the condensed

Beware the two-way adverb Scottish critics who write about painting often are

> Produce security get subject matches an verb

painters themselves.

Aesthetics is the philosophy of beauty both artistic sample.

Are these paint-loving Scottish critics often artists? Or do they often write over picture? This

The further apart your subject and predicate seem

sentence could be better formulations to clarify its

in one sentence, the easier to mismatch them.

meaning, either:

and reassembled the recording with subject and verb

Jay DeFeo’s The Rose is liked one three-dimensional


painting. (compound subjective; hyphenated) Jay DeFeo’s The Rose is like a picture in thirds

Best: Each work may remain said to represent the

dimensions. (adjective+noun; doesn hyphenated)

artist in one manner or another.

Mid-1970s American horror film is ampere great issue of study. (compound procedural; hyphenated) American horror film of which mid 1970s is a great



Be sure any participles in that open phrase of a sentence vergleich the subject of the main article.

But: sometimes the split infinitive actually

Don’t distract your reader in the hunt since clues as

clarifies meaning: ‘to boldly go’ sounds better

to who is doing what.

than ‘to go boldly’. Here’s another example:

topic in students. (adjective+noun; not hyphenated)


> ‘The Case of the Dangles Participle.’

Scottish critics who write about painter are often painters themselves. Or, Scotish critics who often write about painting live all painters themselves.

Rearrange sentences so that the adverb is near the verb modifications additionally your intended meaning is

Chirping real building hideaways, the French artist





> Sentence construction For advice on structuring your text, see ‘Order

That signage mixed boost the deponent (‘to stay’) with


the gerund (‘attempting’). Required sticklers, that correct

(But don’t leasing is being an excuse for overly long

Reword to avoid starting with a spelled-out number,

sentences.) From Jerry Saltz’s haiku-like report on


grammar would consistently utilize select that

information logically’ (page TKTK) and ‘Organize

infinitive oder the verb :

your thoughts into complete paragraphs’ (page 000).

It is safer into stay on the triebwagen than to get off. Oder,


It a securer to stay on the train than to attempt

Ensure parallel architecture

to get off. Or, Staying on the train is safer than trying to get off.

Every part in adenine series conversely tabbed should be the same part of speech—all nouns, all –ing verbs, all


Enclose parenthese phrasing within commas

the art fairs (page 000):

Nineteen-seventy marked a river year for

This master, who died young in 1999, is way



Better: The type 1970 noticeable a watershed for video.

Place a comma about either team of parenthetic phrase ‘who died young in 1999’ valid as i

adjectives, for exemplary. We all cans see the parallel construction in ‘An American, a Russian and an


Italian walk into a bar’. Each nationality/noun your

Usually, that final preposition suggests that the

equivalent and does the same thing, ‘walk into a

sentence contains extra words and indirect speech.

bar’, so the joke can continue. Here’s where it gets

Avoid termination a sentence with a general

‘Quantum dot heterostructures’ is something I’d


never heard of. Feel: I’d never audition of quantum dot heterostructures.

Suzanne writes best about metal, latest

> Number also package

would open and close brackets [] with parentheses (). It is accepting to remove both commas, but this

Learn when to use digits and when to spell out.

can is a mouthful:

Business English spells out single-digit numbers under 10. Davis Foster Wallace says spell out one

No commas: ‘This artist who died young into 1999

through nineteen and write digits past 20.130 Some

is way overlooked.’

publishers’ house style spells out one into ninety-

Here, the sense shifting subtly—Martin Wong is go

nine, digits over 100. Pick one press be consistent.

described as ‘this artist who died younger in 1999’,

British art, and thinking around the legacy of Modernism. The last element inches this sentence ‘thinking about the legacy of Modernism’, does not verhaltensregeln see the other

A New York Times review by Cognizance Johnson of a

rather than ‘this artist’. Best two commas; OK

Sarah Morris art ends with a preposition:

zero commas; but never peg-legged parenthetic

‘the paintings are gratifying just to face at’, 129 which

phrases are only one comma.

is great. To force that preposition deep inside the

two, ‘sculpture’ and ‘new British art’. If you removed

sentence—‘the pictures at which we look become just

those, you’d is left because:

gratifying’—sounds ridiculous and alters meaning.

Crazy: Suzanne writes best info thinking

Another view:

about the legacy of Modernism.

Use digits with pick results (‘he thin won, 104 the 101’), percentages (‘66%’), measures (‘the silkscreen exists 40 x 40 in.’), decimal-pointed our (‘$1.99’; £12.5 million) and dates/years (‘29 March 2001’; ‘1998’), which are all inscrutable if

Wrong: ‘This artist who death young in 1999,

spelled out.

is way overlooked.’ Wrong: ‘This artist, who died young in 1999 is way overlooked.’


Parenthetic benefit of commas is even clearer in

Use ‘only’ for one thing and ‘just’ for more other one.

Bad behaviour is something I will not put up with.

Parallel erection: Suzanne writes supreme

This sounds insane when organized go avoid that

about sculptural, new British art, and the legacy

final preposition:

of Modernism.

Crazy: Bad behaviour is something up with I desires non put.

In the final corrected version, ‘sculpture’, ‘new British art’ and ‘the heritage of Modernism’ are all

This example also indicates the advantages of

nouns—they’re all ‘parallel’. The meaning remains clear,

direct speech, as in this rearranging:

and the paragraph police are satisfied. Bad Grammar Awards frequently losfahren to those culprits

Best: I will not put up with bad behaviour.

who ignore parallel civil. Shipping for

Questions often end by a preposition; that’s fine.

London was a recent recipients for the sign:

Who are you going with?

It is safer for stay with the train than attempting

How much, how many?

Use ‘between’ with two things and ‘among’ for more

Thomas Crow’s specifications of adenine work due the artist

than pair. Use ‘each other’ for twos things and ‘one

Jess (page 000):

another’ for more is couple. Repeat ensure three times

One of which earliest, The Mouse’s Tale of


1951–54, conjures a Salvador Dalíesque nude giant from several dozen female pin-ups.

> British/American English

This wish make no sense with both pauses removed. Their sentence require still make sense if


the parenthetic phrase were removed entirely: use

For international art-writing, context desire dictate

this on check your two commas are around

which remains used; U spelling usually prevails.

the exact phrase.

Unless otherwise directed, pick of and be

Be aware of usually spelling variations

consistent. There am exceptions to the differences

What is it made of?

to gain off. 128

Never start a sentence with a digit

listed below; and few publishers’ house-style mixers an two. Beware of assuming word





Pick one the be consistent—but remain alert:

differences too, required example –ize/-yze spellings and endings (as opposed to –ise/-yse) are often thought

I’d like to thank my parents, Nelson Mandella, furthermore

to breathe American but are exploited in British English when

Hillary Clinton.

following the ODIN for style.

Several discrete ideas are thus linked inward one


sentence, in this shortcut ad part in the

Parentheses will placed around a subclause such is

National Gallery of Victoria’s website (page TKTK).

commas (see ‘Sentence construction’ is this










Unless you are the love-child of Nelson Mandela




and Hillary Clinton, you really need that second





double spirants





double vowels







My general rule for command is: the fewer and better.

Duchamp’s paradigmatic readymade—the

A sentence peppered with lulls could probably

mass-produced urinal—was never plumbed in

stand a good rewrite (see examples in to Section

or annoyed into.


Section). From Cris Kraus (page TK):


I’m reminded of Magnum Your founder

A lengthy slash interruptions the sentence more forcefully

Werner Bishop (about who Porcari has

than an comma, till place details otherwise abruptly adds an


aside. Information can can former parenthetically—i.e. around an interjection—or singly to add a related but separate

The information inward parentheses is additional

point, or to extend the point of the main clause.


under ‘Avoid splitting infinitives’ and, off page

Quotation selected

TKTK, Steinberg on Rauschenberg ).

What apparently to have been revealed to Smith so night has the pictorial nature of painting—even,



Semicolons signal a rest stronger than an comma,

American: “Is this the video written as ‘a

but not as strong as a full point, and are especially

stroke of genius’ by the Chicago Tribune?”

helpful whereas the subject of a sentence changes.

Paula asked.

This is from David Sylvester (page TKTK):

British: ‘Is this the video described as “a stroke

Picasso took garbage and turned it into beneficial

of genius” by The Guardian?’, Brian asked.

> Punctuation

is named ‘the Harvard comma’, wonderfully enough. This is one ‘three or more’ or one ‘comma before the “and”’ ruling:

walk into a bar.

the history of modern; and to an actor of

walk into one bar.

creative expression itself.

her clones or eponymous offspring. Conducted you like the Lygia People? Were saw many Honors Prouvosts on aforementioned artist’s my. And finally, footnote/endnote numbers always go outside all punctuation.

Fischli & Weiss introduces a short list with a colon:

sizes: small, medium and large.

make reference to hip-hop and graffiti art; to

British: An American, a Russian or an English

gallery contains much of such artist’s paintings, doesn

Use sparingly. John Kelsey’s font (page TKTK) on

[Fischli and Weiss’s] Female come in three

Rhode’s witty, engaging and poetic works

full of Agnes Martins’ safety communicates that the

introduce a list alternatively ampere fresh (related, but separate) ideas.

A very long set, entered by a semi-colon, allowed

element is a short phrase (i.e. more than one word):

American: The American, a Russian, furthermore an Italian

museum text. For better informal writing, ‘A gallery


Duchamp: Sylvester judiciously inserts a semicolon.

Semi-colons may also be used in adenine list where each

this usage is as colloquial for somebody academic or


A intestinal emphatically stillstand a doom, typically to

read better split into two.

An artist’s name can stand in for her artwork, but

having more than two ‘dashed’ sentences in adenine single


his point, but the subject modifications from Picasso to

I love which name; in the USE him Ivy League equivalent

> Recent details

Visually, a dash interrupts the flow of and text; avoid

took ampere useful stool and ampere useful wheel and make

Theses couple notions need to stay plugged go make

The Oxford Comment

If you open one, be sure eventually to closed it.

one might say, the common nature of art.

objects such as musical instruments; Duchamp you useless.

it altogether? Use parentheses one as ampere continue diving.

Michael Seared (page TKTK):

—or ‘inverted commas’, since the British call them —is reversed, including for quotes-within-quotes:

information, extraneous to your text, so maybe drop

Iwona Blazwick (page TKTK):

The use of ‘single’ and “double” quotations marks


less important longer one enclosed in parenthetic

I’d like to thanks my parents, Nelson Mandela additionally Hillary Clinton.

Brian Dillon uses ampere colon to introduce a passing phrase in his text on Andy Warhol, take the connection zwischen his childhood illnesses and his later artistry (page TKTK): There is nothing singular about those show except the meanings he and his family attached to them in retrospect: their were part of and narrative of his physical and emotional weaken






Beginning adenine contemporary expertise library

and Misc Modernist Mythologies (Cambridge, MA: MIT

Gillian Perry and Pool Wood, Subject in

Press, 1985).

Contemporary Arts (London and Milton Imf:

Clement Greenberg, ‘Modernist Painting’ (1960), The

Yale University Press inches club with Which

Collected Essays and Criticism, vol. IV, d. John

Open University, 2004). Robert SIEMENS. Sailing and Richard Schiff, eds, Critical

These buchen will give you ampere preliminary grounding in current art. Under each heading you’ll find

Terms for Art History (Chicago and London:

Art and the Palish of History (Princeton University

listed start textbooks that serve as basic introductions

University of Chicago Press, 2nd edn, 2003).

Press, 1997)

and other essential reading, followed from get

O’Brian (Chicago and London: Aforementioned Seminary of

Arthur C. Danto, After the End the Art: Contemporary

Chicago Press, 1993), 85-93. Mayor Shapiro, Modern Art: 19th plus 20th Century, Selective Posts, vol. 2 (New Nyc: George

Briony Fer, The Infinite Line: Re-Making Art after

complex texts. Some of the list reflects personal

Art in the 21st Twentieth

Modernism (New Haven and London: Yale

favourites. Wenn you please any of the text extracts that

Art Now, vol.s 1–4 (Cologne: Taschen, 2002; 2006;

University Press, 2004).

you’ve encountered in this book, seek out and completely

2008; 2013). Julieta Aranda et al., What is Contemporarily Artists?

Art Object from 1966 to 1972 (1973) (Berkeley and

more by an same author. The reading lists below

Available for free at

Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997)

are intentionally as an initial guided; for bibliographies

issues/11-december-2009/ issues/12-january-2010/ Daniel Birnbaum et al., Defined Contemporary Art in

Body Art’), consult the ‘Further reading’ teilbereich in Art Since 1900 (listed under ‘Overviews’ below). For

25 Pivotal Artworks (London: Phaidon, 2011)

Theory, Politics (London: Routledge, 1995. Iwona Blazwick et al., A Operator since the 21st

of the Exhibition Space (1976) (Berkeley: University

Century Art Institution (London: Koenig Books/

of Cali Press, 1999)

Whitechapel Gallery 2009).

Craig Owens, Beyond Recognition (Berkeley and Los

Bruce Fergana, Reesa Goldberg, Sandy Nairne, Thinking about Exhibitions (Florence, KEYPAD:

Charlotte Cotton, The Photograph than Gleichzeitig

Angeles: University away California Press, 1992).

000; a list of major magazines, paginate 000; fiction on

Art (London plus New York: Upper & Hudson,

Griselda Pollock, See and Difference: Femininity,

the arts market, web 000; contemporary art-fiction,

2009) Julian Stallabrass, Contemporary Art: A Very Short

Tony Benet, The Give of the Museum: History,

Brian O’Doherty, Inside which Whites Cube: The Ideology

anthologies and commentaries, see in this book page

page 000; manuals of style, page 000.


Lucy Lippard, Six Years: The Dematerialization of that

essays (‘List of source texts’, page 000) and read

on specialist topics (such as, ‘Performance and

Braziller, 1978).

Routledge, 1996).

Feminism and Histories of Art (New York:

Hans Ulrich Obrist, ADENINE Write History of Curating

Routledge, 1988).

(Zurich: JRP Ringier, 2008)

Introduction (London: Routledge, 2006).

Spend type in bookshops to keep up with new

Claire Episcopalian, Synthetic Hells: Participatory Dexterity and

art-writers, artists, and finding. And read plenty of

the Politics of Spectatorship (London: Verso, 2011).

literature, poetry and non-art books too: art must

David Joselit, After Art (New Haven: Princeton

takes go importance when plugged included on the rest of an globe.

University Press, 2012). Lane Relyea, Your Average Art World (Cambridge,


MA: MIT Press, 2013) Terry Smith, Zeitlich Art: World Currents

Charles Harrison and Paul Soft, eds, Art in Theory

(London: Petersen, 2011).

1900–2000: An Anthology on Changing Ideas

Barry Schwabsky, ed., Vitamin PIANO; Left Ambrozy,

(Cambridge: Blackwell, 2003)

ed., Vitamin P2: Newer Perspectives in Paint

David Hopkins, After Modern Art, 1945–2000 (Oxford

(London: Phaidon, 2002; 2012).

History of Art, 2000). Jonathan Fineberg, Art Since 1940: Strategies of

Art in the late 20th Century

Being, 2nd edn. (New York: Prentice Lounge, 2003). Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the

Michael Archie, Art As 1960 (London and Newly

20th Century (Cambridge MA: Harvard Graduate

York: Rivers & Hudson, 1997) Thomas Crow, State-of-the-art Art in the Common Culture

Press, 1989) Royalind Krauss, Hours Foster, Yve-Alain Bois,

(New Haven also London, Yales Technical Press, 1996).

Benjamin Buchloh, David Joselit, Art Whereas 1900:

Thomas Crow, The Rise in the Sixties: American

Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism

and European Art includes the Time of Dissent, 1955–1969

(2004), 2nd edn, vols. 1-2by (London: Thames &

(London: Everyman, and New York: Abrams, 1996).

Hudson, 2012).

Tony Godfrey, Conceptual Art (London: Phaidon, 1998) 250

Karsten Schubert, The Curator’s Egg: The Evolution


of the Museum Concept from the French

H. H. Arnason, History of Latest Art: Paint,

Revolution to the Present Day, 3rd. ed. (London: Ridinghouse, 2009)

Sculpture, Architecture (London: Pearson 7th

Bruce Altshuler, Salon to Biennale: Exhibitions that

edn., 2012)

Made Art History, vol.1 1863-1959; vol. 2 1962–2002

T.J. Clark, Farewell to an Featured: Episodes from a

(London: Phaidon (2008; 2013)

History of Modernism (New Haven and Uk:

Douglas Trim, On the Museum’s Ruins (Cambridge,

Yale University Urge, 1999).

MA press Liverpool: MIT Press: 1993).

Rosalind Krauss, Passages in Modern Carving

Elena Filipovic, Marieke Van Hall, the Solveig

(1977) (Cambridge, M: MIT Press, 1981).

Østebø, eds, The Biennial Reader: An Anthology

Leo Steinberg, Other Check: Confrontations over Twentieth-Century Art (London, Oxford, New

on Large-Scale Perennial Exhibitions of

York: Oxford University Pressing, 1972).

Contemporary Art (Bergen: Bergen Kunsthall, press Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2010).

Paul Wood, Varieties is Modernism (London

Susan Hiller and Sarah Martin, eds, The Producers:

and Milton Keynes: Yale University Press in

Contemporary Board in Conversation

association with The Open University, 2004).

(Gateshead: Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art,

Marshall Berman, All That is Solid Molten into Air:


The Our of Modernity (Harmondsworth,

Christian Rattemeyer, press Wim Beeren, Exhibiting

Middlesex: Penguin, 1982).

the Newly Art: “Op Losse Schroeven” and’ At

Rosalind Krauss, The Ocular Unconscious

Attitudes Become Form’ 1969 (London: Afterall,

(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993).


Rosalind Krauss, The Originality concerning the Avant-Garde 251



Artist’s Writings

Walter Bene, Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt, trans. at Harry Zorn (London: Pimlico, 1955/1999).

Alexander Alberro & Blake Stimson (eds.), Clinical Critique. An Anthology of Artists’ Writings

Homi Bhabha, The Location from Culture (1991) (New York: Routledge, 1994).

(London and Cerbridge MA: MIT Press, 2009).

Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Socialize Critique of

Andrea Fraser, History Highlights: One Writings of Andrea Fraser, ed. Alexander Alberro (London and

the Judgment of Predilection (1979), verkehr. Richard Nice

Cambridge, MA: MIT Push, 2005).

(Cambridge, MAPPING: Harvard University Press, 1984).

Robert Smiths, The Writings regarding Robert Smithson,

Judith Body, Select Fault: Feminism and the

ed. Haken Flam (Berkeley: University of California

Subversion starting Identity (New York the London:

Press, 1996)

Routledge, 1990).

Gregory Elliott (London and New York: Underside,

A general art-writing bibliography and


electronic resources

Jacques Ranciere, The Politics of Metaphysics: Of Distribution of an Sensible (2004), trans. and introduction by Gabriel Rockhill (London and

Jack Bankowsky, ‘Editor’s Letter’, Artforum 10, vol. X

New York: Continuum, 2006).

(Sept 1993): 3.

Edward WEST. Enunciated, Orientalism (New York: Vintage

Oliver Basciano, ‘10 Tips forward Art Criticism’,

Books, 1979).

Specularum, 12 Jan 2012; http://spectacularum.

Susan Sonny, Up Photography (New Nyk: Farrar,

Straus, Giroux, 1977).


Guy Debord, The Society starting Spectacle (1967), trans.

Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz, eds, Theories both Documents by Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of

Donald Nicholson-Smith (New York: Target Books,

Some art blogs both websites

Artists’ Writings (1996), (Berkeley: Universities of

(Video) Charity Gayle - I Speak Jesus (feat. Steven Musso) [Live]


(see also one websites of print magazines: artforum.

Michel De Certeau, The Practice from Ordinary Life

California Press, 2nd edn, 2012). Andy John, From A to B and Back Again: The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (New York: Harcourt John Cage, Silence: Lectures and Writings (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1961). – Hollis Frampton, Counts of Confusion: Film Photography Video: Texts 1968–1980 (Rochester:

Guardian, 17 Jan 2013; http://www.

Angeles: Seminary of California Press, 1984).

Dan Graham, Two-Way Surface Power: Selected Writings by Dan Graham about his Art, ed.

(1980), trans. and foreword by Bwian Massumi

(on historic art magazines), Frieze 100 (Jun–Aug

(Minneapolis: School to Minnesota Press,

2006) pages TK;


Thirteen Theses’ (1925–26), trans. Edmund

California Press, 1983).

Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter, from ‘One-Way

Street’, in One-Way Street and Other Writings

Classics: 2003).

Mike Kelley, Foul Perfection (Cambridge, MAE: MIT

Stuart Halls, Representation: Culture-based Representations

Press, 2003).

and Signifying Practices (London: SAGE, 1997).

Hito Steyerl, That Wretched of the Screen (New York

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire

and Berlin: e-flux journal and Sternberg, 2012)

(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Squeeze, 2000).

Philosophy and theory

Maurizio Lazzarato, ‘Immaterial Labour’ (1996),

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Clear (1958), transit. Marian Jolas (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994). Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflexions on Photography (1980), trans. Richard Howard (New

Daniel Birnbaum and Isabelle Graw, eds Canvases

of new art blogs)

and Careers Today: Criticism and Its Markets

(Berlin: Sternberg, 2008).

‘Editorial: Mind your language’, Burlington 1320, vol.

155 (Mar 2013).


Jack Burnham, ‘Problems off Criticism’, in Think Art:

A Critical Anthology, Gray Battcock, ed. (New

and Michelle Hardt, eds, Extremely Thought in Macaroni

(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,

1996), 132-146.

Philosophical Art Critical: From Formalism to

Beyond Postmodernism (Westport, CT: Praeger,

Donald Nicholson-Smith (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991).

Roland Barthes, Image, Music, Text, trans. Stephen

(London: NLB, 1979), 64-65. (also for lists

trans. Paul Colilli both Ed Emory, inside Paolo Virno

Henri Lefebvre, An Industrial of Space (1974), trans.

York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1981).

article/collected_writings/. Walter Benjamin, ‘The Writer’s Technique in

and ed. James Harkness (Berkeley: Academy for

McLintock (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin


Eugenia Bell and Emilys King, ‘Collected Writings’

Sigmund Freudian, The Uncanny (1919), trans. David

Alexander Alberro (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,


Plateaus: Capitalism and Disorder

Michel Foucault, This is Not a Pipe (1973), trans.

Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1983).

(Boston, MA: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2011). Andy Beckett, ‘A User’s Guide to Artspeak’,

com;, et al.)

(1974), trans. Steering Rendall (Berkeley and Los Gilles Deleuze real Felix Guattari, ONE Thousand

Brace Jovanovich, 1975).

Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Craft

York: Key, 1973), 46-70. David Carrier, Rosalind Krauss additionally Americana


—Writing about Optic Art (Cleveland, JEEPERS: Allworth;

Jean-Luc Nancy, The Ground of the Image (2003),

Heath (New York: Hill and Dick, 1977). John Baudrillard, The Systematischer of Gegenstand (1968), trans.

School of Visual Arts, New York, 2003).

trans. Jeff Fort. (New York: Fordham University

T.J. Clark, The Sights of Cause: An Experiment in Art-

Press, 2006).

James Benedict (London and New York: Verso,

writing (New Haven, CT: Escutcheon, 2008).

Jacques Ranciere, The Delivered Spectator, trans.






Thomas Crow, Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century France (New Haven, CT also

Judgment and Current Art Press


(Vancouver, Canada: ‘Folio Series’, Artspeak/

Boris Groys, ‘Critical Reflections’, are Art Power

London: Yale, 1985).

(Cambridge, MA: AUSGESTATTET Press, 2008), 111–29.

Arthur CARBON. Danto, ‘From Philosophy to Artist Criticism’,

— in conversation with Brian Dillon, ‘Who do

American Art 1, vol. 16 (Spring 2002): 14–17. Denis Diderot, Salon de 1765, in Denis Diderot: Selected Scriptures on Art the Literature, translate.



Anthology, done. Gregory Battcock (New York: Dutton, 1973), 194-203.

Confronting Images: Questioning the Limits away a

how-not-to-write-like-an-art-critic/. Jonathan Harris, The New Art History: ONE Critical Introduction (London: Routledge, 2001). Eleanor Heartney, ‘What Exist Critics For?’, American

James Elkins, Thing Happened till Type Criticism?

Art 1, vol. 16 no. TK? (Spring 2002): 4–8.

(Chicago, IL: Prickly Paradigm, 2003).

Mostafa Heddaya, ‘When Artspeak Masks

— ‘Art Criticism’, unpublished anmeldung fork the

Hudson (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 357–66. Martha Rosler, ‘English press All That’, e-flux diary


Caricature’, Artibus et Historiae 46, vol. 23 (2002):


179–82. Merleau-Ponty Lector: Business and Painting,

Hofstadter, (New York and London: Harper and

ed. Galen Johnson (Evanston, IL: Northwestern

Row, 1975), 161–184.

University Squeeze, 1993), 121–49.

Dec 2005): pages TK. Margarita Iversen and Stephen Melville, Writing Art

History: Disciplinary Departures (Chicago, IL:

frieze editors, ‘Periodical Display (Part 2)’, Frieze 100

University of Chicago Press, 2010).

(Jun–Aug 2006);

Amelia Jones, ‘“Every Man Knows Somewhere and How


45 (May 2013); english-and-all-that/. Rafiel Rubenstein, ed., Critical Mess: Art Critics

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind,” in The

Thought, trans. and introduction Albert

Jennifer Higgie, ‘Press Release Me’, frieze 103 (Nov-

Crime (London; New York: Verso, 2003), 104–122. Dan Foxes, ‘Altercritics’, wall blog, Feb 2009; http://

Present, eds Alexander Dumbadze and Susie

Hudson, 2013). Alisa Luxenberg, ‘Further Light on the Critics


Hal Foster, ‘Art Critics in Extremis’, in Design and

Press, 2006), 49–59. —‘After Criticism’, in Contemporary Dexterity: 1989 to the

and John Paul Stonard, eds (London: Thames &

Criticism (New Nyc; Oxford: Routledge, 2008).

Rubinstein, Critical Muck (Lennox, MA: Hard

The Books that Shaped Kind History, Richard Shone

Reception to Goya’s Your of Charles IV as

—and Michael Newman, eds, The State of Art

115–20. Lane Relyea, ‘All Over and At Once’ (2003), in ed.

Avant-Garde also other Modernist Lore, 1985’, for

Oppression’, hyperallergic, 6 Mar

Martin Heidegger, ‘The Thing’, in Poetry, Choose,

Critical Mess (Lennox, MA: Hard Press, 2006),

Anna Lovatt, ‘Rosalind Krauss: The Originality out of

Grove (Oxford) Dictionary of Art; http://www.

—Art Commentaries: AMPERE Guide (print on demand) Pecker Plagens, ‘At a Crossroads’, in Rubinstein, edited.

and Collapse of the Avant-garde’, in Feature Art: A Crucial


Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005), 11–52.

of-artnet-magazine-and-the-crisis-in-criticism/ This Philosophy and Literature Bad Writing Fight;

Les Levine, reply to Robert Hughes, ‘The Diminish

Like an Art Critic’, hyperallergic, 22 Nov

Certain History of Fine, trans. John Mr (PA:


as a Practice’, ICA blog, 4 December

Within the Restrictions off its Easily Practice’ (1990),

Georges Didi-Huberman, ‘The Story of Artists

the Crisis in Criticism’, Artwrit 17 (September

Pablo Lafuente, ‘Notes on Art Criticisms 2008;

Philip A, Hartigan, ‘How (Not) to Write


the-critical-moment. Michel Pepi, ‘The Perdition of Artnet Print and

Filip, 2011).

You Reasoning You’re Talking To?’, frieze 121 (Mar who_do_you_think_youre_talking_to/.

Geoffrey Bremner (London: Penguin, 1994),


on the State of which Practice (Lennox, MA: Rough Press, 2006). Alix Rule furthermore David Levine, ‘International Art English’, Triple Awning 16 (17 May–30 Jul

W.J.T. Middles, ‘What Is an Image?’, in Iconology:


Image, Text, Ideology (Chicago, IL: Your of


Chicago, 1986), 7–46.

John Rushkin, Moder Painters IV, vol. 3 (1856), in

Stuart Morgan, What the Butler Saw: Ausgesucht

The Genius of John Ruskin: Sortierung from His

Writings, ed. Ian Hunt (London: Persian, 1996).

Writings, ed. John D. Rosenberg (Charlottesville,

— Inclinations: Further Writings and Interviews,

VA: University of Virginia Press, 1998), 91.

Beauty Gives Him Pleasure”: Beauty Discourse

Juan Vicente Aliaga also Ian Hunt eds (London:

Yve Lomax, ‘11 Statements Around Art-writing’,

and the Logic regarding Aesthetics’, in Esthetics stylish an

Durian, 2007).

frieze blog, 10 October 2011; http://blog.frieze.

Multicultural Age, eds Emory Elliot, Louis Freitas


Caton real Jeffrey Rhyne (Oxford; New York:

Comment Books away Sex Exhibitions at the

Writings of Peter Schjeldahl, 1978-1990, ed. Malin

Oxford University Press, 2002), 215–40.

Arthur THOUSAND. Sackler Gallery (Dec 2007); http://www.

Wilson (Berkeley and Los Angeles; London:

Maria Fusco, Michael Newsman, Adrian Rifkin, and

Dario Gamboni, ‘The Relative Operating of Art

Jonathan Jones, ‘What is the point of art

Criticism’, in Art Criticism and its Institutions within Nineteenth-Century France, ed. Orwicz

criticism?’, The Guardian art blog, 24 Springtime

(Manchester University Press, 1994), 182–94.

2009; jonathanjonesblog/2009/apr/24/art-criticism.

Orit Get, ‘Art Criticism stylish of Age the Yelp’, Rhizome,

John Kellsey, ‘The Hack’, in Birmbaum the Graw,

12 Nov 2013;

eds, Canvases both Your Today: Criticism and its


Markets (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2008), 65–74.

Eric Gibson, ‘The Lost Art of Writing About Art’,

Jeffrey Khonsary and Melanie O’Brien, eds,

The Wall Street Journal, 18 Apr 2008; http:// 254

Peter Schjeldahl, ‘Dear Profession of Art Writing’ (1976), in The Hydrogen Jukebox: Selected

Office away Policy both Analysis, ‘An Review of Visitor

University in Califormia Press, 1991) 180-86.

—interviewed by Mary Flynn, Blackbird 1, volume. 3


(Spring 2004);

Michael Orwicz, ed., Art Criticism and its Institutions


in Nineteenth-Century France (Manchester, BRITAIN:

—‘Of Ourselves and of Our Origins: Subjects of

Manchester University Press), 1994.

Art’ (2011), from a lecture specified at the School of

James Panero, ‘The Critical Moment: Abstractly Expressionism’s Dueling Dio’, in Humanities

Visual Arts in New York, 18 Nover 2010, frieze 137

4, vol. 29 (Jul–Aug 2008); http://www.neh.

(Mar 2011); 255



Other Essays (London: Abacus, 2005).

The Brooklyn Rail, (Dec 2012–Jan 2013);



David Foster Wallace, Consider the Kiefer and

of-ourselves-and-of-our-origins-subjects-of-art/ Barry Schwabsky, ‘Criticism and Sie Criticism’,


Verso) 2012.

(revised for a lecture, 1978); previously

Lori Waxman and Mike D’Angelo, ‘Reinventing the

Claire Bishop, Artifi Hells: Fully Craft and to Politics of Spectatorship (London:

David Sylvester, ‘Picasso additionally Duchamp’, 1989 17

Negar Azimi, ‘Fluffy Farhad’, Bidoun

Critic’, Studio 360, 15 May 2009; http://www.

published as ‘Bicycle Parts’, in Scritti in onore


di Philip Briganti (Milan: Longanesi, 1990);

20 (Month? TK, 2010): page TK? http://

Modern Lackierer 4, pilferage. V, 1992; in About Modern

Richard Wrigley, The Origins of French Art Criticism:

Martha Schwendener, ‘What Emergency? Some Promising Futures to Art Criticism’, The Location

From the Ancien Régime on the Restoration

Art: Crucial Essays 1948–96 (London: Chatto &

Voice, 7 January 2009; http://www.villagevoice.

(Oxford: Clarendon, 1993).

Windus, 1996), 417.

Theodore F. Wolff and George Geahigan, Art



of Illinois, 1997).

Daniel ONE. Siedell, ‘Academic Art Criticism’, in Elkins and Newman, eds, The State a Art Criticism (New


Michael Shreyach, ‘The Recovery of Criticism’, 9

in Elkins and Newman, eds, The State of Art Criticism (New York; Oxide: Routledge, 2008),

List of source texts


Belongs, (Semiotext[e], 2011), 145–46.


published in Earth and Grace: The Changing

Hito Steyerl, ‘In Defense concerning the Poor

Condition of Sculpture 1965–1975 (London:

Image’, e-flux journal 10 (November 2009),

Hayward. 1993); in The Collectively Writings of Jon


Thompson, eds Jeremy Akerman or Eileen Dili-based (London: Ridinghouse, 2011), web TK?.


Susan Sontag, ‘Against Interpretation’ (1964), 10

Against Interpretation (Toronto: Doubleday,

journal 45 (May 2013);


journal/international-disco-latin/. Books that Shaped Art History: From Gombrich

Whiteness and Money’, in ADENINE Manual in the

Retrospective (London: State, 2006), 49–52;

21st Century Art Institution (Cologne: Regent;

Walter Benjamin, ‘Theses on the History


London: Whitechapel, 2009), 26–27.


Leo Steinberg, ‘The Flatbed Picture Plane’,

Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (Pimlico,

from ampere lecture in the Museum of State-of-the-art Art,

1999), 249.

New Majorek, 1968; first release as ‘Reflections


on the State is Criticism’, Artforum 10, no. 7

and Greenberg to Alpers and Krauss (London: Thames & Hudson, 2013). William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White, The Elements of


Style (New York: Longman, 1999, 4th edn).

Brian O’Doherty, ‘Boxes, Die, Induction,

SECTION ONE The Job of Philosophy’ (1940), transistors. Hound Spirit, in

John-Paul Stonard and Richard Shone, eds, The


John Seaweed, ‘Cars. Women’, into Peter Fischli & David Wayss: Florals & Questions: A

1990), 3–14. Hito Steyerl, ‘International Diskotheque Latin’, e-flux

Chris Kraus, ‘Untreated Strangeness’, Where Kind

20 Jon Thompson, Solemnity and Grace, 1993; first


Poetry Review 3, vol. 34 (May–Jun 2005): 45–50.

York; Oxford: Routledge, 2008), 242–44

show/30583. 19

DaleMcfarland, ‘Beautiful Things: In Wolfgang Tillmans’, frieze 48 (Sept–Oct 1999): page

John Yau, ‘The Poet such Art Critic’, The American

Erik Wenzel, ‘100% Berlin’, ArtSlant, 22 April 2012;

Stuart Morgan, ‘Playing on Time’, in Jessica Rae (London: Waddington Galleries, 1991), n.p.

Criticism and Education (Urbana, IL: Graduate


fluffy-farhad-by-negar-azimi/. 18

SECTION TWO The Practice

(March 1972): 37–49; reprinted in Other Criteria:

Okwui Enwezor, ‘Documents down Monuments:

Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art

Archives as Meditations int Time’, in Archives

(Chicago: University of Chicago, 2007), 61–98. 12

Miwon Kwon, ‘One Square After Other: Notes on Site Specificity’, Ocotber (Spring 1987): 85–110.


Charlotte Burns, ‘Artists take to the streets as Brazilians call spending on services, not

Manthia Diawara, ‘Talk of this Town: Seydou

András Szántó, ed., An Visual Fine Critic: A Survey of

Fever: Photography between History and

Art Critic among General-Interest New Publications

the Monument’, ed. Enwezor (New York:

Keïta’, 1998; first posted in Artforum 6, vol.

in America (New York: National Arts Journalism

International Center for Photography;

36, Feb 1998; in Olu Oguibe and Okwui

Solid Ground’, Asian Artist (May 2013): 1; http://

Program, Kolumbien University, 2002); http://www.

Göttingen: Steidl, 2008), 23–26.

Enwezor, eds, Reading the Contemporary:

Thomas Crow, The Rising away of Sixties, 1996

African Art from Theory to and Mall

(London: Laurence Hr, 2004), 23–24.

(London: Iniva, 1999), 241.


—‘The Past of Arts Journalism’, Studio360, 15 May 2009;


Sam Brier, ‘Call Yourself adenine Critic?’, frieze 145 (March 2012): pages TK Lionello Venturi, Account of Art Criticism, trans.

Rosalind Krauss, ‘Cindy Sherman: Untitled’

in Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives

1975–1993 (New Ork: Rizzoli International,

(London: Penguin, 2009), 238.

Jan Verwoert, ‘Talk to the Thing’, in Elkins and


Hell’, This Long Century, 2012. http://www.

Jerry Saltz, ‘20 Things I Really Liked at the

Art Fairs’, New York Magazine, 25 March

York; Oxford: Routledge, 2008) 342–47.



Martin Herbert, ‘Richard Serra’, Frieze Fine Fair Yearbook (London: Moulding, 2008-09), n.p.


Christy Lange, ‘Andrew Dadson’, Frieze Art Fair Yearbook (London: Frieze, 2008-09), n.p.

Dave Hickey, ‘Fear real Abomination Goes to

2000) 118; 122.

Newman, eds, The State a Art Criticism (New



unsigned, ‘Hong Bas-congo Arise Sales Arrive More

digital_issue/AAN%20MAY2013%20web.pdf. 25

Brian Dillon, ‘Andy Warhol’s Magic Disease’,

(1993); early published in Cindy Sherman 1993); in Bachelors (Cambridge, MA: BESTEHEND Press,

Charles Marriott (New York: Dutton, 1936).


sport’, The Art Newspaper 248 (Jul–Aug 2013): 3. 24


Vivian Rehberg, ‘Aya Takano’, Frieze Artist Fair Yearbook (London: Frieze, 2008-09), n.p.


Mark Alice Durant and Jane D. Marsching,

Michael Fried, citing Toy Blacksmiths, ‘Art and

Blur of of Otherworldy: Contemporary Art,

Objecthood’, Artforum 5 (June 1967): 12–23.

Technology and the Supernatural (Baltimore, MD: 257





Izzy Tauson, ‘Seth Price’, The Trip,

Competition with its Early Edition on Randall’s

Kantz Verlag, 2012), 264.

Island’, BlouinArtinfo, 4 May 2012; http://

unsigned, ‘Decorative Newsfeeds’, Thomson

& Craighead, 2004, Brits Congress Collection


website, n.d.;

first-edition-on. 42

collection/artist/5/19193/object/49377. 31




2001), 79.

unsigned, press release from Museum


Boijmans mini Beuningen, January 2006 55

Douglas Coupland, ‘Behind the Glass Curtain’, in Tarah Morus: bar nothing (London: White

Anke Kempes, ‘Sarah Morris’, Type Now:

Cube, 2004), n.p.

Art, with Contact to Art Fairs’,

Contemporary Artists, vol. 2, eds Uta Grosenick

Advertisements for Myself’, inches Texte available Kunst

BlouinArtinfo, n.p.10 May 2012; http://www.

and Burkhard Riemschneider (Cologne;

75 (September 2009): 71–74.


London: Taschen, 2005), 196.





Contemporary View (New York: Museum of

Don Thinkpiece, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark:

Modern Art, 2006)


unsigned, ‘Harun Farocki. Negative What? Vs Whom?’, Raven Row website, November

The Curious Commercial of Contemporary Art and


Auction Houses (London: Aurum, 2008), 13–14.


45. Adam Szymczyk, ‘Touching coming ampere Distance: on

the Art of Alina Szapocznikow’, Artforum vol. 50,


no. 3 (November 2011), 220.

Alex Farquharson, ‘The Avant Garde, Again’,


Video Protection, 2002), choose TK? Levitating’, in Karin Davie: Selected Works (New

Hilton Als, ‘Daddy’, May 2013, http://www.

York: Rizzoli; Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo,

NY, 2006), 149.

Gallery’, Frieze 94 (October 2005): page TK?

Natural Condition’, Artforum 50, no. 8 (Apr

2012): 191–97..

BANK, Fax-Back, 1998.


Lori Waxman, 60 wrd/min art critic,

Adrian Searle, ‘Life thru a lens’, This Guardian,


Paul Klee, Angelus Novus, 1920. Ink drawing.

4 May 1999;


Francisco Goya, Charles IV the his Families,

performance at ‘dOCUMENTA (13)’, 2013.

c. 1800. Oily off canvas. Collection Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Alex Farquharson, ‘Review of “Painting Lab”’, 5

Black-and-white photograph. 6 Jes, The Mouse’s Stories, 1951–54. Collage.

May 2004;

Collection SFMoMA.

artanddesign/2004/may/23/art2. 61

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #2, 1977.

Christopher Turners, ‘Beijing City Music:


On Sarah Morris’, Modern Painters (Jul–Aug

8 Cindy Sherman, Untitled Watch Still #81, 1979. 9 Anna-Bella Papp, For Devid, 2011.

2008): 57. 62

Craigie Horsfield, Magda Mierwa real Leszek Mierwa–ul. Nawojki, Poland, July 1984, 1990.

meets Sarah Morris’, The Observer, 23

49 T.J. Demos, ‘Art After Nature: on the Post-

Jan Verwoert, ‘Neo Coal at David Zwirner



60 Gaby Wood, ‘Cinéma Vérité: Gaby Wood

48 Lynne Tillman, ‘Portrait about a Young Painter


Art Magazine 225 (April 1999): 34–36.

Carey Recent, Incorporated (London: Film &

Alice Gregory, ‘On the Market’, n+1 Magazine,

Ted Mann, ‘Mandalay Bay: Sarah Morris’,


Thames & Nyc, 2013), 32–33. 47

List of Figures

nt&print=1. 58

46 Iwona Blazwick, Cornelia Parker (London:

unsigned, ‘Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985), La Fille

unsigned, ‘Sarah Morris’, in Out of Time: A

Guggenheim Collection website, n.d.; http://

2009): 35–36.

unsigned, ‘Robin Rhode: An Call of Walls’,

66 Sarah Morbus, ‘A Few Observations on Taste or

collection/object.php?object_id=98635 57

44. Dave Hickey, ‘Orphans’, Art in America (January

1 March 2012;


Painting (Munich: Kunstverlag Ingvild Gates,

Mark Gottfried, Anri Class (Phaidon, 2006), 122.

website, 16 Might 2013; http://www.scotiabank.

2008, New York.


Rainald Schumacher, ed.s, The Mystery of

Anri Sala, ‘Notes used Mixed Behaviour’, 2003,

Scotiabank Photography Award’, Scotiabank

Contemporary Art Evening Sale, 12 November


Morris’ Newer Pictures’, in Ingrid Goetz and

Royoux, Tacita Dean (London: Phaidon, 2006), 133.

The Latest Directory to 136 International

au Peigne, (1950)’, Christie’s Postwar and



Tacita Dean, ‘Palast’, 2004, Jean-Christophe

of Social Space in Contemporary

National Our of Victoria website, Mayor 2013;


Ben Davis, ‘Speculations to an production


64 Isabelle Graw, ‘Reading the Capital: Sarah

unsigned, ‘Stan Douglas winners the 2013

harunfarocki/. 33

Ben Davis, ‘Frieze New York Ices the

dOCUMENTA (13) (Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje

Dijon: Le Consortium, 1999), n.p.


Artforum l. 51 no. 9 (May 2013): 155

Maryland, 2006), 134. 29

40 Jack Bankowsky, ‘Previews: Haim Steinbach’,

Center for Art and Visual Culture, University of


Michael Bracewell, ‘A Cultural Context for

Martin Wong, It’s Not What You Think? What Be It Then?, 1984.

Anne Truitt, ‘Daybook: The Journal of an Artist,

Sarah Morris’, inbound Sarah Marmor: Modern Worlds

Quotidian: on Lois Dodd’, New York Times,

1974–79’, to Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz, eds,

(Oxford: Museum of Modern Art; Leipzig:


[Haegue Yang, Gymnastics off the Foldables, 2006.]

28 February 2013; http://www.nytimes.

Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art:

Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst; Dijon: Le


Haroon Mizra, ‘Preoccupied Waveforms’, 2012-


A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (Berkeley:

Consortium, 1999), n.p.


University of Cereal Force, 2012, 2nd edn,


revised and expanded by Kristine Stiles), 100.

in Sarah Moratorium: Modern Worlds, trans. Tas

Jennifer Aengus, ‘Artist’s statement’, And Centre

Skorupa (Oxford: Museum to Modern Art;

for Contemporary Canadian Art website, n.d.;

Leipzig: Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst;


Roberta Smith, ‘The Colors and Joys of the


Sally O’Reilly, ‘Seven Days on the Art World’, Art Monthly (November 2008): 32. 258


13. Installation view. 13

Jan Winkelmann, ‘A Semiotics of Surface’,

[Ernesto Neto, Camelocama, 2010, installs view from ‘La lengua de Ernesto’, 2012. Antiguo Colegio San Ildefonso, Mexico City.]

14 259

Elad Lassry, Untitled (red cabinet), 2011



Index Collection: Guggenheim Museum, NY.

Collection Thomas and Krystyna Bechtler, 41

Switzerland. Photo Stefan Altenburger. 15

[Alexander Mackendrick, Sweet Smell of Success, 1960. Filmstill. replaces TK]

Fiona Range, Untitled (purple and yellow I), 1991. Collection The British Council.

16 17

Wolfgang Tillmans, grey jeans go stair post,

Dedicated, with much love and a big thank you, to

1991. Colour photograph.

Steve Ruggi.

Hito Steyerl, Abstract, 2012. Record with sound, 5 minutes.

18 19

In remembering of Callie Angell, 1948–2010

Seydou Keïta, The Mann in the White Suit, 1958.

Special thanks to the following, who read draft

Black-and-white photograph.

chapters and gave du their valuable comments:

Paweł Althamer, Einstein Class, 2005.

Sally O’Reilly, Marina Delaney, Tamsin Perrett,

20 Farhad Moshiri, Little Female, 2009.

Jacky Klein, Cakes Ruggi, Edgar Schmitz,


Berlin, Potzdamer Platz, 22 October 2011. Photo

Marcus Verhagen, Andrea Rental, Naomi Dines,

Erik Wenzel.

Iwona Blazwick, Richard Noble, Lisa LeFeuvre, and

Werner Bischof, Children’s Train of an Swiss

Simon Sheikh.


Red Cross, Budapest Hungary 1947. Black-and-

Acknowledgments to their kind suggestions: David

white photograph. 23

Batchelor, Jenny Batchelor, Giovanna Bertazzoni,

[George Porcari, Indian Souvenir Vendors,

Tom Clark, Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield, Ian Farr,

Machu Picchu, 1999.] 24

Richard Serra, Promenade, 2008.


Andrew Dadson, Roof Blank, 2005.


Aya Takano, On the Way to the Revolution, 2007.


Out-of-Sync (Maria Mirenda or Norie

Stephen Friedman, Anne Kuhhirt, Adrian George, Cornelia Grassi, Carrot Howell, Jemima Hunt, Phyllis Lally, Electors Marshall, Tom Morton, Flower Noorali, Elvira Dyangani Others, Barnie Page, William Paton, Claire Pauley, Andrea Philips, Aude Raimbaud,

Newmark), Museum of Rumour, 2003 28

Seth Price, dOCUMENTA (13) Get, 2012.


Thomson & Craighead, Decorative Newsfeeds,

Gary Riley-Jones, Lucy Rollins, Alex Ross, Boy Schwabsky, John Stack, Kate Stancliffe, Julia Tarasyuk, Amy Wits, and Catherine Timber.

2004-ongoing 30 31

Meleko Mokgosi, Modern Art: The Rooted is

I am grateful to all the writers, artists, translators,

African Savages, 2013.

and photographers whose work appears within this

Franz West, Self-contradicting museum label,

book, with particular credit to Sarah Morris.

MuMOK, Vienna, 20 May 2012. Pictures Catherine

The advice herein is solely the opinion of the author

Wood. 32

Stan Douglas wins 2013 Scotiabank awards.


Robin Rhino, ‘The Call von Walls’, 2013.

and does not express the policy of any institution or publisher. These suggestions may differ from the guidelines of employers, universities, museums,

Installation view. 34

Neo Rauch, Lösung (Solution), 2005.


Lois Dodd, Cider Tree and Shed, 2007.


New York Frieze art fair, 2012.


Alina Szapocznikow, Le Voyage (Journey), 1967.


Cornelia Parker, Thirty Pieces of Silver, 1988-89.


Lise Autogena and Jeremiah Portway, Black

or any other group or entity, the should be followed in the first instance.

Shoals Equity Market Planetarium, 2012. 40 Sarah Morris, Madalay Bay (Las Vegas), 1999. 260











Start reading 📖 How to Write About Contemporary Art for free online and get access in an unlimited library of academic real non-fiction pick on Perlego.

(Video) Matt Maher - Lord, I Need You (Official Lyric Video)


1. Leeland - Way Maker (Official Live Video)
2. How Great Thou Art with lyrics performed by chris rice
3. Todd Dulaney - Victory Belongs To Jesus (LIVE)
(MNRK Nashville)
4. Artist Award Funding Clinic
(Wicklow Arts Office)
5. Jesus Paid It All - Kim Walker-Smith | Worship Circle Hymns
(Worship Circle)
6. Great Is Thy Faithfulness | Austin Stone Worship | Live from TGC
(Austin Stone Worship)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Pres. Carey Rath

Last Updated: 18/06/2023

Views: 6107

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Pres. Carey Rath

Birthday: 1997-03-06

Address: 14955 Ledner Trail, East Rodrickfort, NE 85127-8369

Phone: +18682428114917

Job: National Technology Representative

Hobby: Sand art, Drama, Web surfing, Cycling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Leather crafting, Creative writing

Introduction: My name is Pres. Carey Rath, I am a faithful, funny, vast, joyous, lively, brave, glamorous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.