Writing for the art World: Style and Substance
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Writing about art is based on a sustained practice of rigorous analysis when first encountering an art object and the subsequent composition of prose that articulates that specific artwork’s aesthetic, social, and historical value. Through a close study of art objects and exhibitions, and by reading exemplary texts, you will master the fundamental requirements for writing about art. The course explores writing structure, tone, and point-of-view, as well as the professional vocabulary used to intelligently describe and analyze contemporary art exhibitions and practices under the guidance of the instructor, and in an exchange with fellow students via a mid-course peer workshop. This course also allows you to practice art writing by generating and revising your writing weekly, constructing a body of prose that will lead to a final essay.
Please note this course is a writing workshop. Students should have a strong proficiency in the English language.
You’ll walk away with:
- Knowledge of contemporary art writings that contribute to exhibitions, auctions, and public conversations about art.
- The vocabulary and writing techniques applicable to a variety of spheres that require a written analysis of art.
- A completed and revised review, which could be used to showcase your writing skills and further your career in the arts.
Week 1: Introduction to Art Writing
- Who Writes About Art, Why and How
- The Building Blocks of Visual Writing
Week 2: The Essence of Successful Art Writing I: Tone and Structure
- An Overview of Writings Generated by Galleries and Museums
- Analysis of Museum Wall Texts
- Review of What Press Releases Say and Why
Week 3: The Essence of Successful Art Writing II: Voice and Craft
- Master Art Writers from Past and Present
- Analyzing and Connecting with Your Subject Matter
Week 4: History and Biography
- How to Professionally Convey Valuable, Biographical Information on Artists
- Analyzing an Artist’s Individual Experiences and Their Social Context
Week Five: Getting to the Point
- Focus on De Kooning: From a Formal Analysis of a Singular Work to an Exploration of the Artist
- How De Kooning’s Work Is Reevaluated Over Time
Week Six: Seeing and Writing the World
- Scholarly Writing for Exhibition Catalogues, Historical Books, etc
- Formal Analysis, Artists’ Biographies, Critical Evaluation, Historic Research