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Writing about art is based on a sustained practice of looking, thinking, and then articulating both the viewing experience and the artwork’s cultural context to a diverse audience. Through a close study of singular art objects or exhibitions and by reading exemplary texts, you will gain an understanding of the fundamental requirements for—and the art of—conveying visual information. In tandem with this practice, you will learn art writing by generating your own reviews, catalogue entries, exhibition material (such as wall text and press releases), and other short form content. Under the guidance of the instructor and in exchange with fellow students by peer editing, you will explore writing structure, tone and point-of-view, as well as the professional vocabulary used to intelligently describe and analyze color, shape, design, and style. This hands-on approach will provide you with the diverse writing techniques necessary for translating visual art into written language. The course is taught in English. A good, working knowledge of written and spoken English is required.

By the end of this course:

  • You will gain a basic understanding of the myriad forms of writing that contribute to successful exhibitions, auctions, and public conversations about art.
  • You will accumulate the vocabulary and writing techniques applicable to a variety of art professions, while conducting independent research and learning more about art from the shared posted material.
  • You will build a portfolio of exhibition proposals and writing samples that could be used as application material to further a career in the arts.
The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    March 6 - April 16, 2017

    Online orientation opens on February 27, 2017.
  • Faculty


    Sophie Landres
    PhD Candidate, Stony Brook University; MA, School of Visual Arts

    Sophie Landres is a New York-based curator, writer, and art historian. She has participated in the Creative Capital Arts Writing Workshop and taught seminars in the Writing Program at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Her art reviews, catalog introductions, and critical essays have appeared in numerous publications. From 2014 to 2015, Landres was the Mellon Global Initiatives Fellow, helping develop Creative Time’s project for the Venice Biennial’s 56th International Art Exhibition. She has also curated exhibitions including What's Happening (Art in General, New York, 2008), Tone and Temperament (AC Institute, New York, 2009), and Zipora Fried: Some Things Have Meaning, Others Don't (Marfa Contemporary, Marfa, TX, 2015).
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Week 1: Introductions

    • Describing an Image: Form, Color, Style

    • Subject and Content: Towards a Formal Analysis

    • Point-of-View, Audience, and Tone

    Week 2: The Proposal

    • Articulating an Idea and the Curatorial Perspective

    • Curatorial Proposals

    • Structure: Effective Sentences and Coherent Paragraphs

    Week 3: Exhibition Material

    • Administrative and Presentational Information

    • Press Releases

    Week 4: Writing Artist Biographies

    • Artist Biographies

    • Historical Biographies

    • Biographical Knowledge

    Week 5: Art Criticism

    • Judgment and Journalism

    • Don’t Bury Your Lead

    • Critiquing the Critics

    Week 6: Scholarly Writing

    • On the Catalog Entry

    • Developing Research Skills

  • Online Orientation

    Online Orientation

    Our online orientation operates the same way as the course, giving you the opportunity to become familiar with the technology and the dynamics of online teaching and learning. Participation in the  orientation is not required, but it is strongly encouraged as students who complete the experience have a better chance of success. The orientation is available one week prior to class and remains open for you to use as a resource.
  • Course Fees And Enrollment

    Course Fees And Enrollment

    $1485 ($1335 if booked before February 1, 2017).

    Registration Fee: $15

    Click here to enroll and pay online.
    Terms and Condition
  • Contact And Request Information

    Contact And Request Information

    For further information, please contact:
    Claire Hoover, Program Manager of Online Learning 
    Email: or Request Information Tel: +1.212.897.6644

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