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Art may go beyond words, but it also demands to be documented, discussed, and better understood through written language. Writing for the Art World: From Idea to Submission explores a range of writing styles and genres, from artist’s statements and proposals to press releases, catalogue entries, and short and long-form criticism.

Through practice exercises and workshop-style critiques, this course guides you to express your ideas about art with clarity and style. By requiring weekly writing assignments with one-to-one feedback, you move through the various stages of developing a text, from idea to submission. This hands-on approach provides you with the diverse writing techniques necessary for translating visual art into written language, as well as the practical strategies for communicating more effectively with potential audiences. You also review significant texts on art, from poetic statements to critical analyses.

The course is taught in English, and a good, working knowledge of written and spoken English is required.

What you will learn:

  • A familiarity with major critical texts and debates in art writing.
  • The ability to generate ideas and expand them into a publishable text.
  • Mastery of effective composition and editing techniques.
  • A developed essay in the format of your own choosing.
The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    3 July - 13 August 2019
    6 weeks of instructor guidance

    We offer our online courses throughout the year with sessions starting every 4-6 weeks.
  • Faculty


    Media Farzin, Adjunct Faculty, Online and Summer Institute, New York

    M.A., Modern Art/Curatorial Studies, Columbia University; B.F.A., Painting, Tehran University;

    Media Farzin is a New York-based art historian, curator, and critic whose writings have appeared in Art AgendaArtforumBidounCanvas, and Frieze among others. She served as curatorial assistant for the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection from 2006 to 2010 and examples of her curatorial work include Turning Points (Neiman Gallery, 2004), and Fluxus Scores and Instructions (Museum of Contemporary Art Roskilde, 2008). An ongoing collaborative project with artist Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, on cultural diplomacy and its modernist artefacts, has been exhibited at numerous venues in the US and Europe, including the 2019 Everything is Connected at the Met Breuer. She also teaches in the MFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts, New York.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Week 1: Introduction: How should art writing be?

    • A discussion of the various genres and professional contexts of art writing

    • Reader expectations of each genre

    Week 2: Writing well: Mechanics, structure, and organization

    • An introduction to techniques that will bring strength and clarity to sentences and paragraphs

    • How to structure arguments for maximum impact

    Week 3: Attention: How language structures seeing

    • An overview of methods of formal analysis

    • How they apply to exhibition reviews, long-form essays, and artists’ writings

    Week 4: Style: Say what you mean and mean what you say

    • A debate on the controversial difference between specialized art vocabularies and obscure art jargon

    • Methods for finding and refining your own voice

    Week 5: The Art Review and the Interview

    Week 6: Personal and Professional Practices: From creative blocks to pitching ideas

    • A workshop-style module on the daily practice of writing

    • Dealing with creative blocks

    • Ways of expanding an idea into creative formats

  • Getting Started

    Getting Started

    SIA Online Community, our learning and networking space, opens two weeks before the course begins. This space provides an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the learning platform and introduce yourself to fellow students from around the world.
  • Course Fees And Enrollment

    Course Fees And Enrollment

    Tuition includes 6 weeks of instructor guidance and an additional 90 days to review the course at your leisure.

    Terms and Conditions

    Online courses are open to anyone 18 years of age and older. Registration takes approximately 5 minutes to complete.

    Enroll Today
  • Certificate Of Completion

    Certificate Of Completion

    For each course successfully completed, you receive a verified Certificate of Completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

    Our digital certificates allow you to share new skills with various social media platforms, including LinkedIn. Successful completion is defined by each instructor in the course syllabus and consists, at the least, of regular, thoughtful participation in online activities and timely submission of assigned papers or projects.
  • Contact Information

    Contact Information

    For further information or course advisement, please contact:
    Hayley Black, Admissions Advisor, Non-Degree Programs
    Tel: 212-897-6644 or Request Information

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