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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.
The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    Coming soon

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


    Aimee Walleston, Faculty, Online Courses
    MFA, Art Criticism and Writing, School of Visual Arts; BA, Writing, Literature and the Arts in Context, Eugene Lang College

    Aimee Walleston is New York City-based essayist and editor, who has worked for magazines including W, Interview, Jane and The Last Magazine. She has contributed reviews, essays, and interviews to numerous publications including Art in AmericaFlash ArtThe Brooklyn RailT Magazine and CR Fashion Book. Previously, she held the position of in-house casting director for photographer Bruce Weber.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    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

  • 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
  • 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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