“members and allies of this ‘field’ must leverage what power we are given within the commercial and academic (and also increasingly civic) spheres as ‘cultural workers’ to position ourselves outside, and in resistance to, these hegemonic power structures. As artist-centric institutions, this means using radical forms of participation to forefront self-organized, inclusive and equitable structures – this means creating new social imaginaries.
If our failing institutions are based on market capitalist economy, authoritarian republics and eurocentricity – then our ‘alternative’ institutions by necessity must be based on decentralized cooperative economics, participatory democracy, equality and ecology.”
—Sarrita Hunn, “Artists for Artists’ Sake,” Temporary Art Review, October 19, 2015
Looking back at 2013, I’m grateful for the generosity and passion of many people…
• the dedicated staff at arts organizations providing residencies and exhibition opportunities to artists like myself…
In 2014, I’m looking forward to…
• participating in the Bronx Museum of Art’s AIM program, and helping to organize mutual studio visits in the interim…
• launching a new version of my website…
• continuing to read and participate in book clubs about class, community, and engagement.
I’m cheered by these two new art journals. In addition to providing a platform for emerging critics, these outlets have the potential to cover under-publicized exhibitions and offer fresh perspectives.
On-Verge is CUE Art Foundation’s website for “Alternative Art Journalism.”
Temporary Art Review was co-founded by Sarrita Hunn (CCA MFA 2004) and James McAnally. It’s “a platform for contemporary art criticism that focuses on alternative spaces and critical exchange among disparate art communities.” Founded in the Midwest, there are already reports from Houston, Saint Louis, San Francisco, New Mexico, and Portland.
I would encourage any artist interested in writing criticism to develop submissions for these journals, or get in touch with Art Practical about writing a 250-word Shotgun Review.
Writing about art affords artists:
• more opportunities to look at art, whether it’s merely the extra motivation created by deadlines, or invitations to press previews;
• the experience of thinking more deeply about media, forms, messages, and presentations;
• new perspectives on art shows—that is, critical distance to others’ art as well as your own;
• a critic’s perspective on the art world, at least in terms of how galleries receive writers into their spaces or contact them in their publicity efforts;
• experience honing the craft of writing, if you’re lucky enough to work with great editors.
In grad school, I expressed fear of taking the leap into criticism—who am I to judge?—when MP advised me that I already know everything I need to know in order to write about art. I think she was saying that you don’t need permission to write about art—you just need the skills of perception, and the ability to turn those observations into thoughts and sentences. Of course having an understanding of media, materials, artists and spaces helps, but for those artists who are at all interested in criticism, I’d say: take the leap.