Categories
Art Art Writing and Criticism

Art Writing, Art Criticism, Tomato, Tomatoe, whatever – Part II

My take on the 10 tips (specific to art writing and criticism)…


1. Cut the boring parts. = Talk about something exciting. If there’s a piece or a show that falls short, provide constructive criticism without being brutal. I mean, for goodness sake, artists do need to hear it when they haven’t pushed boundaries enough. Yet, writers need to be brave enough to say, “You didn’t make me feel what you were trying to execute”.


2. Eliminate unnecessary words. = Take out any superfluous words and don’t be flowery (even though this is difficult for me to do, sometimes).


3. Write with passion. = Write authentically. Be genuine. People will know when you don’t mean it…


4. Paint a picture. = The whole idea of “show” and don’t “tell”. Unless you’re trying to command attention and have a specific reason to give direction, you need to describe what it is you see, especially if you’re describing art.


5. Keep it simple. = I heard it best put during a Critical Writing Workshop offered by The Lab in conjunction with Art Practical, one of the critics mentioned, “Write to an intelligent friend that doesn’t have time for bullsh*t”. Yes!


6. Do it for love. = See #3.


7. Learn to thrive on criticism. = People will love or hate you. Or sit on the fence when it comes to enjoying or disliking what you write. Learn to respect and appreciate opposing opinions or feedback.


8. Write all the time. = Well, create a schedule for yourself. If you’re incentive driven (like me), give yourself a reward or set a goal. Or, as Betty Edwards put it, draw (in this case, write) for 2 minutes! Typically, if you do something for at least 2 minutes and you find yourself engaged with the activity, you’ll probably continue past the 2 minutes mark.


9. Write what you know…or, what you want to know. = See #s 3 and 6


10. Be unique and unpredictable. = Hmmmm, this is debatable. Everyone is unique and has their own story but unpredictable? Well, I guess that’s up to the individual to decide.

By Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina American writer, artist, and educator whose academic and research interests include feminist media histories, critical medical anthropology, race and technology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She is a Ph.D. student in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow. Her work as been exhibited at Ars Electronica, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the GLBT Historical Society.

Her writing appears in art21, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, Ars Technica, Vice Motherboard, and SF MOMA’s Open Space. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture. She is a co-founder of REFRESH, a politically-engaged art and curatorial collective and serves as the program manager for the Processing Foundation.

2 replies on “Art Writing, Art Criticism, Tomato, Tomatoe, whatever – Part II”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s