How to Write About Contemporary Art

An essential handbook for students and professionals on writing eloquently, accurately, and originally about contemporary art

How to Write About Contemporary Art is the definitive guide to writing engagingly about the art of our time. Invaluable for students, arts professionals and other aspiring writers, the book first navigates readers through the key elements of style and content, from the aims and structure of a piece to its tone and language. Brimming with practical tips that range across the complete spectrum of art-writing, the second part of the book is organized around its specific forms, including academic essays; press releases and news articles; texts for auction and exhibition catalogues, gallery guides and wall labels; op-ed journalism and exhibition reviews; and writing for websites and blogs.

In counseling the reader against common pitfalls—such as jargon and poor structure—Gilda Williams points instead to the power of close looking and research, showing how to deploy language effectively; how to develop new ideas; and how to construct compelling texts. More than 30 illustrations throughout support closely analysed case studies of the best writing, in Source Texts by 64 authors, including Claire Bishop, Thomas Crow, T.J. Demos, Okwui Enwezor, Dave Hickey, John Kelsey, Chris Kraus, Rosalind Krauss, Stuart Morgan, Hito Steyerl, and Adam Szymczyk.

Supplemented by a general bibliography, advice on the use and misuse of grammar, and tips on how to construct your own contemporary art library, How to Write About Contemporary Art is the essential handbook for all those interested in communicating about the art of today. 34 illustrations and 64 Source Texts

Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor

Write Publish Promote at Cowgirlheart Media
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3 Comments

  1. Highly Recommended for Learning How to Write About Art I bought this book at a shop in London last summer. Her writing is clear and very helpful, with a pleasant, encouraging voice. Recently another artist and I were slogging through the tedious process of writing statements to go with our submission packets responding to a call for proposals of solo exhibits. We both found this book a great help, as we drafted statements and critiqued one another’s writing. 

  2. Nothing could be simpler Succinct and sly, this how-to book is great training camp for all writers (and readers) of contemporary art lit, whether criticism or catalogue. Brilliantly organized too.

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