December 12, 2008

The Studio Critique

-a crit’s purpose is to help an artist better understand their work, to instigate new ideas or directions, to constructively determine what the work does and does not convey.

-The studio critique can be what the artist wants it to be--in progress, finished work, or mapped ideas of work. It is the artist’s job to determine what is necessary for the audience to evaluate a specific piece. How might they introduce their work, should they provide any background information, does the work has a specific context in which to be viewed, or a specific place to be viewed?

-the artist should remember that the visitor is giving them their time and attention and should be respectful to their audience. Likewise, the audience should keep the conversation from too distantly leaving the work presented. The length and context of the critique are important to consider.

-Be prepared. Background information on your visitor can encourage what you want to discuss or arouse specific questions. The artist should also mentally prepare themselves and have written questions to for lulls in conversation. They should have an idea of what they want from the critique but be open if the conversation takes another direction.

-The artist should first introduce themselves and explain what they want from the critique without directly addressing their work. A time period of silent investigation of the work should follow. The visitors should begin the conversation. Explain their experience with the work; provide allusions, criticisms, etc. At some point midway through the conversation, the conversation should turn to the artist where the artist can provide explanations and ask questions. The second half of the critique should more of a back and forth conversation between the artist and the audience.

-the artist should experiment with different methods of critique. These varying experiences can help the artist determine a format for a specific work or body of work to be critiqued.

-it is important to thank the audience.

tj's crit guide

Critique is a conversation between the art, the viewers, and the artist. The quality of art is assessed according to the critic’s own experience, knowledge and bias. Work is evaluated by looking at the bad and good qualities as well as relevance. It is then up to the artist to decipher the criticism weighing the differing aspects and perspectives given in the conversation.

At the University, studio critique is used as the tool to evaluate performance and assign a grade, as well as create a dialog between classmates and faculty. Power is in the hands of the instructors in the University critique. It is their views that decide what mark is recorded. Instructors at the U have a responsibility the look at various modes of thought, art history and contemporary art practices to evaluate a student’s work. It is also necessary for an instructor to maintain a serious art making practice to be best suited for the role of critique authority.

Rules for critique:
Make good work don’t half ass be truly committed.

Be open to it all

Know your company. Know the historical reference points as well as in depth details about your influence.

Know your audience. Look at the work, previous criticism and opinions of those involved in the crit know where their voice is coming from.

Listen. People are giving their views don’t try to change their mind with gibber gabber let the art do your talking.

A visiting artist/curator critique can add an outside voice to a nearly closed system. Take advantage of their voice seek approval they are a stand in for the whole world outside of the U.

Have the conversation you need to have: if the talk goes to far out reel it bake in with some direct questions.

Be able to verbalize the questions you have been pondering.

Don’t be a know it all.

Be humble and gracious.

Food goes along way.

Don’t allow any one to claim you are insignificant or your path is not of any value.

As a critiquier have some manners the artist has ripped this thing out of their soul and spent many hours doing it.

It is easy to say something mean in a kind way. No one likes a bully

Don’t change their work into your work

Follow up if something comes to mind after the crit

Each and every person can teach us something about our work

Method of formal studio critique:
Start in silence and spend some time with the work. Have a conversation about the work. Let the conversation expand beyond the art. After these steps ask questions of the artist. Next the artist should ask questions. End in some positive manner. After crtit crit go and reflect with people close to you about the experience.

October 30, 2008


Cynicism is not a necessary part of critical dialogue. The only purpose it serves is to further cloak suppressed insecurities and ignorance. It is also very annoying. If you are not aware of whom I'm speaking to maybe you are not as smart as you think you are. Anyone should feel free to confront me on this issue if they wish.