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A work of art may exceed words, but it often needs them in order to be documented, circulated, supported, and better understood.  This course will guide you in expressing your ideas about art with clarity and style. You will look at a range of styles and genres, from artist statements and proposals to press releases, catalogue entries, and short and long form criticism.   You will study key texts on art, from poetic statements to critical analyses, and discuss practical strategies for communicating more effectively with potential audiences. Weekly writing assignments, with one-to-one feedback, will move you through the various stages of developing a text, from idea to professional submission. This hands-on approach will provide you with the diverse writing techniques necessary for translating visual art into written language. The course is taught in English. A good, working knowledge of written and spoken English is required.

By the end of this course:

  • You will gain familiarity with major critical texts and debates.
  • You will learn how to generate ideas and expand them into publishable text.
  • You will master effective composition and editing techniques.
  • You will develop an essay in a format of your own choosing.
The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    February 6 - March 19, 2017

    Online orientation opens on January 30, 2017.
  • Faculty


    Media Farzin
    BFA, Painting, Tehran University; MA, Modern Art/Curatorial Studies, Columbia University

    Media Farzin is a New York-based art historian, curator and critic whose writings have appeared in Art in America, Art Agenda, Artforum, Afterimage, Bidoun, and Canvas, among others. She served as curatorial assistant for the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection from 2006 to 2010 and examples of her curatorial work include Turning Points (Neiman Gallery, 2004), and Fluxus Scores and Instructions (Museum of Contemporary Art Roskilde, 2008). An ongoing collaborative project with artist Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, on cultural diplomacy and its modernist artefacts, has been exhibited at numerous venues in the US and Europe. She has taught at the Museum of Modern Art and the City College of New York.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Week 1: Introduction: How should art writing be?

    • A discussion of the various genres and professional contexts of art writing

    • Reader expectations of each genre

    Week 2: Writing well: Mechanics, structure, and organization

    • An introduction to techniques that will bring strength and clarity to sentences and paragraphs

    • How to structure arguments for maximum impact

    Week 3: Attention: How language structures seeing

    • An overview of methods of formal analysis

    • How they apply to exhibition reviews, long-form essays, and artists’ writings

    Week 4: Style: Say what you mean and mean what you say

    • A debate on the controversial difference between specialized art vocabularies and obscure art jargon

    • Methods for finding and refining your own voice

    Week 5: Discourse: History, theory, and methods

    • An analysis of key methodologies, from critical theory to psychoanalysis, that have defined art’s history as a specialized field of knowledge

    Week 6: Personal and Professional Practices: From creative blocks to pitching ideas

    • A workshop-style module on the daily practice of writing

    • Dealing with creative blocks

    • Ways of expanding an idea into creative formats

  • Online Orientation

    Online Orientation

    Our online orientation operates the same way as the course, giving you the opportunity to become familiar with the technology and the dynamics of online teaching and learning. Participation in the  orientation is not required, but it is strongly encouraged as students who complete the experience have a better chance of success. The orientation is available one week prior to class and remains open for you to use as a resource.
  • Course Fees And Enrollment

    Course Fees And Enrollment

    $1485 ($1335 if booked before December 20, 2016)

    Registration Fee: $15

    Click here to enroll and pay online.
    Terms and Condition
  • Contact And Request Information

    Contact And Request Information

    For further information, please contact:
    Claire Hoover, Program Manager of Online Learning
    Email: or Request Information Tel: +1.212.897.6644

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