This course explores art writing as a hands-on practice and specialized craft, with an intense focus on the key writing formats of today’s art world. Students will begin with the foundations and mechanics of art writing (description, structure, tone), followed by an overview of specialized techniques (visual analysis, image research), and audience considerations (accessibility, vocabulary, detail). Students will delve deeply into specific forms of art writing and analyze the key attributes of compelling press releases, catalog essays, exhibition reviews, interviews, and artist statements. Throughout the course, students will write short-form, publishable text through step-by-step assignments including several rounds of instructor feedback. The course experience will be complemented by an innovative series of weekly readings, writing exercises, discussions, feedback, and guest speakers. In the final week of instruction, students will discuss professional practices, such as approaching publications and platforms, pitching ideas, and working with editors.
The goal of the course is to expand both new and experienced writers’ vocabulary and ideas around visual art, while also encouraging them to explore their strengths, define their potential contributions, and imagine their ideal audiences. Participants have the chance to clarify their ideas through discussions and individualized feedback and will leave the course with a complete and polished piece of writing in the form of an exhibition review.
Faculty, Online Premier
Aimee Walleston is New York City-based essayist and editor, who has worked for magazines including W, Interview, Jane and The Last Magazine. She has contributed reviews, essays, and interviews to numerous publications including Art in America, Flash Art, The Brooklyn Rail, T Magazine and CR Fashion Book. Previously, she held the position of an in-house casting director for photographer Bruce Weber.Read More
Week 1: Discuss the expectation of professional art writing in various contexts.
Week 2: Understand how to effectively structure and clarify written work.
Week 3: Examine how methods of formal analysis apply to various forms of artistic writing.
Week 4: Discuss art vocabulary and explore methods for refining your own written voice.
Week 5: Analyze art history approaches, from critical theory to psychoanalysis.
Week 6: Explore daily writing practices and creative problem-solving.
This flexible online course is delivered in weekly modules consisting of recorded lectures, instructor-guided discussion boards, and supplementary resources. The course will include a final project with personalized feedback from the course instructor. All participants will have read-only access to the course materials for an additional 90 days after the course end date.
For successfully completing this course, you receive a verified Certificate of Completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art as well as TBD IACET Continuing Education Units. *
Our digital certificates allow you to share new skills with various social media platforms, including LinkedIn. Successful completion is defined by each instructor in the course syllabus and consists, at the least, of regular, thoughtful participation in online activities and timely submission of assigned papers or projects.
*As an IACET Accredited Provider, Sotheby’s Institute of Art offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard.