ART CAREER: Art critic

October 21st, 2009 by Anthea | Print ART CAREER: Art critic

The art critic is one of the most sought after persons in this creative field. For one, its always good to have someone to bounce your ideas on, gain qualified feedback or just for pre-sharing. On the other hand, critics sometimes reflect the views of the public or potential client, and at times act as a yardstick to measure the presented work against standards that he/she should be well familiar with.


This career choice is a matter of skill – albeit trained skill. The art critic can be an artist writing about other artists, and is either a journalistic critic or a scholar.
The critic must be knowledgeable of elements such as the techniques, language, style, perspective, perception, history, provenance. At the same time he/she must be able to see as the artists, and beyond the artist, to make sound and balanced judgement, after accurate interpretations. In the end benefiting artists, whether performing of visual benefit and garner great financial rewards.
In brief critiquing art calls for four stages:


In your own words tell a tale. Tell exactly what you see in the artwork.


What elements or principles was used to organise or create the work of art. The elements to include in your outline are Line, Shape, Space, Color, Texture, Value and Form. The Principles are Unity, Harmony, Proportion, Variety, Movement, Balance, Emphasis, Contrast, Rhythm , Pattern, Movement. The outline will help the reader to understand how the artist brought about moods, messages or ideas in the work.


This is where you will use the information above to ascertain what artist is trying to say and the rationale. In very expressive descriptive language talk about the message, intent and mood of the artist. Decide the reason the particular style was used to create the art. Talk about historical milieu, culture etc that surrounds the work of art? Your own experiences, and feelings about the piece, can influence your interpretation and used as references also.


At this point you need to determine if the artist was successful in the work, but you must also back up your judgement of the work. Be sure to use the language of art. without getting too personal, and without inclusion of your own dislikes and likes, zero in on the success or failure of the piece based on your gathering of 1,2,3 above. Here is a guide:
a. Based on the different Theories Of Art say if the work is successful or not…
Imitation, Formal Order, Expression, Function
b. Identify which criteria you are using for judgment
c. Cite Evidence (give reasons)
d. State you conclusions “I do not think this work is well designed because…..” or “I think
this work is excellent because…”
e. Do the design qualities, elements and principles make the work successful or not?
f. Is the work well organized?
g. How does the realism or lack of realism affect the work

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