Friday, April 17, 2009

Writing about Art

The annual Marlborough Writers' Retreat information is circulating. Last year's retreat turned out to be a whopper of a holiday for Ben and me, with Ben shooting one pic of Marlborough Sounds which was "bought" by a design company as a wine label, and which we can show you only after the wine comes on the market. This is something we keep thinking we can't afford every year, but end up going most years. This year our circumstances are more dire, but it's like a family reunion that I hate to miss.

Wondering if I want to continue with short stories, or essays, or something new, I googled "writing about art" and found this by one Marjorie Munsterberg. The website looks informative and promising, but I'm still a bit unsure as I find other people's art writing mind-boggling, and too often like peeling an onion, tears and pain included. On the other hand, I want to be more articulate and accurate in describing what I do, or intend; use the correct terms and sound less frazzled.

I don't want to go to art school. Not at this point. And certainly not full time. Perhaps this will help me. Perhaps one of you will get a great deal out of the website and regurgitate the contents for me?


  1. Keep in mind that I read this post after I read the first post above it....... Why do you need art school? You are on a journey that is demanding more of you than any art school would demand. Also, the post above this is very articulate.

  2. Peg, I keep thinking... there is a systematic shortcut to what's commonly perceived as "beautiful" embedded in art school curriculum, even though I rarely see it in student exhibitions locally; (they are often about challenging the comfort zone and I keep excusing the students for being young and idealistic...)

    I keep fantasizing there are checklists and flow charts to getting "it" right a bit more smoothly available only to art school graduates...

  3. If there are such things embedded in an art school curriculum, I don't think they would be worth the paper they were printed on. Artists, for heaven sakes, are unique! And the only way you get to unique is to take your own journey.

  4. Peg, we need to agree we have radically contrary manners of discourse/exchange, probably a more important point than the next.

    And possibly agree to disagree that to a certain extent, I believe art school can/do produce marketable artists who can/do produce marketable art work, or at least artists who can read the climate/fashion and know which doors to knock, whether they practice what they know or not. Marketing art is included in our local school's curriculum, and using those skills/tools/knowledge does not disqualify someone from being an artist, nor take away the uniqueness of their process or work. I don't see intrinsic value in art, or any other, education one way or another, but believe some benefit from it, whilst some don't.

    But having never been to art school, I'm only looking in from outside their tall, stylish windows. And now I don't even know if we're agreeing or disagreeing.

  5. I have always found contrary opinions to be more helpful than opinions which are the same as mine. Doesn't mean you ever agree with the contrary opinion. Does mean that the contrary opinion can push you in ways you may need to be pushed. They can help lead you to more depth in the opinion you hold, for example. Not in stubbornness but in richness.

  6. Can't disagree with that, Peg.


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