Winter 2021/22

“That something should be written about art is taken as self-evident. When works of art aren’t provided with a text […] they seem to have been delivered into the world unprotected, lost and unclad.” – Boris Groys, “Critical Reflections”

Writing and visual art have danced together – sometimes simply beside each other – since (at the latest) Enlightenment philosopher/poet Denis Diderot, arguably the western world’s first art critic, critiqued the eighteenth-century Parisian Salon exhibitions. Not only has art criticism evolved into its own set of subfields since then, but art writing in all its forms has somehow flourished: text has long infiltrated the field of artistic production (as artistic production has infiltrated the worlds of text) in increasingly manifold ways: some experimental, some unfortunately rather rote and predictable.

This course explores the many ways in which the written word derives from, dovetails with, delves into, or, as Boris Groys states in the quote above, “dresses” the art object or image, as well as asks why this text-visual relationship is at times so fraught. We will analyze but above all produce and experiment with forms of art writing ranging from critiques and essays to the artist statement and experimental art writing. We will also examine the work of contemporary artists who incorporate text into their visual pieces in various ways.

In addition to the writing exercises and assignments that will carry us through the semester, a reading list will be provided before the course begins. During the blocks in which this course meets (once per month in sessions over two consecutive days), we will visit exhibitions (Coronavirus measures permitting) and other art in in the physical and/or digital space – all of which will provide students with “on-site,” contemporary art to respond to – with which to marry your own words to art and vice versa.

more Info at the Base Angewandte


Image: Kimberly Bradley