Schedule & Readings


T 8/30             Introduction: What is Art Criticism and Writing?

Course overview

Gallery Opening: The Texas State University Galleries

This is beyond insane. This is Babel. Conjoined Histories of ALAS. Commemorating Ten Years of Interruptions.

And Introducing…


T 9/6               What is Art Criticism?

Guest Speaker: Chad Dawkins

Chad Dawkins, “Sterling Allen at Sala Diaz,” Glasstire, 8 May 2016.

Chad Dawkins, “COMIC RELIEF/ INQUISITIVE HELL: A response to Alejandro Diaz’s ‘It Takes a Village,’” Glasstire, 1 July 2015.

Ben Davis, Ben Davis, “9.5 Theses On Art and Class,” 2010.

Recommended: An Introduction to Art Criticism, 1-21;


T 9/13              Taste and Value

A.O. Scott, “Everybody’s a Critic. And That’s How It Should Be,” New York Times, 30 January 2016.

Listen to President Obama’s Summer Playlist.

Pierre Bourdieu, introduction to A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (London: Routledge, 1984), 1-7.

Richard A. Peterson and Roger M. Kern, “Changing Highbrow Taste: From Snob to Omnivore,” American Sociological Review, 61, no. 5. (October 1996), 900-907.

Assignment: Bring to class top 5 lists

Recommended: How to Write About Contemporary Art, 31-39.


T 9/20              Aesthetics and the Public Sphere

Excerpt from Thomas Crow, Introduction to Diderot on Art, vol. 1 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), x-xii.

Jürgen Habermas, “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article,” in Critical Theory and Society: A Reader, ed. Bronner, Eric, and Kellner (New York: Routledge), 136-142.

Excerpt from Terry Eagleton, “The Law of the Heart: Shaftesbury, Hume, and Burke,” in The Ideology of the Aesthetic (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1990).

Michael Warner, “Publics and Counterpublics,” Public Culture 14, no. 1 (Winter 2002): 49-90.

Recommended: An Introduction to Art Criticism, 23-81.


T 9/27             Gallery Visits: Austin, TX

Meet at Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin @ 6pm

Art Building, UT-Austin campus, 23rd and Trinity Streets, Austin, TX 78712

Meet at Big Medium Gallery at Canopy @ 7pm

916 Springdale Rd. Bldg 2, #101, Austin TX 78702


T 10/4             Description and Interpretation

John Ruskin, “Turner’s Slave Ship,” 1843, in Modern Painters, vol. 1 (New York: National Library Association, n.d.), 382-383.

Excerpt from Allan Sekula, Photography Against the Grain: Essays and Photo Works, 1973-1983 (Halifax: Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1984), 168-174.

Roland Barthes, “Neither-Nor Criticism,” in Mythologies, trans. Annette Lavers (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972), 81.

Richard Wollheim, “Art, Interpretation, and the Creative Process,” New Literary History 15, no. 2 (Winter 1984), 241-253.

Assignment: Bring to class 5 copies of draft of short exhibition review

Recommended: An Introduction to Art Criticism, 82-151; How to Write About Contemporary Art, 20-23 and 126-209.


T 10/11            Guest Lecture: Sam Sanford (Meet in JCM 2121)

Andy Campbell, “Studio Visits: Sam Sanford,” Austin Chronicle, 4 October 2013.

Katie Geha, “Painting As Object: Sam Sanford & Jeremy DePrez,” Glasstire, 27 July 2013.



Judgment and Evaluation

Immanuel Kant, Extracts from Critique of Judgment (1790); in Clive Cazeaux, ed., The Continental Aesthetics Reader (New York: Routledge, 2000).

Clement Greenberg, “Modernist Painting,” 1960; in John O’Brian, Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticism, vol. 4 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 85-93.

Peter Schjeldahl, “Surrealism Revisited,” The New Yorker, 18 February 2002, 184.

Recommended: An Introduction to Art Criticism, 152-187.


T 10/18            Voice and Tone

How to Write About Contemporary Art, 220-233.

James Elkins, “How Unified is Art Criticism,” in What Happened to Art Criticism (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2005), 15-54.

Jerry Saltz, “Seeing Out Loud,” The Village Voice, 13 December 2005.

Martha Schwendener, “Contemporary Art Photographers Mess With the Medium,” The Village Voice, 13 October 2009.

Boris Groys, “On Art Activism,” e-flux journal 56 (June 2014).

Assignment: Bring to class 5 copies of draft of short exhibition review

Recommended: An Introduction to Art Criticism, 188-220.


T 10/25           Practicum: Artist Statements (Meet in JCM 4127)

Peer review of Studio Practice students’ artist statements

How to Write about Contemporary Art, 210-219.

Assignment: Read assigned artist statements

>>>DUE: Short Exhibition Review posted to class blog by midnight


T 11/1             Gallery Visits: San Antonio, TX

Meet at Artpace @ 6pm

445 N Main Ave, San Antonio, TX 78205

Meet at Sala Diaz @ 7pm

17 Stieren St, San Antonio, TX 78210


T 11/8              Guest Lecture: Debra Barrera and Jonathan Hopson (Meet in JCM 2121)

Peter Lucas, “Drive,” Glasstire, 13 October 2013.

Molly Glentzer, “Opportunity Comes Knocking For Emerging Artists,” 25 July 2014.


Art Criticism in Crisis

Raphael Rubinstein, “A Quiet Crisis,” Art in America 91, no. 3 (March 2003), 39.

JJ Charlesworth, “The Dysfunction of Art Criticism,” Art Monthly (September 2003), 1-4.

Christine Rosen, “The Age of Egocasting,” The New Atlantis 7 (Fall 2004-Winter 2005): 51-72.

Recommended: How to Write About Contemporary Art, 40-41.


T 11/15           Guest Lecture: Christina Rees (Meet in JCM 2121)

“Too Soon?” Glasstire, 12 April 2016.

“The Bad Guy with the Blind Spot,” Glasstire, 20 April 2016.

“22 Art Songs for Your Late-Summer Listening Pleasure,” Glasstire, 29 July 2015.

Assignment: Prepare question to ask Christina Rees during Q & A


T 11/22           Artist Interviews

Phyllis Tuchman, “Two or Three Things I Know about Artist Interviews,” Art Journal, 67, no. 4 (Winter 2008): 33-37.

Richard Meyer, “Artists Sometimes Have Feelings,” Art Journal 67, no. 4 (Winter 2008), 38-55.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist in Hans Ulrich Obrist Interviews, ed. Thomas Boutoux, vol. 1 (Milan: Charta, 2003), 308-316.

Assignment: Bring to class 3 questions for artist interviews


T 11/29            Practicum: Artist Interviews (Meet in JCM 4127)

Conduct artist interviews with Studio Practice students


T 12/6             Practicum: Peer Review of Long Exhibition Reviews

Assignment: Bring to class 5 copies of draft of long exhibition review


T 12/13            ******8-10:30pm******

Conclusion: Art Criticism Today

Irving Sandler, “Art Criticism Today,” The Brooklyn Rail, 10 December 2012.

Read recent art criticism posted on class blog

Assignment: Post link of recent art criticism to class blog by midnight on Sunday, 12/11

>>>DUE: Long Exhibition Review posted to class blog by midnight


Th 12/15          >>>DUE: Artist Interview posted to class blog by midnight