Begin byintroducingtheexhibityouarereviewing. • Whoistheartist? • Whatistheexhibit?(Don’toffertoomuchdetailyet.) • Whereistheartist’sworkbeingexhibited? • Whatishisorherbackground? • Perhapsthereissomethingtosayabouthowtheartist’sworkhasbeenreceived.

Your first assignment is to write a review of an exhibit at the MacLaren Art Centre. Your review should be 2.5 pages or more in length

(excluding coverpage and bibliography) and written in essay form. It is worth 20 percent of your final grade and is due in hardcopy form

in class (I will not read electronic versions).

Your visit to the MacLaren:
• Bringapencil(ratherthanpen)andpadwithyousoyoucantakenotes.
• Chooseaworkofartthatinterestsyou.
• Standinfrontofitfor sometime.
• Takenoteofthephysicalappearanceofthework.Think abouthowitwasexecuted(e.g.,short,painterlystrokesthatgivetheworkenergyandintensity,etc.)
• Recordyourownreactiontoit.
• Trytogetsomeliteratureontheexhibitfromthegallery.
• Takenoteofwhocuratedtheexhibit.

Writing the review
Thisisonlyasuggestedformat.You donothavetofollowthisformexactly,nordoyouhavetorespondtoeveryquestionlaidoutbelow.

1.Begin byintroducingtheexhibityouarereviewing.
• Whoistheartist?
• Whatistheexhibit?(Don’toffertoomuchdetailyet.)
• Whereistheartist’sworkbeingexhibited?
• Whatishisorherbackground?
• Perhapsthereissomethingtosayabouthowtheartist’sworkhasbeenreceived.

2.You mightalsowanttohaveaBRIEFsectionthatdescribesthevenuefortheexhibit(i.e.,theMacLaren).Note: this should not take up too much of your

review!
• Whatisitshistory?
• Howdoesthegallery viewtheimportanceofthepresentexhibit?
• Whatisthephysicalspacelike?
• Howdoestheexhibitspacecomplementtheworks?

3.After introducingtheartist,exhibitandgallery,youcanprovideadescriptionoftheworkorworksyouareplanningtoreview.
• Thisisn’treallytheplacetointerpretthework—thatcomesnext.First youneedtoofferamoregeneral,physicaldescriptionofthepiece.
• Thatdoesn’tmeanthatyoucan’tusesomebasicinterpretivelanguage:

(e.g.,“theartist’sworkoffersastrikingandsomewhattroublingrepresentationoftheurbanworkingclassinCanada”;“thisworkexhibitsartistx’slongstand

ingpreoccupationwithimagesoftheCanadiannorth”;“thisexhibitprovidesavisionaryglimpseofafuturesocietytransformedbytechnologicalchange”…etc.)
• Describehowthepieceisbeingexhibited.

4.Next offer your interpretation of the piece.Note: this is the most important section of the review!
Here are some things you could talk about:

• Howdoesthepiecestrikeyouatfirstappearance?
• Whatdetailsstandoutuponcloserinspection?
• Howdoyoureacttothepiece?
• Doyouhaveanycriticismstomake?

But here is something you reallyshould talk about:

• What do you think the artists is trying to say?
• About human experience in general: Does the work have something to say about perennial themes like love, death, justice, human

purpose, happiness, etc.?
• About his or her personal experience? Are there biographical details about the artist that help us to understand the work?
• About human relations in general? Or about the artist’s society more specifically?
• About social changes that have or need to take place?
• About art and its role in our world? (Can you draw comparisons with any other artists or works that you know?)

5. Provide some sort of critical reaction to the work.
• Howdoesitsucceedor fail esthetically (that is, at the level of appearance and artistic appeal)?
• Howdoesitsucceedincommunicatingacertainmeaningormessage?
• Doyouthinktheworkoritsmessageisimportantforus?
• Doyouthinkthattheshowhasbeencuratedwell?

6.Conclusion
• Sumupyourreactiontotheshow.
• Offeranyfinalthoughtsyoumayhave.After youhavefinishedwritingyourreview,writeitagain.
• Cleanupthelanguage. And spiceitup! Make it fun to read!

WARNING: Make sure you have provided PROPER REFERENCES for any secondary sources you use. If you borrow a quote, phrase, or even a

conspicuous adjective from an outside source, CITE IT! For instance, if another critic has written that the artist’s work “is suffused

with an almost unbearable sense of loss,” and you want to use the phrase “unbearable sense of loss” in your own review, make sure you

enclose the phrase in quotation marks and provide a citation. If you borrow those words without providing quotes and a citation, you are

committing an act of plagiarism.


 


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