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Tag: writing workshops

Statements on Artist Statements

When I created a writing workshop called “Learn to Love Your Artist Statement,”  I knew I was in for some trouble. Then I read Iris Jaffe’s “The Anti-Artist Statement” on, and I felt the need to write a reponse in defense of this most-maligned document. Why?

The primary reasons: For as long as an artist statement is a professional requirement, provide one when asked, and provide the best one you can. If you have trouble writing an artist statement of sufficient quality to meet your own standards (or bio, or statement of purpose), hire someone (me, for instance!) to help, rather than let your name appear next to someone else’s thoughts and ideas. Discuss your philosophical objections within your circle of friends, but don’t be unprofessional when presented with an opportunity; the field is too competitive. And creatively, writing an artist statement can increase your self-awareness and deepen your understanding of what you do–sometimes because writing is an unfamiliar new tool for interacting with your unconscious.

Check out the essay on Hyperallergic and the great discussion it has generated. Feel free to let me know what you think.

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Fall news

Here’s a little news for the early Fall.

1-Learn to Love Your Artist Statement has affectionately been called “artist therapy” by one of my students. My goal with this workshop has been to help artists who are traditionally hostile or uncomfortable with writing about their work to discover the original viewpoint or ambition present in what they create, and to learn to articulate what is unique about what they are trying to accomplish with all those hours they spend in their studios.

Here’s how one student took the time to describe his experience of the workshop:

“I’d…like thank you for teaching a skill that…at first glance appears both confusing and dubious. Without resources like your class to make them understandable and accessible, the mechanisms of art (beyond its initial creation) often appear opaque and impenetrable to those who have not chosen to make it their profession but would like to participate in it.”

2-In Write a Press Release, Publicize Your Event, we cover the basics of press-release writing, students write a release for their own project/event, and we spend the remaining time talking about how to build press lists and find opportunities for media coverage of independent events. By the end of the 3-hour workshop, students will have a press release and a list of local contacts.

3-In Your Own Words is more like a consulting session than a class. This small, unstructured workshop allows students to bring in whatever professional-writing project needs extra help–such as polishing a résumé, finalizing a business proposal or editing a business plan. Students work one-on-one or get feedback from others; each workshop is customized to meet students’ individual writing goals.

  • WRITING: I’m working on interviews with two authors that you’ll see online in the next few weeks at two publications I respect, read and admire. And that’s all I’m going to say.
  • 100 DAYS AND…: YES, I am still working on the 100 Days project! I am learning so much more and less than I expected to learn about myself as a writer. On Day 100, October 8, 2012, I will have written 100 first-draft essays of least 1,000 words each, on 100 consecutive days. But I’ve never written just 1,000 words, so that’s well over 100,000 words for the summer. I’ll definitely write something about the whole experience…but not until after I take a much-needed quick escape from New York. After that, I, um, may or may not start curating a new series of events. You’re welcome to prod me or pitch me about that, if you read this far…
  • THE BOOK: I have an outline for my book. Finally. So expect my hermit ways to continue throughout the fall, though I’m hoping to do a few readings to balance out my newfound introversion.

That’s all I have for now, please spread the word about my workshops (see for details and to sign up), and thank you for your support!

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