‘An illuminating and engaging guide… invaluable for anyone involved in the art world.’
~Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-Director, Serpentine Gallery
‘A gem of a primer.’
~Tom Morton, ‘Best of 2014’, frieze blog
‘Finally. A book that teaches you how to write and think clearly about art.Revolutionary, radical and long overdue. Bravo!’
~Kenneth Goldsmith, poet and Founder, UbuWeb
‘Will become a standard text for anyone studying or interested in critical writing.’
~Michael Bracewell, art critic and novelist
‘A rare guide to writing practice that’s also a wonderfully engaging read in itself, Gilda Williams’s How to Write about Contemporary Art interweaves plainspoken advice on the practical nuts-and-bolts of art criticism with trenchant observations about the conditions of the profession, all delivered in the voice of a savvy, generous friend.’
~Jeff Kastner, Editor, Cabinet magazine
‘Bless you, Gilda Williams, for reminding us that fear is the root of bad writing, and for showing us how to take courage. With any luck, How to Write about Contemporary Art will spark a renascence of the deep, accurate, surprising beautiful art writing we so badly need.’
~Barry Schwabsky, art critic, The Nation
Jennifer Thatcher, How to Write about Contemporary Art in Art Monthly
Louis Bury, How to Write about Contemporary Art at hyperallergic.com
How to Write about Contemporary Art: Interview with Joe Nolan at Burnaway.org
Peter Andersen, How to Write about Contemporary Art, Journal of Curatorial Studies, June 2015, Vol. 4, issue 2
ICA bestselling artbooks: How to Write about Contemporary Art
Reviews in brief
‘Accessible, well-organized, and example-rich, How to Write … proves a welcome refresher course … relevant to newer art writers whatever their particular concerns. […] Like good art, the book … inspires you.’
~ Louis Bury, hyperallergic.com
‘Williams’s methodology is flawless … gives insight to the inner workings of very different industries: academia, auction houses and mainstream and professional press.’ (frieze)
‘Applies lessons in graceful prose to the field of art writing […] Williams excels … when giving nuts-and-bolts advice for crafting specific genres of art-world documents (catalogue essays, short news articles, academic essays and the like). [This] how-to provides enough art-specific insights to cut through the garble so common in the field.’ (Publisher’s Weekly)
‘Fantastic… a must-read for every writer, reader, artist and designer.’ (Fullscream.com)
‘A beautifully formed guide to writing … an incisive manual for clarity of thought. This guide could as easily apply to writing (and indeed thinking) on any creative endeavour… Essential!’ (dressingtheair.com)
‘A thoroughly sensible and accessible guide to writing that could almost be applied to any subject.’ (artbookreview.net)
‘Gilda Williams has written a small and important book … This is a worthwhile read for writers and artists, especially artists who struggle with how words can respectfully and meaningfully coexist with their visual work. This is as close to an art writing style guide as I have seen, and a worthwhile add to my bookshelf.’ (slowmuse.com)
Talks and workshops
workshop, ‘Writing for Artists‘, Goldsmiths MFA, Feb-Mar
workshop, ‘Writing for Artists‘, Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, Feb
lecture, ‘How to Write About Art’, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London
talk, ‘Art Writing Basics: Writing v. Typing about Art’, The Value of Visual Literacy panel, New College of the Humanities, London
talk and workshop, ‘Absolute Beginners: How to Write about Contemporary Art’, Unity Arts, Hackney, London, Jun
talk and workshop, ‘Writing the Exhibition’, Whitechapel Gallery, London, Jun
talk and workshop, ‘Writing Artist’s Statements’, Spike Island, Bristol, May
guest lecturer,’Art Writing and Publishing for Academics’, UCL, Doha, Qatar, May
talk and workshop, ‘Writing Artist’s Statements’, Chisenhale Gallery, London, Mar
presentation, ‘Writing Artist’s Statements’, SPACE, with Cedar Lewisohn and Rebecca Morrill, Feb
chair, ‘Writing into Art Symposium‘, with Katrina Palmer, Erica Scourti, Nick Thurston, Duncan Wooldridge, New Contemporaries/South London Gallery/Camberwell College of Arts, London, Feb
presentation, ‘How to Write about Contemporary Art’, Lithuanian edition, Art Book Fair, Vilnius, Feb
guest lecturer, ‘Writing Artist’s Statements’, Norwich University of the Arts, Jan
guest lecturer, ‘Writing Artist’s Statements’, Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, Jan
workshop, How to Write about Contemporary Art, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 20 October
talk, Royal College of Art, London, ‘Art-Writing for Curators’
talk, ‘Writing v Typing: On Writing About Art’, Hangar Bicocca, Milan
talk, ‘Publishing Art Writing Now’, Arnolfini, Bristol, http://www.artwritersgroup.co.uk
talk, ‘Writing for Artists’, Chisenhale Gallery, ‘Into the Wild’ programme
talk, Southbank Centre ‘Art Writing for Curators’, with Ralph Rugoff and Morgan Quaintance
‘How to Write about Art’, day course, Whitechapel Art Gallery, ‘Inside the Gallery’
lecturer, ‘INSIDE/OUT’ lecture, How to Write about Contemporary Art, , Leeds Beckett University, ‘Art Writing in the Second Machine Age’
anthology of texts on art-writing
The definitive guide to writing engagingly about the art of our time.
Now in its 3rd edition.
Now in Russian, Korean, Estonian, Lithuanian and Taiwanese editions.
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- Ranging across the complete spectrum of art-writing, How to Write About Contemporary Art is organized around specific forms: academic essays; press releases and news articles; texts for auction and exhibition catalogues, gallery guides and wall labels; op-ed journalism and exhibition reviews; and writing for websites and blogs.
- More than 30 illustrations throughout support closely analysed case studies by 64 authors, including Hilton Als, Claire Bishop, Thomas Crow, T.J. Demos, Manthia Diawara, Okwui Enwezor, Dave Hickey, John Kelsey, Chris Kraus, Hito Steyerl, and Adam Szymczyk.
- Supplemented by a general bibliography, advice on the use and misuse of grammar, and suggestions on beginning a contemporary art library.
presentation of the Russian edition at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, May 2017, Gilda Williams in conversation with critic Valentin Diaconov.
'How NOT to Write about Contemporary Art'
Interview with Gilda Williams
TOHU online art magazine, March 2017