News   30 November 2017

Art Writing Workshop Announces 2017 Recipients

AICA-USA is pleased to announce the recipients and mentors for the 2017/2018 Art Writing Workshop, a partnership between AICA-USA and The Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program.The Art Writing Workshop gives practicing writers the opportunity to strengthen their work through one-on-one email and phone consultations with leading art critics.

Every year, each of ten senior art critics makes a personal choice from the finalists among scores of applicants. Together, writer and mentor set goals, initiate an in-depth dialogue, and establish a practice through which to address such issues as prose style, organizational structure, and argument.

The workshop’s goal is to aid writers who are intent on honing their skills and developing a compelling prose that can describe and question, render complex ideas clearly, and situate art works within their broader contexts.

2017/2018 Writing Workshop Recipients:

John Anderson (Mentor Charles Desmarais)

Robyn Day (Mentor Holland Cotter)

Lara Evans (Mentor Carolina A. Miranda)

Rob Goyanes (Mentor Judith Stein)

Lauren Mackler (Mentor Constance Lewallen)

Nicole Miller (Mentor Barry Schwabsky)

Maia Nichols (Mentor Peter Plagens)

Laurie Rojas (Mentor Negar Azimi)

Meredith Sellers (Mentor Lilly Wei)

Mimi Wong (Mentor Robin Cembalest)

Mentor Bios:

Negar Azimi is a writer and the Senior Editor of Bidoun, an award-winning magazine and curatorial project with a focus on the Middle East and its diasporas ( Her writing has appeared in Artforum, Harper's, The New Yorker, and The New York Times among other places. She writes a semi-occasional column for Frieze called "Double Agent," and is currently working on a book about the 1960s and 70s in Iran. At the invitation of the AICA-USA Board, Azimi delivered the AICA-USA 2016 Distinguished Critic Lecture in partnership with the Vera List Center for Politics and Art.

Charles Desmarais joined the San Francisco Chronicle as its art critic in 2015. He moved to San Francisco in 2011 to become the President of the San Francisco Art Institute, after a tenure as Deputy Director for Art at the Brooklyn Museum from 2004 to 2011. Prior to that, he was director of the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (1995-2004), the Laguna Art Museum (1988-94), and the California Museum of Photography at the University of California, Riverside (1981-88). His critical writing has been widely published. He is a recipient of the 2017 Rabkin Prize for Visual Arts Journalism.

Robin Cembalast is a journalist and consultant who advises art world clients on editorial and digital strategy. Previously, she was Executive Editor of ARTnews, where she launched the magazine's web content and social media feeds. A prolific Instagrammer, she also directs the Niboristas, a mentoring and networking group for young professionals in the art world.

Holland Cotter is a chief art critic for The New York Times, and winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for Art Writing from the College Art Association. He was contributing editor at New York Arts Journal and Art in America. A poet, he has studied Sanskrit, taught South Asian and Islamic art, and writes frequently on the art of disparate histories and cultures. The California College of Art and the Maryland Institute College of Art have awarded him honorary doctorates.

Constance Lewallen is adjunct curator at the University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive where she has curated such national and international touring exhibitions such as “The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Hak Kyong (2001)”, “Everything Matters: Paul Kos, A Retrospective,” (2003) and “A Rose Had No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s” (2007). Her books include 500 Capp Street David Ireland's House (University of California Press, 2015). She is co-authoring a book on Bruce Nauman's architectural installations.

Carolina A. Miranda is a staff writer for The Los Angeles Times, where she covers art, architecture, design, and film for the Culture High & Low blog. Prior to this, she served as a staff reporter at TIME magazine. She has also contributed stories to ARTnews, Fast Company, Architect, Art in America and National Public Radio. She is a regular contributor to KCRW's "Press Play." Find her on Twitter at @cmonstah.

Peter Plagens is a painter whose work was the subject of a 2004 traveling retrospective. He currently writes for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, he was an art critic for Newsweek from 1989 to 2003. Plagens has received numerous fellowships and is the author of two books of art criticism, a print novel, an online novel, and the 2014 monograph, Bruce Nauman: The True Artist. He is married to the painter Laurie Fendrich who shared a two-person exhibition at Sonoma State University in California in 2017.

Barry Schwabsky is an art critic for The Nation and co-editor of international reviews for Artforum. He also writes for New Left Review, London Review of Books, and Hyperallergic Weekend, among others. His recent books include The Perpetual Guest: Art in the Unfinished Present (Verso, 2016) and a collection of poetry, Trembling Hand Equilibrium (Black Square Editions, 2015). Imminently forthcoming is Heretics of Language (Black Square Editions, 2017).

Judith E. Stein is the author of Eye of the Sixties, Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art (Farrar, Straus, 2016). For the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts, she curated the award-winning “I Tell My Heart, The Art of Horace Pippin,” which traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A former arts reviewer for NPR's Fresh Air and Morning Edition, she has written for such publications as Art in America and The New York Times Book Review. She is the recipient of awards from the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Andy Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant Program.

Lilly Wei writes frequently on international exhibitions and biennials. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications worldwide and she is a longtime contributor to Art in America and a contributing editor at ARTnews. The author of numerous catalogs and monographs, she has curated exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Wei lectures frequently and sits on the boards of several not-for-profit art institutions and organizations. She was born in Chengdu, China. 

Program Director

Amei Wallach is completing her third feature-length documentary, Americans In Venice: Rauschenberg Breaks the Rules. This follows films on Louise Bourgeois (2008) and Ilya and Emilia Kabakov (2013). She has contributed to more than a dozen books. Her articles have appeared in such publications as The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Smithsonian, Art in America, and ArtNews. She was on-air arts commentator for the PBS MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour and chief art critic for New York Newsday. She was president of AICA-USA (between 2000 and 2005) and is founding program director of The Art Writing Workshop.

Headquartered in New York, AICA-USA's membership comprises over 400 critics, curators, scholars, and art historians working throughout the United States.