The Art Writing Workshop—a partnership between the Arts Writers Grant Program and the International Art Critics Association/USA Section (AICA/USA)—gives practicing writers the opportunity to strengthen their work through one-on-one email and phone consultations with leading art critics. Focusing on the craft of writing, the workshop will use participants’ writing samples as a springboard for an in-depth consideration of such issues as voice, prose style, organizational structure, and argumentation. Ten applicants are chosen to participate each year.
Each selected writer is paired with a senior AICA critic who serves as the workshop leader. Working over the internet and by phone, the workshop leader communicates with the writer: defining goals, evaluating current writing projects, and making substantial suggestions for developing content, argument, and a compelling voice.
2015 Writing Workshop Recipients
Ellen Mara De Wachter
2015 Writing Workshop Mentors
Elizabeth Baker was editor of Art in America from 1973 to 2008; she is currently editor-at-large. Before joining Art in America, she was associate editor and then managing editor of Art News. She has taught history of art at Boston University, Wheaton College and the School of Visual Arts , and has written on a wide range of contemporary artists. She is currently working as a freelance writer and editor.
Bill Berkson is a poet, critic and professor emeritus at the San Francisco Art Insittute. He is the author of many books of poetry––most recently, Expect Delays (Coffee House Press, 2014)––and three books of criticism: The Sweet Singer of Modernism, For the Ordinary Artist, and Sudden Address. He is a corresponding editor for Art in America and contributing editor for artcritical. He divides his time between San Francisco and New York.
Robin Cembalest is a journalist and editorial consultant. She was Executive Editor of ARTnews (1998 - 2015), where she supervised the editorial team, won awards for investigative reporting, and launched the magazine’s web content and social-media feeds. Currently, she advises art-world clients on content strategy and writes for various publications, and is Gallery Club director for Cre8tive YouTH*ink, a creative arts youth-development nonprofit.
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. He is a poet, studied Sanskrit, taught South Asian and Islamic art, and writes frequently on the art disparate histories, and cultures. The California College of Art and the Maryland Institute College of Art have awarded him honorary doctorates.
Eleanor Heartney is a Contributing Editor to Art in America and Artpress. She is author of Art and Today, Postmodernism and Postmodern Heretics and co-author of After the Revolution: Women who Transformed Contemporary Art and The Reckoning: Women Artists in the New Millennium. She has been awarded the College Art Association’s Frank Jewett Mather Award and the French government’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
David Pagel is an art critic who writes for the Los Angeles Times. He is a professor of art theory and criticism at Claremont Graduate University and an adjunct curator at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York. Recent publications include a monograph on Ron Nagle and catalog essays on Justin Bower, Asad Faulwell, and Viola Frey. “Talking Beauty,” a conversation with Joseph Raffael, is forthcoming.
Peter Plagens is a painter showing with the Nancy Hoffman Gallery in New York since 1974, and was also art critic for Newsweek (1989-2003). He is the author of two books of art criticism—Sunshine Muse: Art on the West Coast, 1945-70 and Moonlight Blues: An Artist’s Art Criticism—as well as the novel, Time for Robo and the online novel, The Art Critic. His monograph, Bruce Nauman: The True Artist, was published by Phaidon, in May, 2014. He writes the art-review column, “Fine Art,” for The Wall Street Journal.
Nancy Princenthal, a former Senior Editor of Art in America, has contributed to Artforum, Parkett, the Village Voice, and the New York Times. Her books include Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art (Thames and Hudson, 2015), Hannah Wilke (Prestel, 2010), and essays for monographs on Shirin Neshat, Doris Salcedo, Robert Mangold, and Alfredo Jaar. She co-authored books on leading women artists, has taught at Bard College, Princeton University, Yale University, and is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts.
Barry Schwabsky is art critic for The Nation and co-editor of international reviews for Artforum. He is the curator of "Tightrope Walk: Painted Images after Abstraction" at White Cube, London, November 2015-January 2016. His recent books are Words for Art: Criticism, History, Theory, Practice (Sternberg Press, 2014) and a collection of poetry, Trembling Hand Equilibrium (Black Square Editions, 2015); forthcoming is The Perpetual Guest: Art in the Unfinished Present (Verso, 2016).
Susan Snodgrass is a Senior Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Much of her critical writing concerns alternative models of art making, including new genres of public art and contemporary art in post-communist Europe. Her blog, In/Site: Reflections on the Art of Place, explores art and urbanism. She was a Corresponding Editor (1994 – 2013) for Art in America, is co-editor of ARTMargins Online, and is curating an exhibition the architecture of Ken Isaacs.
2015 Writing Workshop Program Director
Amei Wallach is an art critic and filmmaker. Her articles have appeared in such publications as The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Smithsonian, Art in America, and The Brooklyn Rail. She was chief art critic for New York Newsday and on-air arts commentator for the PBS MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour. She directed the documentary Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here (2013) and co-directed Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine (2008). She is making a film on Robert Rauschenberg.