food for thought

  1. The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. Pablo Picasso
  2. Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. Edgar Degas
  3. No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. Oscar Wilde
  4. To send light into the darkness of men's hearts - such is the duty of the artist. Schumann
  5. The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity. Walt Whitman

May 07, 2018

22. Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon"'Avignon

You can place your comments on the viewed material here. Why does such a previously perceived as "hideous" work of art mean so much in art history?
DEADLINE for your comments : May 27, 2018

21. The Home Page (The Website/The Personal Web Page)

The communicative purposes of the artist’s personal home page include
·         informing the public about the artist’s practice(s), experience, creative endeavours,
·         self-promoting,  advertising for own exhibitions, works, and blog,
·          marketing oneself (with the final business goal of selling works),
·         increasing visibility in the art world, creating an on-line identity as an artist (as opposed to being part of a network, like in the case of the services of social networking; of course, the artist may well choose to be part of these, too),
·          establishing contact with possible buyers (either directly or through the galleries representing the artists).

the moves

M1. Identifying the artist (through his/her name, and sometimes the type: e.g. painter, sculptor, etc.)  
M2. Introducing the contents list of the site (through a navigation menu) 
M.3.  Biography + credentials (as very short biographical details and a short text relevant for the type of art s/he creates; sometimes even an artist statement may be offered; also present are the list of exhibitions and awards)
M.4. Current and upcoming events (advertising for on-going and future exhibitions or other events, by also offering exact information about location and time) 
M.5. “Bibliography” (actually a number of texts written by critics about the artist’s works and exhibitions; sometimes there may also be offered some exhibition catalogues; seldom, there are even texts produced by the artist) 
M.6. On-line gallery +/- shop (images of the works produced by the artist +/- accompanying texts describing them, their location, the exhibition where they were displayed; when the artist uses the site as an on-line shop as well, the facility of buying the work is also offered here, or, in the case of represented artists, there may be a link to the site of the representing gallery) 
M.7. Establishing contact (address, e-mail, links to the representing galleries).

The lexical and semantic particularities of the artist personal page differ from those of the blog in the use of the third person, as opposed to the first, signalling a lack of a “conversation” with the audience; instead the artists prefer to display the credentials here as a list of exhibitions and awards (the longer, the better), and the texts art critics wrote about them (of course, the one praising the works); very short texts are offered under the form of exhibition labels, accompanying the images and informing about the work of art shown in that image.

            In conclusion, the artist’s personal page is both an informative and an advertising genre.

Task  1: Why should artists have their own websites/home pages?
Task 2: Make your own homepage in English. If there is enough text (the equivalent of an essay or of a seminar research paper), not just images, that may count as your final grade this semester (with the 4 attendances as a prerequisite). Insert the link to your site as a comment preceded by your names and departments. Make sure you created a proper link (check it out); do not just give the address.

Deadline: May 20, 2018

19. The Artist's Blog

Definitions of weblogs (blogs)

  • “a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser” (Harvard dictionary)
  • “a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (‘posts’) typically displayed in reverse chronological order” (Wikipedia)
  • a journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption; informal; grouped by date ; with links to older posts; informative and/or inspiring; frequently linked to other sites; addictive for bloggers (adapted from Blogger Forum)
  • “a meandering, blatantly uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid pathetic life” (Urban Dictionary)

Previous research:

Susan Herring (Indiana University, 2004)
Neither fundamentally new, nor unique genre
Appeared in 1996 as a format, and 1997 as weblog (even 1991)
A bridge between the multimedia HTML documents and text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC)
A hybrid genre with multiple sources
Made possible by free software (Blogger, Wordpress)
Exponentially increasing in number (from 2.1 millions in 2004 to 181 millions at the end of 2011, our note)
Classification: 4 main types (personal journals—70%; filters = reviewing other blogs—12%; k-logs= offering information on certain subjects, and mixed)
Generic features: archives, badges, images, comments, links, calendar, guest book; frequency of posting cca. 5 days; reverse chronological order
Miller & Shepherd (North Carolina Univ.): the social function of blogs = the need to establish relations between selves
Herring & al. (2006): gender  and age study of weblogs (women and teenagers are active bloggers)
Laurie McNeill ( Univ. of Michigan, 2005): the journey of the written diary to the new web genre; the community of “netizens
Jan Schmidt  (Bamberg Univ. Germany, 2007) compares the different uses of the blog format
Cornelius Puschmann  (Humboldt Univ. of Berlin, 2009) focuses on corporate blogs; in his 2010 published PhD thesis he compares personal and corporate blogs; the supergenre” of  the personal blog; “the genre of the people”; “the blog prototype”

Art blog vs. artist's blog

Art blog vs. artist’s blog: art blogs may be written by other persons than artists (even institutions) and refer to art more or less in general; artist’s blogs are written by  artists themselves and refer to art in particular; art,here = visual art

An occupational-type of blog: occupations may include professional activities as well; art may or may not be the profession of the artist, but it certainly is his/her occupation; “professional” blog may suggest that there are other blogs which could be negatively tagged as “unprofessional” 

Communicative Purposes:

 Keeping up-to-date with the art world (artists as readers and writers of blogs; their audiences)
Keeping in touch with the latest successful practices in own field
Establishing oneself as an expert in the field (with possible professional and market benefits)
Marketing oneself (a cheap way of displaying own art and gaining public)
Advertising oneself (cheaply and efficiently)
Advertising another personal website (dedicated to sales)
Selling own works directly (“buy now” button)
Creating a successful artistic practice = creating art, showing it, telling people about it, interacting with public and fellow artists; blogging as part of the practice
Arousing and maintaining interest in own art and practice (through frequent posts and good content)
Increase visibility in the art world (the networking of blogs, blogrolls, links)
Sharing own experience(s) and techniques
Getting to know oneself better (in-depth writing and thinking)
Recording thoughts, experiences, practices (a kind of personal history)
Communicating with audiences (comments and replies)
Getting feedback (to keep, change, better market own art)
Adding to other writings about art in different media


The software structure is usually maintained with some alterations; web-design graphic artists create their own blog designs
The titles (not always the same with the URL) tend to contain the artist’s name; sometimes they offer information about the artist (“Belinda Joynes: Artist, imaginarian and daydream believer”, “Kelly Kilmer. Artist and Instructor”), sometimes they try to be as catchy as possible (“The haunted hollow tree”, “ Artsy fartsy life”, “Notes from the Voodoo Café”)
Most of the blogs are independent; very few are part of other websites, or homepages
        •Information about the artists is provided in almost all of the 30 blogs (more or less overtly), mainly through the “About” button (sincerity, authenticity)
       •Credentials and assuming some degree of expertise – present in the great majority of the blogs
       •Information about the intended content of the blog is offered in more than a half

The life expanse of the blogs (from 3-5 years to 8-9 years) and the frequency of posting (from once to six-eight times a month) prove that blogging is perceived by their authors as part of their art practice
All of the typical macro features of the blog are present (reverse chronological order, archives, blogrolls, badges, tags/labels, sharing tools, statistics of visitors) to a great extent, proving that the artist’s blog is a sub-type of the blog prototype
The intensive use of images (photographs, drawings, sketches) and other visuals (videos) is a particularity of the artist’s blog, very consistent with the nature of art itself  


Headers: title of post (reflecting the work/event) + information about date of post + reverse chronology
Footers: author + exact time of posting + tags + sharing tools + comments     ( = a typical blog microfeature, re-creating a conversation type of discourse)
Links: IntraLinks (to own posts) +/- hyperlinks (to other blogs/sites)
Intensive use of images
Texts/words are used to explain the process of creation, the progress of a work, are complementary to images

Artist blog types:

Mixed = journal entries + tutorials + reviews + advertorials + news

Filter = review of exhibitions and other blogs

Other = a “blogazine” (blog + magazine + forum + TV section + newsletter)

Discourse particularities:

Register: none of them was formal; they tend to range from neutral to different degrees of familiarity (consistent with the communicative purposes)
Modes of discourse: all of them, with a prevalence of the narrative mode (personal experience, descriptive narrative of process of creation, of work-in-progress, reporting events); descriptions of the type “recipe-giving”; describing a work of art; expository and argumentative – mainly in the reviewing type of blogs
Discourse strategies: analysing works (describing + interpreting + evaluating), reviewing, recipe-giving, labelling, story-telling, commenting, confessing, reporting, interviewing (taken from journalism), quoting, paraphrasing, aknowledging sources as footnotes (taken from scientific writing), monologuing
Rhetorical devices: metaphors, similes, hyperboles, rhetorical questions, repetitions, colloquialism, humour, (self-) irony, imprecation
Morphological features:
The 1st person pronoun “I”, expressing subjectivity is used to give the feeling of authenticity; in relationship with
The 2nd person pronoun “you”- to re-create an “authentic” speech situation; the reader is part of the whole process of creation, actively involved
Very few cases of the 3rd person pronoun (with self-reference), trying to suggest some detachment and objectivity
Qualifiers are largely used (some less formal superlatives)
Tenses: mainly past (for narratives); present (for descriptions); future (e.g. for plans to develop certain themes, to use a new technique, etc)
Interjections (colloquialism)
Text entries:
 A relative small number of paragraphs, coherently sequenced, accompanied by many images
Rather short (some exceptions range from no text at all to very large texts)
Special typing (upper case in some words to stress upon)
Unusual spelling (“little birdie in da house”, “y’all”)
Internet slang /Acronyms (XOXO=hugs and kisses; X=kiss; O = hug; XX = two kisses; LOL = loughing out loud, OMG = oh, my god!; DIY = do-it-yourself)
Repetitions of some letters (“Yiiiiii!”), suggesting some emotional state
Emoticons: J - smiley face; =)) - laugh;  L - sad face

for further reference, please follow:

Why should artists blog?

Task 1: Answer the above question, after following the link (click on the question!)

Task  2:  Make your own artist's blog and insert the link here (as a comment preceded by your names and departments). If you have 5 (five) posts (of at least one longer paragraph) written in English, out of which one should contain your artist's statement (another one may be an art review), those will count as your final grade this semester (with the 4 attendances as a prerequisite).
Note: insert the link, not just the title and/or the address.

Deadline: May 20, 2018
Linksl)ecting work of art, event

April 17, 2018

18. Rodin's "The Kiss"

Comment on the different treatment of the theme of the kiss by both Rodin and Klimt.
Or, you may just comment on Rodin's work as presented in the documentary we have watched in class. You might consider the blending of classical and modern in his approach; the ultra (hyper?) realistic style; the influences on contemporary art, etc.

Rodin and the art of ancient Greece

DEADLINE: April 30, 2018

April 16, 2018

17. The Art Review


  • art magazines, newspapers of regional, national, international circulation
  • journals devoted to different art forms
  • radio + television broadcasts
  • the Internet (including blogs)


  • the general public; educated, experienced readers, not necessarily art connoisseurs; people who are interested in art and possess some knowledge and/or intuition about art; people who expect to learn something new about art, or just see art from different perspectives
  • the members of the artistic discourse community
  • undecided people (as to whether to visit or not an exhibition)
  • people who missed the exhibition, or are unable to visit it, because of its distant location or lack of time and who are counting on the intelligent writing of the art reviewer in order to get an idea about a specific art event

Communicative purposes:

  • to inform the public about a current, or a just concluded artistic event
  • to promote an artist, an exhibition (gallery or museum, why not?)
  • to offer the audience an evaluation of the show/exhibition (as personal, but expert opinion)
  • to competently describe the most representative works
  • to competently interpret the meanings of the works, by offering the necessary evidence to support interpretation (from within and outside the work; iconographic + iconological interpretations) -- the previous purposes are those of art critique
  • to convince/persuade the public that the effort of visiting the exhibition is worthwhile, or, on the contrary -- similar to advertorials
  • to persuade the readers to become art exhibition goers/expand the art public
  • to educate oneself and the audience; develop artistic taste; fight against bad taste -- the last two purposes coincide with art education' purposes


  • art critics, art historians, professional writers, journalists, philosophers (aestheticians, art theorists), authors of TV and radio series and programs, bloggers, church people, etc.
  • must have(s): enough experience to offer reliable evaluations; honesty; analytical, open mind; writing experience (offer that amount of information the audience needs; provide the right amount of scholarly insights without getting into too many boring details; maintain the reader's interest by varied rhetorical devices and discourse strategies); knowledge of the different (artistic) ideologies; knowledge of the art market.

Size: rather short, concise (500-600 words)

Move pattern and discourse strategies:


  1. catching the reader's attention by using the appropriate rhetorical devices (e.g. a rhetorical question, a paradox, a figure of speech)
  2. offering specific information about the exhibition (when - the period; where - country, town, gallery, museum)
  3. offering some information about the artist(s) (a very short biography)

Move II (WHAT; developing a controlling idea about the exhibition)

  1. offering a general picture of the show and a first evaluation
  2. different discourse strategies:
  • historical approach of the works (chronological)
  • an unpopular opinion
  • an analogy
  • what one expected vs. what one got
  • a comparison (between works of the same artist, of different artists, between styles)
  • the first impression (initial impact on the viewer)
  • the strength/originality of the artist
  • a question (either rhetorical or one that will be answered in the following move)
Move III (transition)
  • ensuring the coherence of the text
  • relating the previous information to the following
Move IV (reviewing works)
  • analysing artworks
  • offering partial evaluations
  1. describing + interpreting +/- evaluating work 1
  2. describing + interpreting +/- evaluating work 2, a.s.o.
Note: only the most appealing works are to be taken into consideration (the most representative for the artist/for the show; the ones that the critic liked best, or, on the contrary, disliked)
  • partial evaluations of the works are made according to some aesthetic criteria (implicit or explicit)
  • are usually positive, or holding some reservations; when the lack of value is quite obvious, evaluations are negative
  • rhetorical strategies include: avoiding ambiguity and clearly stating the value (using qualifiers and quantifiers- e.g. overstatements -hyperboles), or, on the contrary, cultivating ambiguity for the sake of politeness (e.g. understatements - litotes = saying too little); irony and rarely sarcasm.
Move V (concluding)
  • offering a final, on-the-whole evaluation of the exhibition
  • convincing the audience of the value of the show
  • persuading the audience to visit the exhibition
  • trying to predict the future development of an artist's work, based on the current show (speculating about future developments)
  • implicitly persuading collectors to buy/or not some works
  1. Read as many art reviews as possible while distinguishing the above moves and steps, rhetorical strategies, a.s.o
  2. Compare the interpretations and evaluations made by the critic with your own appreciation of the same works.
  3. Read this review: Comment on how the features of the art review genre help you better understand the exhibition and make you wish you would visit it.
  4. Consider an art review on prof. Bogdan Iacob's blog: . Give its title. Do you consider it a positive, or a negative review on the whole? Why? Which are the positive aspects and which are the negative ones? Do you have a clear image of that exhibition, based on this art review? Do the interpretations given to the analyzed works help you understand the artist's themes?
  5. Choose an exhibition you have seen and try to write your own art review of that exhibition. (especially addressed to ITA: DEADLINE May 20, 2018 - sent via e-mail, to  be published 
 Deadline: APRIL 30, 2018


Communicative purpose:
  • the self-assertion of the artist's personal aesthetics/philosophy underlying his/her work in general, or a particular work/exhibition
  • stating the reasons for creating one work or the other, themes, identifying oneself with a style
  • describing own techniques and giving reasons for own choices
  • sharing all the necessary information in order to be better understood by the public
  • advertising oneself
  • arousing reader's interest and curiosity
media: a short text used as
  • a marketing material on cards, flyers, mailers, posters
  • accompanying slides, photos sent to different art curators, art dealers, etc, in order to get promoted or bought by them; participating in international art contests; applying for international creation grants
  • quotations in art reviews, in different articles (to illustrate/support the critic's analyses, interpretations and evaluations), in art history texts (as a research source)

          Move I. Personal philosophy/ies and aesthetics
Step 1. Art philosophies and/or aesthetics the artist rely on; general ideas guiding the creation; perspective on art
Step 2. General themes, sources
          Move 2. Personal style and techniques
Step 1. Defining personal style
Step 2. Describing the favored techniques
Step 3. Suggesting originality
          Move 3. Commenting on current exhibition/work
Step 1. Stating the general idea (or the specific one), sources of inspiration
Step 2. Describing the process of creation
Step 3. Suggesting the meanings of the exhibition and/or the work (details, explaining metaphors, signs, symbols

discourse strategies:
  • a very subjective genre, hence the use of the first person personal pronoun "I"
  • a type of 'confession'
  • using catchy words and expressions to attract reader's attention
  • avoiding prescribing a certain reading of own work while still offering some guidelines
  • implicating reader (suggesting a kind of conversation)
  • avoiding obscurity (weighing the amount of the necessary"artspeak")
  • writing with the audience in mind (who do you address to? is it a professional public or a general public?)
TASK 1: What do you think about the following artist's statements? Which do you like best? Any reason why?


TASK  2: Read through this article; the author seems to disagree with writing artist's statements by mentioning some dangers of writing them inappropriately; he expresses a personal opinion as to who should write the artist's statement. What do you think? Should it be the artist himself/herself to write the artist's statement, or should someone else write this text on his/her behalf ? Give reasons.


TASK 3: What would you say about yourself and your art in your statement?

The artist’s statements are sometimes supposed to accompany the artist’s  résumés; therefore, the specific information provided in the latter should be avoided in the former unless that is relevant for the works. The résumé is a rather official document, a personal marketing tool through which the artist establishes credibility when approaching a gallery or any other institution.  It offers more precise information about the artist: a short biography, education, experience in the field, recognition, all presented in simply and neatly. It is not a full text, the information being supplied as a kind of titles and being organized as a list, with the following headers:

The name à educationà previous experience (e.g. apprenticeships, scholarships, creative camps) à awards à exhibitions (solo, or group, the city and country) à recognition (newspaper articles, interviews, TV or radio appearances à representation (if the artist is represented by a gallery) à commissioned works (in private or museum collections)

TASK 4: write your own résumé.

            The two genres are meant to offer a clear image of the artist, in relation to both the general audience (especially the first) and specialized audiences (both)

DEADLINE: April 30, 2018

March 26, 2018

15. Dali's "Christ of St. John of the Cross"

Watch this short video:

Then, think about the documentary on Dali's  "Christ..." that we have watched;

How do you comment on the theme, its treatment, the possible meaning(s) of Dali's masterpiece? Are there any intriguing aspects? Where would you place it in the context of his whole work? Is it consistent with other works; if so, in what way? What other aspects do you find worth mentioning?

Deadline: April 15, 2018