On Saturday we're hosting two of MARN's Professional Development Workshops for artists and I'd like to encourage you to come! Graeme Reid curator and Assistant Director at the Museum of Wisconsin Art will be leading a workshop on writing artist statements and Sally Stanton will guide you through intricacies of grant writing. You can find the details here.
Anyways, I just wanted to share some thoughts on artist statements and spell out some reasons for potential usefulness of this workshop (as I don't doubt Graeme will do a wonderful job).
As an artist, I dread writing statements. It's not even that I don't like to write down thoughts on my work, quite the contrary, I thrive on writing. However, the statement needs to encapsulate the most essential things about the work in a relatively small amounts of words. The issue of space is important to me as my own projects include quite diverse visual languages/ manifestations. How do I clarify what brings them together without writing a lengthy essay?
Then, there's a question of language, perhaps even more challenging one. The statement needs to be accessible, speak not just to the curator and the specialist, but also to the public, but yet - somehow - avoid cliches. It needs to illuminate without making the work seem trivial.
I take that last problem very seriously from the personal experience of jurying/curating exhibitions and looking through dozens of artists statements. As a matter of fact, I just went through such an ordeal last weekend. Trust me, there are few things that can do otherwise decent work a greater disfavor than an obscure, convoluted or banal statement.
Anyways, I am not here to run the workshop for Graeme - I just wanted to share some thoughts to encourage you to attend.