What does an Art Critic do?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
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  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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An art critic gives her opinion and technical analysis of artistic works, galleries and artists. The art may include drawings, paintings and photographs. Other artistic mediums such as collages, prints, graphics or sculptures may also be evaluated. Normally, the art being reviewed is displayed at a gallery, exhibition, public show or private viewing. The venues as well as the artists may be scrutinized along with the art.

An art critic normally needs experience or education in the type of art on which she is commenting to provide a valid, informed opinion in her reviews. This background also adds credibility to her criticism. The ability to clearly state her opinions and cite reliable sources for her commentary are normally required for success in this position.

Regardless of the genre of art being reviewed, the art critic is usually expected to comment on technical factors. These include artistic technique, theme and expression. She will often compare the art to similar works or refer to commonly accepted artistic standards.


Having the talent to articulately convey to readers how a piece of art created a mood or feeling is a valuable asset for an art critic. It is also helpful for the critic to include ancillary information in her reviews that add depth and an additional level of interest. This information often refers to the artist’s background or education. Anecdotal references to the artist’s ties to the local community or sources of inspiration are often interesting to a wide range of readers as well.

If an art critic gathers a following based on her opinions, she may garner influence that affects an artist’s future. Public opinion of highly subjective creative endeavors has been known to make or break a novice artist’s career. An acclaimed art critic is often capable of wielding her influence to accomplish this, intentionally or not.

An art critic may work for a single magazine, newspaper or Web site or choose to offer her opinions on a freelance, contractual basis. The latter option is often the choice of aspiring art critics. It is sometimes necessary to initially provide reviews to multiple sources free of charge if the art critic is new to the industry or lacks impressive credentials relating to art criticism.

A significant number of successful art critics have degrees in art, art history or art appreciation. This background, along with the ability to intelligently and clearly comment on different art forms, may be enough to achieve success in this position. As is true with many positions in the media, having a contact or mentor in the industry is normally advantageous.


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Why do art critics write about art?

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