Artist statement

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”The writing of artists’ statements is a comparatively recent phenomenon beginning in the 1990s.[2] In some respects the practice resembles the art manifesto and may derive in part from it. However, the artist’s statement generally speaks for an individual rather than a collective, and is not strongly associated with polemic.[citation needed] Rather, a contemporary artist may be required to submit the statement in order to tender for commissions or apply for schools, residencies, jobs, awards, and other forms of institutional support, in justification of their submission.

In their 2008 survey of North American art schools and university art programs, Garrett-Petts and Nash found that nearly 90% teach the writing of artist statements as part of the curriculum; in addition they found that,

Like prefaces, forewords, prologues, and introductions in literary works, the artist statement performs a vital if complex rhetorical role: when included in an exhibition proposal and sent to a curator, the artist statement usually provides a description of the work, some indication of the work’s art historical and theoretical context, some background information about the artist and the artist’s intentions, technical specifications – and, at the same time, it aims to persuade the reader of the artwork’s value. When hung on a gallery wall, the statement (or ”didactic”) becomes an invitation, an explanation, and, often indirectly, an element of the installation itself.”


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