I’m biased, but I think the most valuable advice in William Powhida’s “Some Cynical Advice for Artists” is to “Take a f*cking writing class. In the English Dept.”
If you’ve read numerous artist statements, you are likely to have suffered through a lot of writing that’s technically flawed or ambiguous and communicationally ineffective. I ranted about art writing in Big Red & Shiny a few years ago - apparently at a point of exasperation: “Whether it is in a newspaper, peer-reviewed journal, or exhibition essay, there seems to be a surprising lack of inattention to meaning. [Part of the problem are] layers upon layers of prepositional phrases, dubious adjectives, and passive voice - which, in some cases, seem intentional so as to shroud lack of understanding or commitment…”
If you don’t have the time or resources to take a writing class, read Triple Canopy’s wonderful “International Art English,”and then pick up George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” to see how the same common flaws of art writing are employed in everyday political speech to manipulate the masses.
Cynical Advice, 15” x 20”, Graphite, colored pencil, and watercolor on paper,2012. For the 2012 BRIC benefit gala.