Current Cubitt Curatorial Fellow and critic Morgan Quaintance leads a course on art criticism, focusing on its past, present and future. Devised to give participants practical information and an understanding of the discipline’s history and current possibilities, emphasis will also be placed on exploring criticism’s social and political contexts, and the use, development and different approaches to style, rhetoric and perspective.


TUESDAYS 6.30 – 8.30 PM, 5 – 26 APRIL 2016, CUBITT STUDIO 5

£50 /£40 student concessions /£15 unwaged (+ booking fee)

Places are limited, please book early to avoid disappointment!


Day 1: The first two hundred years, 5 April

We’ll survey the activity of art critics across the 18th and 19th centuries, tracking their evolution from salon commentators and neoclassical enthusiasts, to supporters of individual expression, Romanticism and the sublime.

Day 2: Criticism in the twentieth century, 12 April

With formalism at one end and postmodernism at the other, the 21st century saw the USA enter the fray, magazines proliferate, and the explosion of different perspectives through critical theory, postcolonial thinking, feminism, queer theory and more. We’ll look at how all of this informed, deepened, politicised and democratized criticism. Or did it?

Day 3: Style, rhetoric and perspective, 19 April

Continuing from where critical theory and postmodernism left off, we’ll consider different approaches to style, looking at how specific writers choose to present their arguments, and, perhaps by extension, themselves. Through analysis of different modes of address, tone and rhetorical form, particular attention will be paid to criticality (is it performed or actually enacted?), political engagement (is it important?) and personal risk (should a critic embrace it?).

Day 4: The 21st Century: Crisis? What crisis?, 26 April

Although many column inches have been devoted to the ‘crisis of criticism’ there is, at present, more criticism then ever before in both the art world and the wider cultural scene. In this final session we’ll look at criticism today in print and online. How has its proliferation effected the production of contemporary art? Is it a pluralistic field in which a multitude of critical positions are convincingly articulated? Is ‘real’ criticism happening anymore, or is it all just description?


Attendance is recommended for all four sessions. Please book your place here.


Morgan Quaintance is a London-based writer, musician, broadcaster and curator, and the 2015/16 Curatorial Fellow at Cubitt Gallery. He is a regular contributor to  Art MonthlyArt and a number of curatorial sites and blogs. He is a contributing editor for E-Flux’s online publishing portal Art Agenda, is a founding member of the curatorial collective DAM PROJECTS. As a presenter he currently works with the BBC’s flagship arts programme The Culture Show, and is also the producer of Studio Visit, a weekly hour-long interviews-based programme, broadcast on Resonance 104.4 FM, featuring international contemporary artists as guests.