How to start your career as an art critic | Altamira
Are you an aspiring art critic or curator looking to make a name in the competitive world of art? Criticism and curation are two important corners of the art world that play a major role in the success of art galleries, exhibitions, and individual works of art. But getting started as an art critic or curator can be intimidating. That’s why Altamira is here to help!
At Altamira, our mission is to enable anyone to participate in the art world. To accomplish this democratization, we provide ample opportunity for everyone to join in the conversation. We are a communal marketplace for art, artists, critics, curators, collectors, and fans, where critiques and curation play a massive role in making a vibrant community. Altamira is social commerce for art. We connect artists, collectors, critics, and fans around art. Artists get more control. Collectors get to discover critic-reviewed art from undiscovered artists. Critics get to build their brand and portfolio.
We wrote this article assuming you are already an expert on art and simply need advice starting your career. You know what amazing composition looks like, what movements and artists have defined different eras, and what drives value in the market. If that isn't you, no worries, start by reading our different articles on those topics and critiques written by Altamira users on different pieces.
How to get experience and exposure in the art world before your first job
1. Research the art world: Familiarize yourself with key players and works of art so that you can speak intelligently about them in any situation.
2. Network with experienced professionals: Attend gallery openings, auctions and other industry events to meet people who can guide you in your journey as a critic or curator.
3. Join online communities: Take part in online conversations and engage with people who are already working in the art industry.
4. Start writing your own content: Blogging or creating YouTube videos that feature your opinions on works of art is an excellent way to get exposure and practice expressing yourself as a critic or curator.
5. Publish your work: Submit your work to journals and publications, write articles or critiques on Altamira or use social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter to share your thoughts on art.
@alicia-puig of Create! Magazine suggests, "Internships and apprenticeships, informational interviews, visiting art museums/fairs/galleries, and going to as many art events as you can!"
The importance of social media in a career in the arts
As an art critic, one of the most important things you can do is to develop a strong personal brand, just look at Jerry Saltz. Social media can be a great way to get started with this. By carefully curating your online presence, you can control how the world sees you and your work. In addition, social media provides a great way to get exposure. By sharing and creating on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Altamira you can reach a wider audience than you ever could through more traditional channels. You also have the opportunity to develop relationships with artists, other critics, curators, and collectors by putting yourself out there.
"Social media can be a helpful tool for your career, but please always prioritize your mental health and set boundaries. I'd suggest working to cultivate a unique voice and posting consistently with quality content ('consistent' and 'quality' will vary from person to person so you have to decide what that means for you)," says @alicia-puig
Writing critiques and curating collections on Altamira is an excellent way to develop your portfolio of published work. The really nice thing about publishing here is that you are publishing to an audience that cares exclusively about art.
"For new curators and critics, in an environment that is awash with images, social media provides you a fantastic vehicle for showcasing your eye. Your ability to select and highlight specific artists and specific works demonstrates the one thing that collectors and the public are looking for - a singular eye - a singular voice - a reliable benchmark for quality," says @john-dalton.
In short, social media is an essential tool for any artist serious about their career.
Common mistakes young curators and critics make when starting their careers
While harmless mistakes early in a career are a right of passage in any industry, there are a few to look out for
"Comparing yourself to others who are farther along in their careers, not pushing for bigger opportunities or asking for more money, waiting for opportunities to come to you, and worrying about not having certain credentials or degrees." - Alicia Puig
Check out some of the amazing critics on Altamira
Here are a few examples of critiques and curations from the community:
@alicia-puig from Create! Magazine’s critique of !In the Comfort of my Island
@john-dalton from Gently Does It’s curation, Figurative Art
@audra-lambert from ANTE mag+curatorial’s critique on !Fog
@jennifer-dasal from ArtCurious’ curation, Abstracts done right
@john-crowther , Altamira's most prolific writer.
"The art landscape is constantly evolving in certain ways and has been slow to change in others. I think most often, the people who find success in creative fields are the ones who learn to adapt when needed and are resilient during challenging times, and also those who hone one or two skills that they become known for," says @alicia-puig.
Regardless of which specific steps you take, start taking steps. They can be thoughtful baby steps or leaps of faith, but every journey starts with a single step. Take that first one and be bold in your choices to build the career you want!
As you embark on your new career, it's important to remember that the art industry is competitive. Don't compare yourself to others and stay humble while staying motivated.