Art Review Paper

Art Review Paper – Read at Start of Course

Read through these entire instructions BEFORE you attend an art exhibition.

For this paper, you will attend an art exhibition and write a descriptive essay about your experience.

Also read: Erasure and Visibility: Media, Art, and the Politics of Historical Representation

  1. Research the choices in your local area. Click on the “Links” menu at the top of the page to see a list of places to see art in the Temple area. Also, you can Google “art gallery”, “art museum”, or “art exhibition” with the name of your town to find more options.
  2. Make sure you choose an art exhibition, not an exhibition about history. The theme of the exhibition must be art.
  3. Post your selection in the discussion forum.
  4. Read all of the instructions before you visit the exhibition, and print out the worksheet to take with you.
  5. You must attend this exhibition in person to complete this project. You may not use online exhibitions, or exhibitions viewed prior to this assignment.
  6. This body of this paper should be a minimum of 1500 words, excluding any citations or titles. A paper of less than 1500 words will receive an automatic F, with no further comment.
  7. Turn in your paper to the Dropbox.
  8. Unexcused, late papers will be penalized 10 points per day.

How to Review Art

Visiting the Art Gallery or Museum

Print out the instructions and take them with you. Take a notebook and pen/pencil, and take notes at the exhibition. Occasionally, museum exhibitions will restrict what you can take into the gallery, but they will usually allow you to take in a notebook, paper and a pencil. Some exhibitions will allow you to take photographs, some will not. Some will have information posted, some will not. If you can’t find the information you need, ask someone in the museum/gallery.

If possible, it is best to attend the exhibition alone, or with a classmate. Expect to spend an hour or two minimum viewing the exhibition.

Begin by quickly touring the venue, looking for “your” three artworks. You do not necessarily have to “like” the work you review. Once you have identified the three works (or, sometimes, series of work) that you find most interesting to discuss, then spend as much time as possible with each one, recording what you see and feel.

Use further research from books and websites as you write your paper. Also spend some quiet time reflecting on your notes from the gallery visit as you write the more subjective parts of your essay.

Writing The Paper

Make sure the following information is on the first page of your paper:

  • Your Name
  • The name and location of the museum/gallery.
  • The title of the exhibition, if there is one.
  • Date of viewing.


Briefly, explain where you went, and why you went there. Give your first impressions of the gallery/museum as a whole. Explain and describe the exhibition you will be reviewing.


For each of the three artworks:

  1.  Introduce the work, including:
  • Artist’s name.
  • Title of work.
  • Type of work (painting, sculpture, video)
  • First impression. Why did you select this work? Note the characteristics of the artwork that first jump out at you.
  1. Describe what you see. This is the objective portion of the art critique. It involves a technical description-nothing more. Include size, medium, subject matter, and design elements (line, shape, color, texture).
  2. Interpret the artwork. This part of an art critique is subjective, and gives you the opportunity to create an opinion about the work. Use your description of the objective qualities of the artwork to try to understand the artist’s intended purpose. Try to accomplish the following things when formulating your interpretation:
  • Communicate the artist’s statement. Describe what you think the artist is trying to say through the work of art.
  • Expound on the feeling conveyed by the artwork. Describe what the artwork means to you, and why.
  • Explain what you feel is the artist’s intended purpose for creating that particular work of art. Examine why the artist made the choices in technique, materials and subject matter and how they relate to the intended purpose.
  • Identify symbols in the artwork and describe how they relate to the artist’s technical choices and contribute to the artist’s execution of the intended purpose.
  1. Evaluate the artwork. This is a summation of the art criticism process leading up to this point. Use your analysis and interpretation to draw conclusions and reach judgments about the artwork. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer to this part.
  • Describe how the artwork makes you feel.
  • Explain why you think you feel this way.
  • Explain whether or not you think this artwork is successful. Do you think the artist acheived his/her goals? Did the artwork “do it” for you?


At the end of your essay, summarize your experience of the entire visit as a conclusion.

Minimum Expectations:







Plagiarism is using another’s words or ideas as your own. To avoid plagiarism, you must create citations for any information or ideas that are not yours. You must show the sources for all of the factual information in your paper.

What is Plagiarism?


What is a Citation?

Any information in your paper that you learned from your textbook, or any other books or any websites, must have a citation. You may use APA or MLA styles:

If you interview anyone in the gallery – artist, gallerist, etc., you will need to cite the information you use in your paper:

If you use the information that the museum/gallery provides as signs and labels on the walls, you will also need to create citations:

Last Updated on September 22, 2020

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