News & events > Mind your Artspeak | guidance for artists, curators, museums
31 May 2013

Mind your Artspeak | guidance for artists, curators, museums


The Guardian's Culture Professionals Network looks at 'artspeak' and examples of what NOT to write about art.  How we communicate our work is important. A new website Interpretation Matters shows how artspeak can have a profound impact on audience experience, visitor rates, artist reputations and more.

Interpretation Matters is all about the written material found in galleries - the text panels on the walls, providing context for the work on show, and the printed booklets that describe the works or overall programme. Arts writer Dany Louise directs the project and explains the challenge:
How often have you walked into a gallery, read the written interpretation boards next to the artworks, and felt none the wiser? How often have you felt that they haven’t told you what you want to know, that you've been left with more questions than answers, or that you haven’t understood a word? How frequently do you read the seemingly compulsory phrases: “questions the notion of…” or “challenges the viewers’ ideas about…” without the least idea of what notions are being questioned, or why, and what supposedly wrong ideas you have that are being challenged?

Interpretation Matters provides a regular 'Good Writing' citation to highlight examples of good writing from galleries and museums. The project is UK-based but do contribute an international perspective with your examples of good and bad art writing in English.

Visual by Tagul of some of the examples submitted to The Guardian