What’s the Value of an Online Art Crit?

HyperAllergic | Elena Goukassian

Critiques may often serve as the butt of jokes, but there’s no denying they’re an indispensable component of every artist’s education. That’s why when Rhode Island School of Design professor Clara Lieu created her free online art school, Art Prof, she made sure to include several options for virtual crits.

Art Prof is something of a mix between Khan Academy and Bob Ross, providing free online classes taught by Lieu and a number of teacher assistants. The website includes instructional videos, which Lieu films in her own home, as well as information on various mediums, and professional development resources. “In an ideal world, we would be similar to Antiques Roadshow, so that we could travel and meet artists and critique everything in person,” Lieu told Hyperallergic in an email. “However, we currently operate on a shoe string budget, and most of our staff (including myself) work on a volunteer basis, so this isn’t a format that is possible for us at this point.”

For now, many of Art Prof’s critiques are presented as video, with several different options, including group critiques of a single work and portfolio critiques. Lieu said that while the video critiques are by invitation, anyone can submit an artwork for a one-minute audio crit online via Instagram. Either way, the works are discussed based on photos, and Lieu and her staff only see the works in person when they invite artists into Lieu’s home studio for what she calls Crit Chats. “We shoot all of our videos at my home, so for this reason, we only invite people who I know personally,” Lieu said. “I actually live near Boston, so most people we invite are in that area. We aim to invite artists who represent a range of ages and media. For example, we have invited high school students as well as people who are retired.”…read more

Image: Art Prof’s Clara Lieu critiques high school student Caffrey Fielding’s work