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Louisa Elderton/Klaus Speidel

The Art of Art Writing – From art criticism to creative writing (and back)
26 July–7 August 2021

Schreiben über Kunst
Photo: Klaus Speidel

Course format
Hybrid, 1 week
26 –31 July 2021 (SOLD OUT)
02–07 August 2021

Either Fortress Hohensalzburg (on site) or online*

Teaching language
English and German (French also available)

What to bring
Laptop /tablet with camera, microphone and keyboard, paper and pen.

Willingness to write and share ideas using basic English and being comfortable having conversations about art and the discourse that frames art.

Maximum number of participants
12 on site, 6 online

Participation fee
€ 420,– (€ 340,–)

Are you an artist who integrates writing into your work? An art critic, art historian or journalist who writes about art? A student who wants to become a professional writer? A curator or gallerist who works with artists to articulate their practice? Perhaps you want to become more articulate when writing summaries of your practice for your website or a grant application, or maybe you simply want experiment and see where it goes. Whatever your experience or aims, this course gives you the opportunity to spend a dedicated period of time writing.

Focusing on the practice of writing and editing based on some theory, this course provides a solid introduction to art writing and a space for experimentation. Alternating between reading groups, writing exercises and shared-learning experiences, more intimate breakout rooms give the opportunity to share thoughts and questions in your primary language of German, French or English, during which time you will receive focused individual feedback. The online/offline presence of students from all around the world will be an extra opportunity for an enriching experience.

Together we produce different forms of art writing, from experimental vignettes to reviews, from exhibition texts to press releases, and even auto-fiction stories, all the while creating a safe and supportive space for feedback. Students explore how form, style, voice and narrative can be used to different effect, as well as the importance of editing when refining any text. We will also discuss how pitches can be shaped to get texts published.

The course offers personal working alongside like-minded people, with support and guidance from two experts with more than twenty years of art-writing experience. Placing art at the centre of the course, students learn the necessary tools for becoming their own breed of writer and getting excited and energized about exploring new directions.

*If necessary, the course may be held exclusively online.

Louisa Elderton is a writer, editor and art critic based in Berlin. She regularly contributes to publications including Artforum and Frieze, and is the German correspondent for Flash Art. She is curatorial editor at the Gropius Bau, having formulated the interpretive framework and texts for the institution’s exhibition Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective, as well as being managing editor of the accompanying catalogue and booklet. She also edits their Online Journal. She is editor of Side Magazine, a publication that accompanies the fourth edition of the Bergen Assembly, to take place in 2022. As project editor of Phaidon’s ‘Vitamin’ series, her most recent publication was released in January, Vitamin D3: Today’s Best in Contemporary Drawings.

Recent publications
Magazines & newspapers (selected)
“Rebecca Ackroyd, Peres Projects”, in: Artforum, forthcoming, April 2021.
“Xinyi Cheng, Hamburger Bahnhof”, in: Flash Art, forthcoming, March 2021.
“This Year’s Steirischer Herbst Switches Between Programmes”, in: Frieze, November 2020.
“Vienna Contemporary has a new look and new leadership, but it remains a staid regional fair”, in: artnet News, 30 September 2019.
“An Electric Temple of Culture Fires Up”, in: The New York Times, 11 September 2019.
“Christian Nyampeta’s Study of the Cultural Acts of Colonial Violence”, in: Frieze, 3 September 2019.

Book contributions (selected)
Flower: Exploring the World in Bloom (Phaidon, 2020).
The New Mediterranean (Gestalten, 2019).
Anatomy: Exploring the Human Body (Phaidon, 2019).
Animal: Exploring the Zoological World (Phaidon, 2018).
Flying Too Close to the Sun: Myths in Contemporary Art from Classical to Contemporary (Phaidon, 2018).
Universe: Exploring the Astronomical World (Phaidon, 2017).

Editing (selected)
Managing editor of Yayoi Kusama. A Retrospective (Gropius Bau/Prestel, 2021).
Project editor of Vitamin D3: New Perspectives in Drawing (Phaidon, 2021).
Managing editor of Leonilson: Drawn, 1975–1993 (KW Institute/Hatje Cantz, 2020).
Co-editor of Otobong Nkanga: There’s No Such Thing as Solid Ground (Gropius Bau 2020).
Managing editor of Lee Mingwei (Gropius Bau/Silvana Editoriale, 2020).
Content editor of Great Women Artists (Phaidon, 2019).

Klaus Speidel (PhD in philosophy) is an award-winning German art critic, curator and theorist. He writes for various print media, including Frankfurter Allgemeine ZeitungSpike and The Art Newspaper. He is co-founder of Verein K and facilitates Crit Cross. A Forum on Art Criticism. He currently teaches art history, art and curation in Vienna and image theory in Paris.

Recent publications (selected)
Magazines & newspapers
“The Sorrows of Young Andy. Andy Warhol Exhibits. A Glittering Alternative. mumok Wien”, in: Spike Art Quarterly #66, Winter 2020/2021
"Steirischer Herbst Graz aka Paranoia TV: Altes Broadcasting", in:, 20.10.20.
"Sie wollen uns erzählen", in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 17 April 2019. 

Journal Articles
“‘Telling in Time’ Extended: How Single Pictures Convey Stories, Evoking Suspense, Curiosity, Surprise and Relief”, in: Poetics Today, Vol. 41, 2020 (i.E.) (EN).
“Pictorial Narrative with Tension and Relief”, in: Storyworlds. A Journal of Narrative Studies, 10.1.2, 2020.

Book Contributions
"Stabile Bilder der fragilen Schöpfung: Von Bildern der Natur zur Natur als Bild / Stable images of fragile creation. From pictures of nature to nature as a picture", in: Fragile Schöpfung, Johanna Schwanberg (Hg.), Dom Museum Vienna, 2020.
"Witz, Würdigung und Remix. Rückbezug als Innovation in der zeitgenössischen Zeichnung und Fotografie", in: Comeback. Kunsthistorische Renaissancen, Nicole Fritz (ed.), Kunsthalle Tübingen, 2019.
Bosch & Pitié. Agathe Pitié. Visionen des Jüngsten Gerichts / Visions of Last Judgement, Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, 2019.
Portrait photos Louisa Elderton, Klaus Speidel
Portrait photo Elderton: Rebecca Crawford
Portrait photo Speidel: Verein K