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Art Across America

How a 19th-Century Idea Could Rescue 21st-Century Art

Commentary, Reported, Visual Art

The American Art-Union offers a model for supporting artists with direct engagement from the...

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Have Skateboard. Dive Deep.

Far Out, Poetry, Reported

Poet Anders Carlson-Wee on the skateboarding aesthetic, the benefits of dumpster diving, and the...

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How to Tell a Dance on Film

Dance, Film, Reported

Elliot Caplan and Mirra Bank watch dance with eyes and minds open to creative possibilities. They...

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Drop Out. Tune In. Start a Revolution.

Far Out, Reported, Visual Art

Mario Torero on leaving art school, his place in the Chicano art movement, and fifty years of...

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Art Is Essential

In March 2020 Critical Read began the Art Is Essential flash nonfiction project. We asked writers to describe the art that they are turning to during these uncertain times. Since then, we’ve heard from over 300 writers across the country.

 

Learn more about sharing your 300-word story.

How can art be inessential? It's right there, the same as always, and yet, incredibly different. #ArtIsEssential

My children will see plenty of movies as they grow up, but I know these silent ones will stay with them. They are works of art, artifacts from a different age, and reminders that art can transcend time and give us a glimpse of the eternal.

Langston Hughes has been staying up with me on nights when I can't sleep, and on days when I can't work. #ArtIsEssential

Art sometimes creates unexpected opportunities for daily joy: kitchen tables make me smile, and that in itself is a quiet pleasure.

Hidden Histories + Criticism

Art In-Depth

Victim of his own intent: On Alvin Feinman

Appreciation, In-Depth, Poetry

“My ambition, nonetheless, is that someday in the distant future, just one lonely reader will wander the shelves of a library and discover a slim volume of my poetry, taking inspiration from my work in the way I found it in Alvin Feinman’s.”

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Fuller Credit

Dance, Film, In-Depth, Origins

Loïe Fuller is celebrated as one of the founding choreographers of modern dance. Her equally ...

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Stuffed

Commentary, In-Depth, Visual Art

As taxidermy moves from the natural history museum to the art gallery, how should an artist ...

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Letters for Another World

In-Depth, Literature, Origins

America's original humorist was a deeply cynical man who censored his most controversial writings....

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Art has history

Online since 2016, Critical Read is a nonprofit, non-partisan publisher dedicated to making American art and art history more inclusive and discoverable.

We tell the true stories of the fine, literary, and performing arts. Browse our Artwork Biography e-books, available in MOBI, EPUB, and PDF files.

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Memoir + Essay + Travel

First Person Stories

Graphite Insomnia

Appreciation, Feature, First Person, Visual Art

“A deep black square can be an object or an opening. Sometimes you can get a surface so deep,...

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Walls Covered in Basquiat

First Person, Visual Art

"What might be if he lived? What does it mean that his image is defined and further commoditized...

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The Lewis Chessmen, Deer Antler, and a French Bulldog

Appreciation, Essay, First Person, Sculpture

"What could I make with antler?" I recalled the Lewis Chessmen and figured I could attempt to carve...

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An Itch for Things Remote

Essay, First Person, Literature, Visual Art

From ‘Moby Dick’ to Frank Stella, a writer looks to art of the sea for inspiration....

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Grass Grew on the Sidewalks

Essay, First Person, Literature

The dream of visiting Harper Lee’s world leads to reconnecting with a grandmother....

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Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico

Essay, First Person, Visual Art

Lessons from a master in living with beauty: Georgia O’Keeffe’s home beckons for a 15-hour...

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