In-Focus:

Aesthetics

When the Bug is the Feature

Blogging Fellows, The Art of Thinking, Visual Art

Glitch artists remind us that the limit of the quantification of art is the banal. ...

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How To Objectively Identify Beauty

Blogging Fellows, Performance, The Art of Thinking

A philosopher explains the importance of form and freedom in aesthetics, juggling included. ...

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Can Sports Be an Aesthetic Experience?

Blogging Fellows, The Art of Thinking

Contingency and unpredictability can elevate a football game into a kind of theater....

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What Does Platonic Form Have to Do with Art?

Blogging Fellows, In-Depth, The Art of Thinking, Visual Art

Photographs stage a confrontation between the idea of an object and its representation, and...

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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.

...art invites us into lives beyond our own time and place. #ArtIsEssential

Isolation can drain us but art offers nourishment. #ArtIsEssential

We all deserve to take a moment to draw free breath, and then raise a hopeful cry for a better tomorrow. #ArtIsEssential

We may console ourselves that our isolation -however long, however uncertain- will also contain its treasures. #ArtIsEssential

Hidden Histories + Criticism

Art In-Depth

Winnowing The Wynn

Blogging Fellows, Dicey, Public Art, Reported

A critic surveys the Wynn Las Vegas art holdings and asks, “What can compete with a hanging parasol garden, life-size crystal peacocks, anemone-lantern trees, dramatic drapery edged with passementerie, and swirling golden mosaics, as well as carpets, ceiling moldings, and chandeliers fit for royalty?”
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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 ...

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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. ...

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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 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.

Memoir + Essay + Travel

First Person Stories

Lost Words

First Person, Literature

A writer stuck on a story lets the words carry her to a new page. ...

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Family Portrait

Essay, First Person, Visual Art

Portraits of distant relatives survive a married couple's home reorganization, the subjects'...

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The Monster Within

Art and Mind, Blogging Fellows, First Person, Visual Art

Psychiatrist and art critic Deborah Kostianovsky explains why she can't turn away from a portrait...

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Snow in the Concert Hall

Blogging Fellows, Essay, Feature, First Person, Music, Trains in the Basement

Composers John Cage and R. Murray Schafer sculpt sound into moments that evade on-demand...

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Greenhouse in the Desert

Blogging Fellows, First Person, Performance, Trains in the Basement

"If you revisit the things that once interested you, you can return to that period of your life....

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Graphite Insomnia

Appreciation, 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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