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Art in America

How To Objectively Identify Beauty

Blogging Fellows, Performance, Reported, 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, Reported, The Art of Thinking

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

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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...

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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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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

Between Parlors and Oceans

Art and Mind, Blogging Fellows, In-Depth, Visual Art

Edward Hopper’s ‘Rooms by the Sea’ captures the psychic tension resulting from conflicting states of mind. The visible ambivalence of the painting is particularly relatable during Covid.
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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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Agnes Martin in Coenties Slip

Blogging Fellows, In Residence, In-Depth, Visual Art

“The work is so far from perfection because we ourselves are so far from perfection … That is ...

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What Is Aesthetics? An Introduction to ‘The Art of Thinking’

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

"If you’ve ever asked yourself why a particular painting is considered beautiful, or whether a ...

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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 ...

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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.

Sign up for Critical Read's newsletter.

Memoir + Essay + Travel

First Person Stories

Lost Words

Feature, 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, Feature, 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, 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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