Project Lead: William Rees

Number of participants: 8

Duration: 3 days

Project Outline:

Press releases can be a mixed bag. International Art English has seeped its way into every nook and cranny of the art world’s lexicon. Terms like spatiality, the void and experiencability have lost all meaning – that is, if they ever had one in the first place. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with this way of writing, but it’s not the only way to write for exhibitions. I say write for, rather than about – this is not about critical writing, but rather thinking about how writing can help viewers to better understand – or access – the exhibition they are seeing.

This week long exercise will think about alternative forms of supporting material for exhibitions. I’m by no means an expert in this field, and you needn’t be either. This is for anyone interested in writing for exhibitions, whether they be your own or someone else’s.

First, we’ll look think about the implications of International Art English and try out BANK’s Fax-Back method. BANK were an artist collective who, as part of their practice, critiqued press releases, marking them out of ten and faxing (it was the 90s) back to the galleries. We’ll try this out for ourselves – visiting an exhibition together, marking its PR and sending it back to the gallery (if we’ve got the balls).

Next, we’ll think about other approaches to writing for exhibitions. We’ll look at some examples together – from poetry and autobiographical writing, to visual essays and audio guides – and think any other forms of writing could be used to accompany exhibitions. We’ll also speak to a writer and curator (TBC) to find out more about different modes of writing, and the difference between writing for and about exhibitions.

Then, we’ll spend a day visiting galleries together, in either Central or East London. Each person (unless people want to group up) will pick one of these exhibitions and write a new “press release” for it. We’ll have a writer come in and give us some guidance during the writing stage.

Last, we’ll present our collective writings in two forms: a tour and a zine. During the tour – which is open for writers and anyone else to join – we’ll visit the exhibitions written about with our new texts. A zine of the collected writings will then be launched that evening, with a chance to have a drink and unwind.


Day 1: Monday 4th November:
AM: Introductions, to each other and the BANK Fax-Back method
PM: Fax-Back workshop, including a gallery visit

Day 2: Tuesday 5th November:
AM: Feedback on yesterday, and looking at other approaches
PM: Talk with (writer/curator)

Day 3: Wednesday 6th November:
AM/PM: Gallery visits and individual

Day 4: Thursday 7th November:
AM/PM: Writing time, including crits

Day 5: Friday 8th November:
AM: Install show together
PM: Tour of the shows with our texts
Eve: Zine-show launch