4. WIDENING YOUR SCOPE

Go to talks or listen online

Gallery websites list talks, gallery tours and other events. Many are free. Galleries often also livestream talks via Facebook. For instance, even if you don’t live in London (where there is a tremendous concentration of art and art galleries) you could consult artmap.london, another great resource, to find a list of upcoming talks and other events taking place in the capital. Many of these you could attend virtually if not in person.

Bookmark and read blogs and other relevant sites

One of my favourites is We-make-money-not-art. You could also consults artists’ web-pages and look out for forthcoming exhibitions. Bookmark the galleries that particularly interest you and keep an eye on their programmes.

Find relevant scholarly essays, articles and books

You can try the Open Content section of Jstor for open source access to thousands of articles. Use the names of artists or the titles of exhibitions or works of art (as well as other key words) as search terms. Instead of purchasing expensive books, try school, college or local libraries in the first instance; librarians can help you track down useful material. Reading one or two essays slowly and thoughtfully is often more helpful in the long term than skimming through lots of them: again, less is often more. Look out for contrasting points of view as well as points of agreement.

Periodically review your own notes

Are any particular themes or areas of interest coming to the fore that you may wish to pursue further? Notice which images and ideas seem to be becoming part of your own personal archive (or what the French art critic André Malraux would have called your ‘museum of the mind’ or ‘museum without walls’).

Consider curating and sharing some of your ideas and observations

You could write your own reviews. These are often organized around a change in perception or the discovery of a surprising fact and usually include a mix of (1) description of the exhibits, often with one or two works selected for a more in-depth consideration, (2) background, contextual and explanatory information and (3) your interpretations and evaluations; perhaps an expression of what you learned or what surprised you. For examples of reviews see a.n (the artists’ information company). Alternatively, your notes and observations might become the basis for various forms of creative writing and art-work.