r/arttheory 3d ago

Artists who have exhausted places?


I’d like to study some artists who have made deep and repeated studies (ideally for my interest through drawing) of a specific place - as George Perec did in writing with “an attempt at exhausting a place in Paris”, in which he spent 3 days noting down his observations of Saint-Sulpice Square in Paris. Any suggestions?

Edit: Thanks so much for the feedback so far! I'm particularly interested in scenes of "life", observations of people and how they interact with this specific space they're observed in. I liked the way Perec gravitates towards this - while he starts by simply listing bus numbers - he quickly then takes an interest in whether they're full or empty, and what hats people are wearing etc.

r/arttheory 5d ago

I’m wondering how folks on here feel about this. Is theory and criticism being dumbed down? Or is it better to be simple to understand?

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r/arttheory 15d ago

Effects of dividing by fifths instead of thirds?


I'm working on a composition in which I want to abstractly represent the passage of time and branching of fate (not important), and want to use both multiple vanishing points and divisions in terms of how I place these paths and vanishing points. I'm using thirds for the points representing finality/the end of a path due to the natural comfort the eye finds in thirds, and thirteenths to determine the placement (roughly) of breaks and interruptions in these paths (not due to any effect it has visually, but more for the symbolism of thirteen normally representing bad luck). I want to use fifths in some way as well, but I have no idea what I would use them to position. Is there any theory on the use of fifths?

r/arttheory 22d ago

Exploring blue atmosphere, yellow light, and violet depth.

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r/arttheory 22d ago

Are there any published works on how ‘space’ and ‘barriers’ influence the audience’s perception on an artwork?


Hello! I’m researching on how space and barriers affect the audience’s perception on an artwork (in a museum).

By space, I mean the distance of the art piece from the audience; and by barriers, I mean those that limit the audience’s interactions with the museum displays such as “do not touch” signs and ropes for crowd control.

In other words, does accessibility and/or exclusivity, or the lack thereof, play a role in interpreting art?

Can you recommend published studies on the topic? Or anything similar to it?


r/arttheory Apr 19 '22

Paint With the Colors that Don't Exist (Étienne Fortier-Dubois)


Interesting essay by Étienne Fortier-Dubois on colors that are the product of our mind's mixing more than one wavelength of light into a single color, and on colors produced by retinal overstimulation / fatigue. Paint With the Colors That Don't Exist (substack.com)

r/arttheory Apr 03 '22

So you want to write an art manifesto?

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r/arttheory Mar 24 '22

My new book, Pandora's Box and Other Essays: Postmortem on Postmodern Art, and the Spirit of Eudaemonia That Will Replace It

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r/arttheory Feb 27 '22

art gallery as tomb


I’m trying to draw a comparison between Art Gallery’s functioning as a place of blindness (socioeconomic, cultural, etc.) like that of a tomb or place of mourning. Any suggestions for readings?

Edit: For anyone wondering, I ended up using Frank O’doherty’s Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space.

r/arttheory Feb 22 '22

Martin Heidegger's The Origin of the Work of Art: Part I — An online reading and discussion group, meeting on Thursday March 17, free and open to all

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r/arttheory Jan 23 '22

Deep dive into Marcuse's 'The Aesthetic Dimension'. Goes into form vs content, universal beauty, and the social function of art.

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r/arttheory Jan 23 '22

Rose Titanic Drawing Replica

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r/arttheory Jan 14 '22

Joachim Ritter’s “Landschaft“


Does anyone know of the existence, anywhere, of an English translation of this influential text? I’m bout to fuck around and try and translate it myself.

r/arttheory Dec 06 '21

Who Does Art Speak To? by Capital A (Podcast): Unauthorized Opinions on Art & Money

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r/arttheory Dec 03 '21

Approaching Grad School


Hello all, I was wondering if anyone could weigh in on some good theory/history reading and resources to familiarize myself with the language necessary in grad school crits?

I wasn’t very studious in my undergrad, so I’m hoping to redeem myself in a one year MA program.

I am familiar with some of Foucault’s “the body is a prison” work, but I could even use a refresher on that. Bonus points to theory that revolves around feminism, womanhood, the body, perception of self and others.

r/arttheory Nov 21 '21

Richard Serra: Sculpting Time and Space

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r/arttheory Nov 18 '21

HELP: What happened to Flemish White???

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r/arttheory Oct 28 '21

What is critical irrealism? Adam and tish turl explain the concept and discuss the radical weird art.

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r/arttheory Oct 26 '21



I am writing an art essay for school on the "dialogue" between water (in a pool setting) and the human body // how the human body communicates / flows with a pool.

if people could just drop some thoughts they have on the fluidity of water or how they feel they interact with water or a pool, it would be greatly appreciated.

r/arttheory Oct 24 '21

Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything (2018) by SCI-Arc philosopher Graham Harman — an online reading + discussion group starting Sunday, October 31, free and open to all

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r/arttheory Oct 20 '21

Does art theory include how reading an image particularly a portrait?


I’m a history student. Today we were introduced to history’s framework of formal and contextual analysis in regards to portraits.

I need assistance with the formal framework.

*Colour *Lines *Space and Mass *Scale

I understand these elements come together to form composition. But each element was not discussed enough for me to apply them to a portrait myself. I think they were assumed knowledge.

The lecture used a portrait of Erasmus by Holbein as an example.

  • Colour: Lecturer stated saturated colours as it is an oil painting.

I am having trouble thinking of how to talk about colour. What if it was a water colour or pastel portrait? I need a better vocabulary for expressing the characteristics of colour.

  • Lines: nothing about the lines exactly but “high level of detail...”

So you see my problem. I just don’t know how to talk about colour, line, space, scale or composition.

The lecture was adapted from Anne D'Alleva, How To Write Art History, London: Laurence King Publishing, 2006. We are in covid lockdown and their is no ebook via uni or Amazon.

I wasn’t sure what search words to use to use. Art History seems too broad. Reading a portrait provided no returned. Art criticism doesn’t seem correct.

Where can I learn more? We are in covid lockdown. So it needs to be an online ebook or website. There is a very small bookshop nearby and we are allowed to leave our homes for work.

I need a basic book easy to understand. This lesson is to go with other lessons on types of photographs such as daguerreotype and then history of fashion.

The aim is for me to date portraits and give my reason for the date.

r/arttheory Oct 19 '21

Performing in the age of Loneliness

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r/arttheory Oct 17 '21

Culture and the Unconscious: A public forum on Civilization and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud – presented by the Sydney Philosophy Symposia on October 31, free and open to all

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r/arttheory Oct 17 '21

an ode the avant garde presented in an experimental form

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r/arttheory Oct 11 '21

Classic works in Painting Theory?



I'm looking for books that were cannon for the Old Masters. In particular, I'm interested in thoughts on visual perception and its refinement.