Whether it is a wall text in a museum exhibition, a scientific report in art-dealing, an artist’s presentation on his or her website or a scientific publication in professional literature—the text types that art historians are confronted with in their professional practice are manifold. Fact is: one of the most important sources for the art discourse of tomorrow is art critique of today. Written expression and formulating are the most important tools of the art historian. But what defines good art critique? Which requirements qualify art historians to become critics of contemporary art production? How to form an opinion? How to balance between mediation, reappraisal, and critique? And how do you compose a piece of text that reaches further than professional circles, but represents a serious contribution among artists? In the frame of the exhibition “Grand Hotel Abyss,” Paula Watzl, editor at the art magazine PARNASS, will provide insight into the multifaceted field of action that is art critique—both in print and the digital media. After a theoretical introduction, we will together develop our own reviews.
Paula Watzl (*1991 Graz, lives in Vienna) is an art historian, editor and freelance writer. She wrote her Master’s thesis on the current state of art critique in 2015 at the University of Graz with Prof. Dr. Sabine Flach. After numerous internships in institutional and commercial art institutions as well as journalistic commitments with local media, she worked at the marketing and press office at the auction house Dorotheum. In 2017 she transferred as an assistant editor and later as editor to PARNASS, the art magazine. As freelance author Watzl has published numerous texts in catalogues and art publications as well as magazines, such as Camera Austria, BÜHNE, as well as regularly in Schaufenster and the art magazine of the daily newspaper Die Presse. In 2018 she was awarded the prize for young art critique, section Austria, of the Association Internationale des Critiques d'Art (AICA).