How to Write an Art Exhibition Paper

Art exhibitions are the ultimate display for one artist or a collective group's creative work. Art students at all levels often visit these shows, as a way of viewing art first hand. They are typically assigned by their educators to collect their thoughts in the form of a paper. The paper contains the original point of view and perspectives that the student takes on the piece, woven in with knowledge of artistic eras and techniques learned in class. An art exhibition paper can be written by following a basic format.

Introduce the Exhibit

Write an introductory paragraph. Begin with the title of the art exhibition and explain which artists the exhibition featured, and where it is located. Discuss the artists or group's history, including background, previous work and training information. Mention if any of the artists were present to discuss their pieces. Briefly reference the media and styles used. Note anything special or unusual about the particular exhibit you are describing, such as it being a showcase of installation artists. Your opening can be anywhere from four to eight sentences long.

Describe Featured Works

Write a paragraph about the specific work that is featured. Describe form, materials, shapes, textures and emotive effect on viewers. Comment on individual pieces, discussing those that stood out to you, specifying their positive and negative elements. Compare the pieces to previous work done by the artist or group, and comment on the techniques that appear to have been used. State any eras or other artists that the pieces are reminiscent of or perhaps influenced by. Recap discussions you had with any artists present and include artists' statements. Also share your own reactions and impressions. Note any documentation or brochures present at the exhibit.

Mention the Venue

Write a paragraph describing the gallery or studio that housed the exhibition. Explain how the space worked to enhance or detract from the work of the featured artists. Talk about what you feel was done well in terms of the display and set up, and what could have been done differently such as lower or brighter lighting.

Share Overall Impressions

Write a concluding paragraph. Discuss what you find to be the overall feeling of the exhibition. State whether or not you liked it as a whole, and finish off with some insight as to what the impact of the show and the artist's work will be on the art world. You may even choose to include a quote in this section that you feel sums up the exhibition's feeling and/or content. Cite any references that you used for quotations or information in the manner required by your class or school.