Logo UAB

Art Criticism

Code: 100558 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500239 Art History OB 3 2
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


David Gutierrez Torres

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
spanish (spa)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


There are no prerequisites beyond the usual third-grade degree.


Objectives and Contextualisation

The aim of the subject is to develope the knowledge, analysis and use of conceptual and methodological tools that allow the student to produce critical content in different areas of art.

The subject is structured in three aspects:

  • From a diachronic point of view, there will be a tour of the main lines that have shaped the critical practice since the Second World War
  • From a synchronic point of view, it will reflect on the current role of art criticism, rather, on the roles of criticism, basically in its extension towards curating as a configurator of content in art
  • And, in a practical sense, the practice of art criticism will be worked on, both from writing and from curating and debate as a basic critical tool.

The subject is configured in strong correlation with the artistic practice and with the artistic manifestations in course. It will encourage critical analysis of the current status of art and the ability to make proposals. In this sense, the subject proposes a work seminar in which to articulate theory and practice.

  1. Know the main lines of art criticism
  2. Become familiar with tools of analysis and opinion
  3. Work on writing and critical argumentation skills
  4. Learn to develop projects in the diferents issues of the critic
  5. Develop concepts related to curating as an extension of art criticism
  6. Apply the ability to relate concepts and works and diverse cultural productionsto each other.
  7. Become aware of the relationship between current and critical activity



  • Applying the mastery of the basic critical and methodological tools in order to understand and narrate Art History and reflect on the profession of art historian.
  • Applying the specific scientific methodologies of the discipline of Art History.
  • Demonstrating they know the history of the artistic ideas and the main theoretical currents that inspired the reflection about art, cinema, its creators and its audience through history.
  • Developing critical thinking and reasoning and communicating them effectively both in your own and other languages.
  • Expressing specific knowledge about the origin, evolution and various fields of study of Art History, as well as the classic and actual subjects, vocabulary and debates of the discipline.
  • Producing innovative and competitive proposals in research and professional activity.
  • Recognising the fundamental problems, vocabulary and concepts of the Theory of Art and Cinema.
  • Respecting the diversity and plurality of ideas, people and situations.
  • Students must be capable of applying their knowledge to their work or vocation in a professional way and they should have building arguments and problem resolution skills within their area of study.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analysing classical and current debates of the History of Art.
  2. Analysing ideas about an artistic phenomenon in a given cultural context.
  3. Analysing ideas about an artistic phenomenon, and its creators and recipients in a given cultural context.
  4. Analysing the creators of an artistic phenomenon in a specific cultural context.
  5. Analysing the recipients of an artistic phenomenon in a specific cultural context.
  6. Applying the iconographic knowledge to the reading of artistic imagery.
  7. Applying the knowledge about aesthetic ideas and Art Theory to the analysis of the artistic imagery.
  8. Critically analysing basic concepts of artistic and cinematographic theory and its evolution through history.
  9. Demonstrating the knowledge of scientific methodology, sources and Art Theory in the reading, criticism and formal, iconographic and symbolic interpretation of any artistic or cinematographic imagery.
  10. Differentiating artistic theories about an artistic phenomenon, its creators and recipients in a given cultural context.
  11. Efficiently presenting knowledge in oral and written form.
  12. Encouraging creativity and fomenting innovative ideas.
  13. Engaging in debates about historical facts respecting the other participants' opinions.
  14. Identifying the main and secondary ideas and expressing them with linguistic correctness.
  15. Interpreting the fundamental concepts of Theory of Art with a critical eye.
  16. Summarising acquired knowledge about the origin and transformations experienced by the general Theory of Art and the various fields of study of the discipline.
  17. Using the knowledge of general Art Theory in the criticism of the artistic imagery.
  18. Working in teams, respecting the other's points of view and designing collaboration strategies.


Introduction to art criticism from the configuration of the art system: art and city; Baudelaire; Walter Benjamin
The American critical tradition from Clement Greenberg; the criticism to formalism; the question of gender and queer theory, from Guerrilla Girls, Douglas Crimp, activism against AIDS and gender studies.
Criticism as a critical state: the questioning of its effectiveness; the possible meteorological inespecifity; the disappearance of critical space.
Tasks of criticism: curating as an extension of art criticism.
Criticism of art as a rapporteur: the consideration of criticism as a literary form of non-fiction; the definition of an author who speaks for others; the criticism of imagination and originality
Subjectivity vs. trans subject: the trans space of criticism and curating and the configuration of a contemporary subject.


Autonomous activities are basically formed by reading and working on the evaluable texts as well as visits to exhibitions.
The directed activities consist of master classes with a high incentive to participation from the visits to recommended museums and artistic centers in the attempt that the discursive practice accompanies a critical praxis and analysis.
The supervised activities are formed by the contributions to the seminars, the contributions in the written tests and the public presentation of the projects of the students


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Master classes (curating introduction) 25 1
Master classes (history of criticism, space of criticism, the story-teller and the Trans subject) 25 1 6
Type: Supervised      
Critical reading 20 0.8 6
Public presentation of a critical reading project about artistic practices 20 0.8 6
Seminar: the state of criticism; the description and the critical attitude based on the observation. 25 1 6
Type: Autonomous      
Critical reading and writing 20 0.8 6
Exhibitions visiting 15 0.6 6


The evaluation takes into account the contribution of the student in the dynamics of discussion of the subject and its contributions. It also proposes several exercises in continuous evaluation that lead to the preparation of an art critic writing.

The student's grade will be "not evaluable" when he has not been submitted to all the tests either on the indicated calendar day or on the day of the reevaluation. Even so, to be eligible for reevaluation, you must have submitted a minimum of one of the two required papers and the final essay. In no case must the grade be less than 3.5

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Paper on analysis and positioning 20 0 0 8, 2, 6, 7, 9, 12, 14, 15, 13, 11, 17
Paper on observation, recognition and description 20 0 0 5, 6, 10, 14, 11
Participation in the elaboration criticism map 20 0 0 4, 1, 5, 2, 3, 7, 15, 13, 16, 18, 17
Writing of a critical essay on a current artistic manifestation 40 0 0 8, 4, 1, 5, 2, 3, 7, 10, 12, 15, 13, 11, 16, 17


BALZER, David, Curationism. How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else, Toronto, Coach House Books, 2014
BASSAS, Xavier, Genealogías curatoriales, Casimiro Libros, 2016
BENJAMIN, Walter, El autor como productor, Madrid, Taurus 1975
BOURDIEU, Pierre. Las reglas del arte. Génesis y estructura del campo literario, Barcelona, Anagrama, 2002
BOURRIAUD, Nicolas. Post producción. Buenos Aires: Adriana Hidalgo, 2004
CRIMP, D. Posiciones críticas. Akal: Madrid, 2005.
DANTO, A. Después del fin del arte. El arte contemporáneo y el linde de la historia. Paidós: Barcelona, 1999
DE DUVE, T. Clement Greenberg entre líneas. Acto ediciones, 2005.
FERNÁNDEZ PORTA, Eloy. Homo Sampler. Tiempo y consumo en la Era Afterpop, Barcelona, Anagrama, 2008
FRIED, M. Arte y objetualidad. La balsa de la medusa: Madrid, 2004.
GLICENSTEIN, Jérôme, L'invention du curateur, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 2015
GREENBERG, C. La pintura moderna y otros ensayos. Siruela: Madrid, 2006
GOLDSMITH, Kenneth. Escritura no-creativa: gestionando el lenguaje en la era digital, La caja negra, 2015
GUASCH, Anna. El arte del siglo XX en sus exposiciones: 1945‐1995, Barcelona, Ediciones del Serbal, 1997
GUASCH, A.Mª. La crítica dialogada. Cendeac: Murcia, 2006
MANEN, Martí, Salir de la exposición (si es que alguna vez habíamos entrado), Bilbao, Consonni, 2012 ULRICH
MILLET, C. Le critique d'art s'expose. Editions Jacqueline Chambon: París, 1993
NICKAS, Robert. Live Free or Die, París, Les presses du réel, 2000
OBRIST, Hans. Breve historia del comisariado, Exit, 2010.