Guide for Writing a Review

This is a guide for writing a performance review, for the Performances Around LA assingment. Writing an Art Critique (the Feldman Method), adapted from Edmund Feldman’s Aesthetic Criticism as set out in Varieties of Visual Experience.

  1. Introduction
    Give an introduction to the facts of the performance. Who? What? When? Where? If a group show, choose one work to critique and identify the artis(s), the title, the medium, and year the work was created.
  2. Description
    Make objective or value-neutral statements about the work in question. Exclude interpretations and evaluations, and instead take an objective inventory of the work. Point out single features such as props/objects, sets, arrangement of space, visual elements, sound, light, actions, audience participation. Then point out abstract elements such as colors, effects, movement, time, energy. Finally point out materials or technologies used to compose this artwork. *A test of objectivity would be that most people would agree with your statement.
  3. Formal analysis
    Make statements about the relations among the things you named in the description (part 2). Take note of continuities (such as the color red repeated throughout the work, energy builds over duration of piece) and of connections between these formal elements and the subject matter. How is space and movement used in this work? How does the performance change over time? Do you see examples of repetition or rhythm? Finally, note the overall qualities of the work.
  4. Interpretation
    Make statements about the meaning(s) of the work. This is the most creative part of your critique. Using a hypothesis, support it with arguments, based on evidence given in the description and formal analysis. (parts 2 and 3)
  5. Judgment
    This is the most complex part of the critique and requires an opinion regarding the worth of an object, based on what was learned in the previous stages of the critique. Evaluate the craftsmanship and technique. Are parts of the work successfully interrelated? Does the work illicit a response or communicate an idea? Are you moved by this work? What do you think of it? What is your aesthetic judgment? And on what is based?
  6. Conclusion
    What does this leave you thinking about? How does it relate to your own gestures and ideas? What are you biggest takeaways?