1) Take a few photos – However…
2) Don’t write from the photos – Write the review as though the person reading it has never and will never see the exhibition (or any talk/screening/performance/discussion that might have come with it.)
3) Context – Try to discuss the context as part of the exhibition/event. Don’t explain your opinions based on the context (as though the artist’s thinking is fact) rather include that in your reviewing of the overall project.
4) General to specific – Explain the general aesthetic and structure of the happenings in a room/piece before honing in on any particulars. If it is a film, describe whether the film is being projected or displayed on a CRT/screen before you go on to describe what is in the film. If you go on to discuss a sculpture or a painting, take time to describe how it looks in the way it’s been installed:
‘Escaping from the inky darkness, the next room is a breath of fresh air. Two videos fill the room: one, a utopian jungle, projected on to a standing screen; the other, a canopy of leaves and wires, suspended above our heads. Music reminiscent of a 2000s relaxation tape floats around the room.
“Welcome to our happy world. Welcome to the network…
… Do you feel refreshed? I feel refreshed.”
The languid voice is the only human element of the video and is both tempting and relaxing, like a hypnotherapist. Pink screens nod and tilt their heads as if listening – another parody of a therapist, illustrating the reassuring falsity of the net. The network wants you to give in to its lull, and the conveniently situated bean bags are almost too much to resist. Plonked down in front of one massive screen while simultaneously relaxing beneath another suggests the seductive (and comfortably addictive) nature of screens.’
5) Comment on the curating – Give an overall description and review, for example, of how well some pieces worked by being placed parallel to another contrasting piece, or how the placement of pieces could have been considered a bit better perhaps.
6) Give your own opinion! – You are the reviewer so we want to hear exactly what you think! Expand on the general and be specific about what you think worked/did not work. However be constructive, not derogatory and back up your praise/criticism by referring back to whichever part of the exhibition is in question.
Link to previous DURA Art reviews if you need some inspiration.