How do I attract professional critics and curators to my exhibition?

There is no set way of attracting curators, critics or other art professionals to shows. For most artists getting a review is a result of building and nurturing relationships with art professionals over a long period. This can be summed up as networking – doing your research, finding out names of the professionals you wish to target, introducing yourself to them (in person or via email) and nurturing these relationships. Keep them informed of all your art activities, suggest that they drop by your studio, personally invite them to your shows and then invite them to write a review.

Of course, this rarely yields immediate results but the important thing is to make sure you are on their radar – that they know your name, a little bit about your work, and when you are showing. There are only a small number of writers and critic in Ireland but there are hundreds of shows around the country each week. Critics cannot possibly see everything so it really is up to you the artist to ensure that writers and critics are at least aware of what you are up to.

It is advisable to learn the art of writing press releases (if you are not represented by a gallery who will do this for you). The information you provide in the press release should be factual and clear, and have some sort of edge that will attract critics and press to the show.

When you have researched your lists of contacts, each should be sent a press release and a personal invite to the show. Tell them a little bit about it within the body of the email and invite them to meet you there for a glass of wine. You can follow this up with a phone call to remind them. It does not work most of the time but through persistence and dedication you should be lucky sometimes.

To develop a good contact list you should research all the major art publications, writers, press officers, gallerists, journalists etc in the country and get their personal contact details.

A good place to start is the Who’s Who in The Manual.

Here you will find contact details for all the galleries, arts organisations, media and promotional tools and also a list of Irish and International art publications.

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