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In the Shadow SMJ 2021

The Importance of Art Critics in the Contemporary Art Scene

In the dynamic and ever-evolving art world, art critics play a crucial role in shaping opinions, influencing trends, and providing valuable insights into the artistic process. Today’s recognized art critics have gained their titles through expertise, experience, and a keen eye for interpreting and analyzing artwork. Their influence extends beyond academia, as they also impact the art market and can help artists gain recognition. This article explores the significance of art critics in today’s art world, showcases some influential critics, and provides insights into how to be noticed by them.

The Importance of Art Critics:

Art critics act as mediators between the artist and the audience. They provide a framework for understanding and appreciating art, offering valuable perspectives and context. Through their critiques and reviews, art critics help shape public opinion, guide collectors and curators, and contribute to contemporary art discourse. They play a vital role in evaluating the quality and significance of artworks, challenging established norms, and promoting new artistic movements.

Recognized Art Critics:

Several art critics have established themselves as influential voices within the art community. Their expertise and contributions have earned them respect and recognition in the field. Some recognized art critics include:

Jerry Saltz: Saltz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic known for his insightful essays and criticism in significant publications such as New York Magazine. His bold opinions and ability to contextualize art have made him a prominent figure in the art world.

(Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)

Roberta Smith: As co-chief art critic for The New York Times, Smith has built a reputation for her thoughtful reviews and extensive knowledge of contemporary art. Her writing provides a balanced perspective that resonates with seasoned art enthusiasts and newcomers.

Roberta Smith

Hilarie M. Sheets: Sheets is a contributing editor at ARTnews and has written extensively on contemporary art. Her focus on emerging artists and ability to analyze their work in a broader cultural context has earned her credibility in art.

art critics
Hilarie M. Sheets is a New York-based journalist and critic focused on visual art and culture.

Influencing the Art Markets:

Art critics can influence the art market through their reviews and endorsements. Positive criticism from a respected critic can increase an artist’s visibility, attract collectors, and potentially raise the value of their work. Conversely, negative critiques may discourage buyers and impact an artist’s marketability. Galleries and art dealers often consider the opinions of art critics when deciding which artists to represent and promote.

Being Noticed by Art Critics:

To be noticed by art critics, artists should focus on creating exceptional, innovative work that stands out. Developing a unique artistic voice and a clear vision is essential. Participating in exhibitions, art fairs, and biennials can increase exposure and attract the attention of critics. Building relationships with curators, gallery owners, and other artists can also create opportunities for exposure and potential reviews. Artists should actively engage in social media platforms and maintain a professional online presence to reach a wider audience, including art critics.

Art critics are pivotal in shaping the art world, offering critical analysis, and fostering dialogue. Their expertise and influence extend beyond academic circles, impacting the art market and the artists they critique. Recognized art critics such as Jerry Saltz, Roberta Smith, and Hilarie M. Sheets contribute to the development of contemporary art movements and help artists gain recognition.

To catch the attention of art critics, artists must develop their unique artistic voice, actively seek exposure, and engage with the art community. The relationship between artists and critics is symbiotic, as both contribute to the vibrant and ever-evolving art world.

To strategically attract the attention of art critics and increase your chances of receiving positive reviews, there are a few key steps artists can take:

1. Create exceptional and innovative work: Focus on producing artwork that stands out from the crowd and showcases your unique artistic voice. Experiment with different mediums, techniques, and subject matters to create captivating and intriguing work.

2. Develop a solid online presence: Maintain an active and professional presence on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Share your artwork regularly, engage with other artists and enthusiasts, and use relevant hashtags to expand your reach.

3. Participate in exhibitions, art fairs, and biennials: Seek opportunities to showcase your work in local and international art events. Participation in these events exposes your artwork to a broader audience and increases the likelihood of catching the attention of art critics who may be attending.

4. Build relationships within the art community: Connect with curators, gallery owners, and other artists who can introduce you to art critics or recommend your work for review. Attend art openings, networking events, and artist talks to establish meaningful connections within the industry.

5. Submit your work for review: Research prominent art publications and websites that feature artist reviews or critiques. Submit your portfolio or specific artworks for consideration, ensuring that you follow their submission guidelines to increase the likelihood of being reviewed.

6. Stay informed and engaged: Keep up-to-date with the latest happenings in the art world. Follow art critics on social media, read their articles, and attend lectures or panel discussions. Engage in thoughtful conversations by commenting on their posts or sharing your insights. Remember, attracting the attention of art critics is not solely about receiving positive reviews. Constructive criticism can also be valuable in the growth and development of your artistic practice. Embrace feedback, learn from it, and continue pushing the boundaries of your art to elevate your work further.

Social media platforms can empower artists to showcase their artwork and engage with the art community. Here are some tips on how artists can effectively leverage social media:

1. Choose the right platforms: Identify which social media platforms align with your target audience and artistic style. Popular platforms for artists include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Selecting the right platforms will help maximize your reach and engagement.

2. Create a consistent and compelling brand presence: Develop a cohesive and visually appealing aesthetic for your social media profiles. Use high-quality images or videos of your artwork that accurately represent your style and technique. Be consistent in posting frequency, and maintain a professional tone in your captions and interactions.

3. Engage with followers and the art community: Respond promptly to comments and messages on your posts. Show appreciation for positive feedback and engage in meaningful conversations with your followers. Follow and interact with other artists, art organizations, galleries, and influencers within the art community to expand your network and gain exposure.

4. Share your artistic process: Take your audience behind the scenes by sharing progress shots, studio sneak peeks, or time-lapse videos of your artwork. This gives your followers a glimpse into your creative process and can build authenticity and interest in your work.

5. Utilize hashtags and relevant communities: Research and use popular art-related hashtags to increase the discoverability of your posts. Participate in online art communities or groups where artists share their work, offer feedback, or collaborate. These channels can help you connect with like-minded individuals, gain visibility, and gather valuable insights.

6. Collaborate with influencers or brands: Seek opportunities to collaborate with social media influencers with a large art community following. Partnering with them for features, giveaways, or joint projects can expose your artwork to a broader audience. Additionally, consider partnering with relevant brands for sponsored content or creative collaborations that align with your artistic vision. Remember, social media is not just a platform for self-promotion. It’s important to genuinely engage with and support other artists in the community. By fostering meaningful connections and contributing to the art community, you can make the most of your social media presence and expand your artistic reach.


The art market is indeed a business; like any business, success often relies on the perceptions and opinions of key individuals. In the art world, art critics are one group that holds significant influence. These individuals are often seen as the gatekeepers who have the power to elevate an artist’s career or break it.

Art critics play a crucial role in shaping the perception and value of artwork. Their reviews, critiques, and recommendations can significantly impact an artist’s reputation and success.

However, it’s important to note that the influence of art critics has evolved in recent years. With the rise of social media and digital platforms, artists have more opportunities to showcase their work directly to a global audience. They can build their brand, engage with their supporters, and receive feedback without solely relying on traditional gatekeepers.

While the opinions of art critics still hold weight, artists now have the power to connect with their audience directly and build their following. Through social media platforms, artists can share their work, receive feedback, and even sell their pieces without solely relying on the validation of art critics.

The art market is a complex ecosystem where various factors, including art critics, play a role in an artist’s success. Still, ultimately, the quality of the artwork and the connection with the audience genuinely determine an artist’s long-term career.

Sibel Meydan Johnson

Born in Turkey, Sibel Meydan Johnson lived and studied in Mons Belgium most of her life. She graduated with honors with a major in Liberal Arts. In 1990 Sibel left her hometown for New York City. She worked for several years as a production assistant for " En Plein Air Masters" one of the first online plein air artists mentor programs then as director of production for Brush With Life TV’s series on visual art. Today Sibel is an autodidact painter, Freelance writer specializing in art and the business of art. Mother and wife, she is a full-time artist. Sibel's art captures and brings forth the hidden emotion of his subjects and evoke a sense of curiosity and introspection pushing the boundaries of creativity and expression, her work often combines elements of abstraction and realism, creating a unique and captivating visual experience that sometimes disturb the viewers.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Pilou

    Great and insightful article thank you.

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