Art Exhibition Class

Exhibition Planning &
Gallery Management

MODULE 7 > Deconstructionist / Post-Structuralist review & proposal





Listen to the in-class lecture and participate in the class discussion.

Students have to turn in their art review or show proposal each week.

You should be ready to present your finished review or show proposal in class every week.

[  ] Write a 1 page review of an artwork or artworks in town from a deconstrcutivist point of view.
[  ] Make a show proposal poster for your exhibition, about work which not only challenges conventions but which challenges the notion of what art can be, i.e., which challenges the very structures of art and meaning. 



Goal: Try to interpret something which seems to resist clear and easy interpretation. 


  • First, look for an artwork that you don’t understand but that you find compelling.
  • Second, try to identify things about the artwork that are part of a pictorial language or languages that you are familiar with.
  • Third, try to see how the elements of that work defy the conventions of the genre, culture, or period in which the work was produced. 


Writing Tips:

  • Try to identify why something is central to the work and why something else is only supplementary. Try to see if the supplement is actually central to the overall meaning of the work, and if this minor element actually disrupts authorial intention? Explore how a work can be full of meanings that an author might not have intended.
  • Try to identify if there are new combinations of pictorial languages in the work and if those languages are genre specific, or are taken from other genres of art, ultimately deconstructing your expectations about how a work should function as a system of signs? 
  • Try to identify if the work disrupts a set of conventions or visual tropes and if so, is this disuption a deconstructive act, i.e., does it force us to say that a work can mean more than one thing at the same time, a mean both/and interpretation rather than just a work means either/or, this or that meaning?


Hint: if you find writing a post-structuralist art review challenging than just start with talking about how color, texture, form and composition are used to create meaning and focus attention. Then move to how there are motivations in the work that might run counter to what the artist intended or even what the image seems to be saying. The whole time, work to considered how something in a work of art acts as a sliding signifier, moving between one, two, three or far more possible meanings. Do not try to define what the work means, but focus on the many different ways a single work could be interpretated and how the work is able to convey many meanings simultaneously. Try to note what conditions or hidden presuppositions even allow us to say that a work or works of art have a certain set of meanings to begin with.

Art Review: 3-5 paragraphs, 1.5 type, 3-5 pictures when possible.



















Optional Reading (Art 560):

[  ] The Methodologies of Art: An Introduction. By Laurie Schneider Adams. Chapter 8: Deconstruction

[  ] Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. Chapter 3: Post-Structuralism and deconstruction




On-line Resources

Deconstruction wiki

Tate: Deconstruction

Deconstruction and the Visual Arts

Jacques Derrida and Deconstruction: Art History Unstuffed




Deconstruction Video Resources

Derrida on Deconstruction

The Deconstruction of Art as Institution

Deconstruction Theory

Fast Sketch Deconstruction




Deconstruction as Method

This method of art writing is usually used to analyze experimental or exploratory works that challenge a history of interpretation, signification and the idea of stable structures of meaning. 

Example of a Post-Structuralist / Deconstructive art review:





What is Art Video Resources

What is Art?

What is Art for?

What is Art - Created by Phil Hansen

What is Art, and What is Not?

What is Art for?

Leon Botstein asks "Want is Art?"

Transforming Everyday Objects | Modenr Art & Ideas




CLASS DISCUSSION - Can anything be considered art? 

Examples of people who have made work that challenges the very structures that allow us to identify art as art.


Art Buzz - Top 5 Controversial Paintings (video)








These Associations: Tino Sehgal, Centro Cultural Banco de Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, 255,427




The Times Newsroom: the Archive Uncovered, Saatchi Gallery, London, 289,848

This website is created and hosted by's Site Builder.