NYC Crit Club
In one Sentence:
NYC Crit Club hosts weekly and monthly grad-school-style group critique classes every semester and independent studies for emerging artists.
Who is NY Crit Club?
Hilary Doyle: Founder, Executive director, Instructor - (also artist and curator at HR Curating)
Catherine Haggarty: Director, Instructor - (also artist, curator, writer and director of Ortega y Gasset gallery)
Claudia Bitran: Instructor - (also artist and teacher at RISD)
Other people’s Words:
What I like about this program:
Though I have not participated directly in this program, I have had the opportunity to see the fantastic programming that is included. From weekly artist crit groups, to talks with gallery owners, curators and professional artists, there is a real opportunity to find your community and learn the practicalities of being an artist. Also, each week their is “homework” where each artist refines and organizes their strategy for applying, getting their work out their and how they talk about their art. Hilary and Catherine go out of their way to create a program that immerses each artist in the entirety of the arts in New York city. This is not a stay at home and work at your leisure program. It is for people who are motivated and invested in getting their work shown in New York. It is also run by two people who are actively engaged in the NY art scene.
From $25/class to $200/independent study.
Asked & Answered:
1. What in particular made you decide to create your space for artists? Is there a specific story or incident that propelled you in this direction?
I started NYC Crit Club because I noticed my past students from Brown University, RISD, and Purchase college making a real effort after graduation to meet people at art openings which we all know is important but pretty hard to do and sometimes they would email me for feedback too. I just wanted to help them in a real way since I think they are great artists. I remember what that was like moving to NYC alone, showing art in basements of bars looking for community off craigslist and at art openings, and wanted to help my past students and other artists who need more community to join together and grow.
My partner in running NYC Crit Club with me since early on, Catherine Haggarty is a propelling force too. She really helped the program grow with me from one group of 20 to over 90 artists in under 3 years! I am so thankful to have her help to run the program with me and bounce ideas off of as our program grows!
2. What do you hope to achieve with your space and programming? What in your mind makes your space unique, special?
NYC Crit Club is unique in that it is like a post bac or low res MFA but much much more affordable. You meet artists and look at each others work. We visit a new art studio each week which is kind of a fun adventure into a new artists world. Usually artists get one 2 year chance at an MFA for feedback and community and it’s over. To get community feedback and RISD and SVA teachers looking at your work you do not have to uproot your life and you do not need expensive loans to take the classes. We also offer work study so all artists can join us!
3. What is your vision for the future of your space and the art world in general?
I hope NYC Crit Club can become what Black Mountain College was for the artists of the past but here in NY or for isp’s online across the city. I think the focus should be on talking about what the art does intellectually, what conversation does the work start in a group of people who love art rather than about how much it’s worth or if it matches someones decor.
4. How do you see the art world today? Please explain.
There is no one recipe and every artist has a different unique path and story. I see the art world as having many sides and facets but it is actually very small and somewhat exclusive - On the artist side of the art world there are limited number of artists who really can put the time, thought and advice into their practice to develop it. If the commitment is there this can eventually connect with the gallery collector side of the art world. Many of these people eventually meet one another if effort is made on multiple fronts in a positive way - Examples: It’s important to make a ton of work all the time, Work to apply to things, get advice in studio visits, MFA’s or clubs, support other artists by curating teaching, writing about the work of others and more. The collector gallerist world is connected in many ways too and has some of the same requirements but I think artists should think more about how to make the best work they can and how they can help others and create their own platforms for looking at and talking about art in new and creative ways too!
5. What do you look for when choosing artists for your program?
When choosing artists for our program we look for seriousness in the artists CV and quality of work. Is the work generous in what it is about? For artists who reapply we ask did this improve from last year? We hope artists put their best work prominently on their website which is how we judge work.
6. What are the three most important things artists should do for their career?
Find a way to make work 30-40 hours a week or more- Focus on your work and what it means.
Help and support other artists: Curate shows, go to other peoples art openings, support others on instagram etc
Get the work and you out there in many ways: Update your IG with art, Go to art openings of spaces you love, join NYC Crit Club or other groups like it, apply to residencies, take risks!
7. What are three things artists should definitely not do?
Do not get bitter or negative about the art world -
Do not troll instagram too much or get jealous or critical of others on it- Be happy for other artists success - especially for friends!
Do not make excuses!
8. What does your day to day look like? How do you organize this space / project to keep it manageable?
I generally try to go to my studio in the morning and work on crit club admin the afternoon or late at night- There are certain days when this is hard like when I update the website and everything for applications or have a teaching day but I try to find balance by drawing on those days. I typically schedule emails to go out the next day.
NYC Crit Club just started enrolling for new fall classes!
If you are outside of NYC or short on time we offer Independent study classes via facetime too!
Go to http://nyccritclub.com/ for info!
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