“International Art English prescribes not only that you open with a dependent clause, but that you follow it up with as many more as possible, embedding the action deep within the sentence, effecting an uncanny stillness. Better yet: both an uncanny stillness and a deadening balance.” – Alix Rule & David Levine
MONA calls it Art Wank; John Berger named it “mystification”. What is this mysterious language that people start using the moment talk turns to art? Are they possessed by adverbial spirits? Have they got a grudge against finite verbs? Why does everything happen in both ‘spatial’ and ‘non-spatial’ ‘space’?
In this 30-minute presentation, local grammar nerds Penny Modra and Meredith Forrester of The Good Copy will take a look under the bonnet of art writing and report back.
Penny Modra is editorial director at The Good Copy a Melbourne-based writing studio and grammar school. She is a regular ‘grammar enthusiast’ guest on ABC Radio Melbourne and co-founder of Crossword Club (Collingwood). She has written about visual arts and other things for The Age, Vice and Smith Journal, and copy-edited everything from Head Full of Snakes magazine to PhDs that are due in twelve hours. Penny was a co-editor of Melbourne’s experimental poster publishing project Is Not Magazine (2005–2008, RIP).
Meredith Forrester is an editor at The Good Copy and a copy editor and proofreader at others. She enjoys making style guides and editing unpresidented tweets.