Art world press release writer extraordinaire states, “Leslie Hewitt uses the language of photography to interrogate the function of memory by calling to attention the displacement in time and location that occurs in its realm.” Hyperallergic’s Mostafa Heddaya responds, “One might say whoever penned it uses the language of null language to interrogate the function of meaning by calling to attention the displacement of adjectival structure and direct objects in its realm.” We champion Hyperallergic’s praised coverage of the arts with its clear and often relatable voice, and we couldn’t agree more on the subject of press releases discussing the arts. We created this magazine to make art, its process and practitioners, more accessible to the public by offering our coverage in a way that we ourselves would consume. In our tireless digital and physical research for content to feature, we ignore the most obvious and regular flow of textual diarrhea coming through our inbox every day. We don’t read press releases because they don’t make any sense. Not only do they not make any sense, they insult the intelligence of their reader. They often have nothing to do with the work specifically, and you can easily picture an intern reading it aloud with an obnoxiously flippant and nasal accent humorously behind the gallery director’s back.
Discussing philosophy, place, or an idea of presence is obscure so why should our words be as well? The way we communicate or comment on works aren’t successful if the reader does not engage with the message. So if you’re going to send us a press release about a contemporary artist’s collection of new work, make sure to establish a connection that a reader can relate to emotionally and viscerally. If an anecdote is absolutely needed, allow the words of the artist to penetrate the message, and simply rely on the relevance and skill of the work to speak as intended.
Not all press releases are the “worst.ever.” Many galleries have a modern voice presented effectively due to the power of editing. Less words are more powerful. So send us a press release with one and let the work complete the sentence.