Art Criticism Online: A History

Out Now!

Charlotte Frost Art Criticism Online book cover


The mainstream press often celebrates the ‘tweeting’, ‘facebooking’ and ‘gramming’ of art commentary. Yet online forms of art criticism have a much longer and more varied history than we think. Far preceding the art discussions happening on the likes of Twitter and Facebook. Before art discussions took place on social media, there were networked art projects and art critical Bulletin Board Systems, email discussion lists and blogs. Art Criticism Online: A History provides the first in-depth history of art criticism following the Internet. The book considers the core stages of development and considers where critical practice is heading in the future.


Charlotte Frost’s Art Criticism Online provides a much needed account and indispensable survey of the ways in which Western art criticism has been profoundly affected and changed by the online environment. Building on the history of networked and participatory criticism predating the Internet, Frost traces three different phases of online art criticism unfolding in early discussion groups, on listservs, and within today’s blogosphere and social media platforms. The book expertly captures nuanced transformations in art criticism’s content, form and style, analyzing how approaches have shifted in response to the evolution of the art world terrain. Art Criticism Online successfully manages to provide readers with a map of the dynamic expressions of today’s critical culture.

–Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of Digital Art, Whitney Museum, Director/Chief Curator, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons/The New School

So what happened to art criticism, anyway? This lively history is a vital resource for anyone interested in this question. Drawing on a half-century of examples, [Art Criticism Online] discusses the new, experimental writing practices the internet has made possible, and its destructive effects, making a persuasive case that art criticism hasn’t gone away—it’s just changed radically.

–Michael Connor, Artistic Director, Rhizome

If you think art criticism has been revolutionized in the era of likes, hearts and retweets, you’ve only got part of the picture. If you truly want to understand criticism in the age of the internet, you’ll want to pick up a copy of Charlotte Frost’s book, an engaging and important read.

–Mary Louise Schumacher, art critic and film maker