Talking about Art in English!
Places and events
cinema/ movie theater
Types of galleries:
public = a permanent collection of pieces
commercial = a temporary collection of pieces
Working in the art world:
Agent /ˈeɪdʒənt/ - represents and promotes artists.
Dealer /ˈdiːlɚ/ - buys and sells works of art.
Critic /ˈkrɪt̬ɪk/ - writes about art, especially reviews of exhibitions.
Curator /kjʊˈreɪt̬ɚ/ - selects and presents artworks for exhibitions.
Handler /ˈhændlɚ/ - arefully packs and unpacks works of art.
Gallery assistant /əˈsɪstənt/ - greets visitors and answers questions.
To attend /əˈtend/
Ex. Are you confident that enough people will attend the event?
To initiate /ɪˈnɪʃieɪt/
Ex. At the age of sixteen, Ami was initiated into the art of fashion design by her father.
To produce /prəˈduːs/ = to organize
Ex. He produced a couple of wonderful films.
To be in charge
Ex. She is in charge of the housework.
To commission /kəˈmɪʃən/
Ex. She commissioned an artist to paint her portrait two months ago.
To present /prɪˈzent/ = to introduce
Ex. She presents the artwork of a well-known local artist.
To preserve /prɪˈzɝːv/ = to keep
Ex. The committee will suggest ways to preserve historically important buildings in the downtown area.
To promote /prəˈmoʊt/
Ex. Advertising companies are always having to think up new ways to promote products.
To chronicle /ˈkrɑːnɪkəl/
Ex. The book chronicles the writer was struggling with his illness.
To criticize /ˈkrɪt̬ɪsaɪz/
Ex. We're a group of artists who meet to discuss ideas and criticize each other's work.
Admission fee /ədˈmɪʃən fiː/ = entrance fee /ˈentrəns fiː/
Ex. blockbuster product/ exhibition
Acquisition /ˌækwəˈzɪʃən/ = an artwork that has been bought recently
Ex. If you are a member of the gallery, you might hear about new acquisitions before anyone else.
Ex. There are commercial galleries at which the artworks are on sale.
Ex. Temporary workers were contracted to work for a fixed period.
Ex. Public galleries generally have a permanent collection, so you can come and see it anytime.
To attract attention
Some useful expressions:
To hold an exhibition = to stage an exhibition
Ex. I'm hoping to hold an exhibition so Alex and all our friends can see my work.
To be funded by somebody
Ex. Most cities and large towns have a public gallery that is funded by the government.
To give a performance
Ex. She gave a superb performance as Lady Macbeth.
To get a review
Ex. The play got excellent reviews when it was first seen.
At all times = continuously
Ex. They advise that a passport be carried with you at all times.
graphite (i.e. pencil) /ˈɡræfaɪt/
Ex. Sketch is a simple, quickly-made drawing that does not have many details.
Types of paintings:
Brush stroke /brʌʃ stroʊk/
Sitter = model
Idioms about art
be no oil painting
Ex. Even though she's no oil painting, but at least she's smart.
Ex. Any child is a blank canvas. It's easy to make them believe whatever you want.
Ex. She is such a drama queen! She always tends to exaggerate things.
to get/ have something down to a fine art = be good, skilled at smth
Ex. Allan has been doing this job for ten years and he thinks he got it down to a fine art.
to get the picture
Ex. Don't say anything more! I got the picture.
paint something with a broad brush = with no details
Ex. His description of national politics is painted with a very broad brush, although some areas are described in a little more detail than others.
Ex. If you ask me it’s poetic justice. He tried to get you fired, and now he’s lost his job himself.
poetry in motion
Ex. The girl was like poetry in motion when she was dancing.
a stage whisper = a loud whisper
Ex. She told him in a stage whisper, "I'm fed up with your behavior!"
state of the art = the highest level
Ex. This car reflects the state of the art in the automobile industry.
tar with the same brush
Ex. We shouldn't tar all athletes with the same brush because not all of them resort to doping.
Discussing works of art
It’s moving – it is effective at making people feel sadness or sympathy.
It’s evocative – it brings strong images or memories to mind.
It’s visionary – it considers the future in an intelligent way.
It really spoke to me – it connected with my own life experiences.
It’s bold/delicate – it gives the impression of being physically strong/weak.
It’s controversial – it divides public opinion.
It’s Instagrammable – people love to take photos of and with it.
It’s a bit out there – it is weird and/or hard to understand, but not necessarily in a bad way.
It’s disturbing – it is likely to cause someone to be offended or upset.
It’s derivative – it seems to copy existing works of art.
It’s amateurish – it does not show a high level of skill.
It left me cold – I had no emotional or intellectual response to it.
More questions about art:
Is it expensive to visit museums or galleries in your country? What’s the average entrance fee?
Do you think art galleries should be free? Why or why not?
Do you visit museums or galleries when you travel?
Would you like to be a part of the art world? Why or why not?
Who would you like to be in the art world?
Do you know any famous painters? What are they famous for?
Who are some famous artists in your country?
Do you like to draw or paint? Would you like to start doing it?
Do you think painting and sculpture are still relevant in the 21st century?
Do you think that film has replaced painting as the primary visual art form?
Do you think graffiti is art?
Do you enjoy taking photographs?
What things do you like to photograph?
Do you consider photography an art form?
Have you ever seen performance art?
Do you think performance art should be considered art?
In your opinion, is design an important part of culture?
Can you tell me the name of a fashion designer you know?
Do you think of cartoons and comics as art?
Do you know any famous illustrators?
Why do people become professional artists?
Do you think anyone can be an artist or do you need a special talent?
Have you ever participated in any art competitions?
Do you think art is important or not? Why?
How important is it that children study art at school?