Critical Read Artwork Biographies establish the facts of  the work of art within a narrative framework. They balance opinion with  research and reporting, but their emphasis is on storytelling. The work of art, not the writer's opinion on it, should be the subject of the story. 

***We're not looking for essays here but for narrative features. Your pitch should identify the conflict and the main characters of the story you propose to tell.*** 

Artwork biographies are typically assigned at 4,000-5,000 words. We pay up to $1 a word for these stories. 

Critical Read is a nonprofit organization supporting the promotion of the arts and culture in the United States. By 'art' we mean nonprofit arts including but not limited to ballet, drama, classical music, opera, jazz, performance, installation, visual art and more. We have a particular interest in deserving works of art that are not considered canonical. We will consider pitches for stories that touch on works of obscure or vintage pop culture and Americana. Your pitch should not be tied to the publicity cycle.  

To pitch an artwork biography, please send a paragraph telling us which work of art you want to profile, explaining the central conflict and themes of the story you want to tell. If we are interested we'll ask you to submit a formal pitch, including the following:

  • Your CV/resume and relevant clips
  • A brief analysis of why is this work of art important – ~250 words
  • A draft outline of how you would treat the subject
  • A  list of the major books, commentaries, and films on your subject, if  any. Tell us why your take on this work of art will be different – ~250  words
  • A sample introduction to the work – ~500 words
  • A list of events this title could tie to, e.g. upcoming exhibitions, retrospectives, or revivals
  • Date you would be able to deliver your draft