Artist Brandon Alvendia leading an experimental art writing workshop for CAW at Western Exhibitions, Chicago, June 2014.

Artist Brandon Alvendia leading an experimental art writing workshop for CAW at Western Exhibitions, Chicago, June 2014.

Chicago Artist Writers is a platform that asks artists and art workers to write traditional and experimental criticism that serves under-represented arts programming in Chicago.

  • An artwork’s first and most important reception is local.
  • Chicago’s diverse array of exhibition venues is not adequately met with the critical analysis they deserve.
  • Published critical analysis is not only instrumental to the artist and venue but also to the larger critical conversation in Chicago.
  • Published criticism allows for formalizing complex thoughts about art and culture at large.
  • Artists can benefit in a singular way from the critical feedback produced by other artists.
  • Historically artists have significantly guided the conversation around contemporary art and still should today.
  • Young artists benefit from assessing work outside of their own production and through writing become increasingly articulate, thoughtful and self-aware cultural producers.
  • Vital criticism need not cheerlead cultural production.
  • CAW invites guest editors and hosts workshops to provide opportunities for the mentorship and development of our writers.


Chicago Artist Writers is an online platform founded by artists Sofia Leiby and Jason Lazarus that asks artists and cultural producers to write traditional and experimental criticism serving under-represented arts programming in Chicago. Since launching the project in fall 2012, CAW has been lucky to collaborate with a number of respected publications including Newcity Magazine, the Bad at Sports podcast, Dilettante and Temporary Art Review. To date, Chicago Artist Writers has published over seventy-five articles from around fifty different contributors and provided coverage of events at 70+ venues around Chicago. The site hosts an archive of hard to find, underground exhibitions. CAW endeavors to formalize and expand a discourse that often happens socially amongst small pairings or groups but never has a chance to mature, become public, and speak back to the artist and the community.  

CAW is made possible in part by contributions from Readers like you

CAW (pronounced “kawh”) continues its 5-year old commitment to well written, artist-centric, local criticism with the help of our readers. Please consider supporting writers by giving a small monthly amount to CAW through either Fractured Atlas or Patreon. Either way, supporting CAW means that contributors and editors get paid regularly. Become a supporter today at a level that makes sense for you.

Chicago Artist Writers is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Chicago Artist Writers must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.




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