Why ’bad’ reviews are equally valuable and how to do them well

Giving a negative review can be nerve wracking, especially for early career writers who don’t want a bad rep. But when done well, they can have immense value.

The changing nature of arts criticism has been a long topic of discussion, even concern.

With the variety of shows on offer today and the sheer amount of writers, what good is a ’bad’ review going to do? Wouldn’t it be easier to just move on from disappointment and instead write on something that you actually liked, rather than risk the backlash of being ’judging’ or ‘cruel’?

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram @lleizy_