Thanks for thinking of After the Art as a home for your work!
After the Art seeks personal review essays that explore the ways reading can enrich the experience of looking at art. Each essay must be about a piece of art as well as a written text. (See the “About” section for an example-of-sorts.)
A review essay is both a review and an essay. A personal review essay is one in which the writer is actively present. (For a great example of a personal book review, see this review by Sara Lippmann of Dylan Landis’s novel Rainey Royal.) After the Art is not seeking other forms of ekphrastic writing.
“A piece of art” could be a painting, a photograph, a sculpture, a museum exhibit; it might also be a film, a play, a concert, or a show.
“A written text” could be a published book, poem, story, essay, or article. It does not have to be about the piece of art, or art at all. (In fact it’s often better if it isn’t.) But it does have to enrich your thinking about the art.
Both the art and the text should have been created by someone else (and not be your own work).
These short review essays should be 500-1500 words.
As for voice/attitude/style, we’re looking for review essays that are excited about the art and readings in question.
Please include a picture of the art. This can be a picture you took yourself (if able and allowed) or an image that is in the public domain or available through the appropriate version of a Creative Commons license. If you need to get permission from the artist, please do that before you start writing. In your essay, make sure to include the full name of the work, the artist, and the name of the exhibit/museum. You can follow this format:
Title of artwork by [artist’s first and last name]. Materials, date.
Lastly, be sure to include a 50-word bio at the end of your essay.
All review essays are subject to editorial suggestions and revisions, and you will have a chance to approve of any edits before publication. If you choose not to make the edits, After the Art may not publish your piece.
We publish quarterly, in September, December, March, and June. Our deadlines for each issue are 15 August, 15 November, 15 February, and 15 May.
At this time After the Art is unpaid. But we do nominate for Best of the Net, The Best American Essays, and the Pushcart Prize. Two essays have made the Best American Essays Notable list: Dana Delibovi’s “Heavy Is the Root of Light” in 2020 and Heidi Czerwiec’s “A Digression” in 2021.
Ready to submit? Please send your essay to AfterTheArt@gmail.com.