The CV, Biography and Artist Statement: What’s the Difference?
Updated: Apr 13
When we communicate about art, it’s often not enough to only present a portfolio of artworks. Often, we are asked about an artist’s personal information. Here, we can distinguish three types: a CV or Curriculum Vitae, a Biography and an Artist Statement. Let’s take a closer look at their main differences and purpose.
A Curriculum Vitae summarizes your professional activities.
You can immediately recognize a CV by its bullet point layout. An artist’s exhibitions are the eye catchers of this document! But there’s so much more to share!
The artist’s achievements are listed in sections such as Personal Info, Education, Awards, Exhibitions, Publications, Bibliography, Commissions and Collections that acquired an artwork.
A Biography is a short text written in the third person about an artist. It answers questions like: what’s the artist’s background? What are the foundations of his/her body of work? What’s the artistic language? Which life events influenced his/her art? How did the artistic practice evolve? Which important exhibitions are the highlights of the artist’s career?
A strong biography is a tasteful selection of the essentials. It shouldn’t take up more than a single page.
On gallery or artist websites we often find a “biography page” that shows the Biography first, followed by the CV.
In catalogs on the contrary, the “Biography” mainly covers the artist’s CV.
Whereas the Curriculum Vitae and Biography are formal, the Artist Statement is the place for a personal voice and message.
The Artist Statement may contain similar information to the biography, but it’s always written in the first person. Choose the wording very carefully, because this content is almost as important as the body of work. Depending on the context, each occasion can ask for a slight adaptation of the Artist Statement. For an artist this Statement is a way to reach out to the audience. It’s often considered a start for a conversation. So, make sure it’s compelling!
If you want to give an introduction that’s complete, remember to include a Biography and/or Artist Statement with an updated CV. These are professional additions to an artistic Portfolio that can provide a welcome context to the artworks.
Author: Femke Cools, Co-founder and CEO Amyart.app