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CV, biography, and artist statement: What’s the difference?

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.

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 such as: What’s the artist’s background? What are the foundations of their body of work? What’s their artistic language? Which life events influenced their art? How did their artistic practice evolve? Which important exhibitions are the highlights of their artistic 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 segment is a way to reach out to the audience. It’s often considered a conversation starter. Therefore, make sure it’s compelling!

If you want to give an introduction that is 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.

Please note that amy and its team take no responsibility for any legal disputes or other that might arise from using the information in this blog. It serves purely as an example and should not be interpreted as any sort of legal advise.


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