An Alternate Critical Community
for Working Artists

founded in 2013 by artist, educator, and curator Patricia Miranda


Rigorous critique in small ongoing groups

The Crit Lab offers 5-month graduate-level critique seminars for artists. We employ a rigorous structure and pedagogy, with critical, supportive, feedback in small curated artist groups. The intensity of an ongoing conversation acts as incubator, and helps develop structures for a sustainable studio practice.


The Crit Lab is a community of working artists. Crit Lab participants are not students.
We are artist driven, not mentor-driven. We engage as colleagues and fellow artists in a community of peers. 


For artists at every place in their practice

The Lab invites artists who are serous about wanting to grow and push their work within a small, supportive, intentional community. Success is defined by each artist; "career" is not important. What matters is that artists engage fully and consistently with their practice and with the group. Lab artists support one another to focus their ideas and work. Artists in the Lab include those with newly developing to long established studio practices. While this is not a requirement or a measure of inclusion, a majority of current critters are MFA grads. 


The main criteria is that you are serious about your work!


Interested in the Lab? Have questions? Want to know more? Reach out....


Info Sessions

Join Patricia and Lab artists for informal Crit Lab Info Sessions. Learn about our structure and pedagogy, and how the Crit Lab can support your studio and professional practice. These mini sessions last 20-30 minutes.


Join our mailing list for upcoming sessions for Fall 2024.


Our Story

The Crit Lab began in-person, with 5 artists in Patricia Miranda's studio in 2013, and has grown to 60-70 artists each session. With the pandemic we moved to long virtual meetings, learning the structure and possibility of the digital space. The Crit Lab utilizes a pedagogy for the digital space as its own unique form, not as a poor substitute for the real. The pedagogy was developed by Patricia Miranda in response to the question of how one can best represent physical objects in the virtual space. The structure has necessarily grew tighter and more formal as together we deepen the dialogue of the digital space.


The rigorous and ethical framework the Lab is known for holds safe brave space for the depth, complexity, and creativity of each individual practice. Artists from around the country join in meaningful in-depth discussion, develop skills in critical analysis and the language to articulate their ideas nad the ideas they encounter in other artists' work.


We are inspired by the digital space: with no geographic limits, and the intimacy of meeting without physical bodies. Online we are all heart and head, everyone has a front row seat, we share equal space, and make room for one another in a spirit of creative disagreement. As we continue, we consider the environmental concerns of travel, and continue to craft new ways of working, making, reflecting, and supporting sustainable ecosystems.


We have since developed a Fellowship program, Residencies in Italy and NY, and exhibitions at MAPSpace and in 2024, at upcoming at Hudson Valley MOCA in fall 2024.


Join us in a space of curiosity, empathy, radical listening and rigorous exchange.

Critique is an Encounter

The Lab is an alternate critical community for working artists outside academia to come together for sustained contact, with empathetic listening, radical optimism and rigorous dialogue, in an act of hope over destruction.


The Crit Lab is about the art.

First and foremost we honor the autonomy of the artist and the artwork. We look, see, feel, describe, analyze, and communicate our experience with the work. We do not make judgments about good or bad, working or not working, success or failure. Most of all - we learn from the work - what we care about and how this is best expressed in an artwork. We protect the mysterious aspect of artmaking and meaning-making.

 

Discussions are led by the artists, with the guidance of the pedagogy and structure. Patricia Miranda holds the space, keeps the dialogue in focus, brings in context, artists or texts to research, and keeps meetings on schedule. These are trusted long-form discussions between artists in each cohort.


What makes The Crit Lab so special?

A: The Artists

The most powerful component of the Lab is the artists- serious, active, working, artists at all stages in their practice. Artists at any and every level are welcome. 


Each artist brings their whole self to this table; their work, ideas, experience,  knowledge. 
Patricia guides the structure and brings years of expertise.
But the table belongs to ALL


B: Curated Groups

Intentional community makes for profound change.


Another fundamental aspects of the Crit Lab is curation of the cohorts. We comb through each application, visit every artist's website, and interview applicants. Groups are formed in which work speaks to work in productive and meaningful ways.


We create trust in a dynamic community, and feed and support both studio practice and artist. When the curated groups come together it is transformational.


Curation of the groups is not by medium, it is by ideas. These dream teams gather together around work that supports and challenges, highlights and invigorates, to exchange and learn from one another and the work.

The focus is on the WORK and not the artist.


C: An Ethical Aesthetic

The Crit Lab Pedagogy was designed after years of working with artists professionally and in grad and undergrad programs. Much of the structure was designed in response to the opinionated and personal nature of much critique, often clouded by the unremarked power dynamics of gender, class, race, etc. 


We develop, learn, and practice critical observation and ethical language in a rigorous open space of discussion. Artists build tools to effectively articulate and engage in a dialogue around their work and that of fellow artists. We meet the work where it is and ask where it wants to go. And we help it get there.


In the Lab we make visible the social context in which all art is created, and locate the work inside its own constellations of ideas. The Lab structure takes into account the mystery of the creative process, our deep emotions and reactions, and creates space to communicate reflective, objective readings of the work.


We ask, we do not answer. Conclusions are the domain of the studio, not the group.


The Crit Lab is about the studio

The Crit Lab offers the intense dialogue and feedback of an MFA program, in a supportive and nonjudgemental environment, without the agenda, degree, or high tuition. If you are actively working and want a higher level of dialogue around your work, miss the discourse of an academic program, and don’t want or require the piece of paper, The Crit Lab offers intentional space for work to flourish.


The Crit Lab is a supportive forum for exploration and discussion of new, vulnerable, in progress, and experimental works and ideas, as well as finished bodies of work. The connection and community transcend the Lab. The ongoing, intensive, inclusive, space of the meetings encourages work to flourish and grow in critical depth and perception, while building a strong community of committed artists.


We welcome you to join us. 
Reach out to info@thecritlab.com to chat about our programs.


The Crit Lab was founded by artist, curator and educator Patricia Miranda. Miranda designed a structured pedagogy to focus and deepen discussion beyond common subjective reactions, and to help support ethical structures in which artists can thrive. Additional faculty are available for one-on-one sessions and at the AltMFA.


Follow us on Instagram @thecritlab