Meet Criticism and Curatorial Practice grad Shauna Jean Doherty

How did you get started in your career?

After university I worked a number of freelance jobs. I had a short term gallery assistant position at Hamilton Artists Inc. and commuted to Hamilton from Toronto everyday for a summer. At that point I was spending a large portion of my wage for the day on my commute. During that time I also tried to write as much as possible. I reviewed exhibitions, wrote book reviews, and even when no one would publish them I would post them onto my website. 

I also volunteered, submitted my video work to screenings, and interned. I also went to almost every exhibition opening I could find. It was important to me to network and stay present within the Toronto art scene, even though, for a number of months after graduating, that wasn't translating into a job. 

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Admissions Segment: 

Milena Tomic

Milena Tomic is an art historian and writer based in Toronto. Her research specialty is contemporary art after 1970, with an emphasis on quotational strategies. She completed her PhD at University College London and held a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at McGill University. Her peer-reviewed articles have appeared in Word & Image, Oxford Art Journal, Tate Papers, OBJECT, and TOPIA. She has also written for frieze, Art in America, ARTMargins Online, C Magazine, Border Crossings, Fillip, Journal of Curatorial Studies, CritCom, and other venues.

Gabrielle Moser

Assistant Professor, Aesthetics and Art Education, Faculty of Education, York University
Adjunct Faculty, OCAD University

Art criticism’s new voice

Photo of Sky Goodden
Photo of Sky Goodden

OCAD University alumna Sky Goodden (MFA, Criticism & Curatorial Practice, 2010) is a rising-star art writer and publisher. She is the founding editor of Momus, an online art publication that “promotes integrity and clarity in its reflection on the complexities, challenges, and potential emerging from an artworld in flux.” I sat down with Goodden to discuss her accomplishments, lessons and vision for the years ahead.   

RB: We both started at OCAD University in 2008, the first year of the MFA program. What were your most important take-aways from the program?

SG: I had great writing mentors in Andy Patton and Charles Reeve. Andy’s adage that you should try, on your best day, to be “equal to your object,” had a big impact on me. Another valuable thing I walked away with was a sense of determination to change the field of art criticism. That sounds quite ambitious, but I was confident that the field needed renovation.

RB: What did you set out to accomplish as BLOUIN ARTINFO Canada’s inaugural editor? What surprising things did you learn about online publishing?

SG: I was able to shape that site with a voice that I felt was lacking in the Canadian art world. For the most part in Canada, opinions perceived as negative are shied away from, which I think is actually a disservice. I focused on evaluative writing, not with an academic voice, but one that nevertheless expected an intelligent audience.

RB: When did you decide you wanted to start something new and independent in Momus?

SG: The Canadian ARTINFO site was downsized, and I couldn’t keep operating it the way I wanted to. I realized that a similar job wasn’t waiting for me, and that I would probably have to invent it. I was hopeful I could hold onto my audience, and also take on a wider field, approaching Canadian art as part of an international conversation.

RB: What does the next year hold?

SG: There’s an adrenaline that carries you through your first year. You don’t look over your shoulder too much! I’m waking up from that dream right now. I have to work on growing our readership, and running the business in a sustainable way, without sacrificing our ethos, integrity and mandate.

RB: Do you have a mantra?

SG: Have a stake. Put some skin in the game.


Read the full interview with Sky Goodden in the Fall 2015 issue of Sketch.




Rose Bouthillier
Admissions Segment: 

Multiple Li(v)es of Art/ists &...Disciplinary Fuzziness and the Future(s) of Art Criticism

Image of Keynote Presenters Dr Sarah Thorton and Brendan Fernandes
Friday, March 27, 2015 - 4:00am to Saturday, March 28, 2015 - 4:00am

Multiple Li(v)es of Art/ists &...
Disciplinary Fuzziness and the Future(s) of Art Criticism

OCAD University, Toronto, Canada
March 27-28, 2015

The Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories (CADN) MA program at OCAD University is pleased to announce that Dr. Sarah Thornton and Brendan Fernandes are the Keynote presenters of the 2015 CADN Conference.

Multiple Li(v)es of Art/ists &... seeks to investigate projects that actively destabilize binaries, permeate borders, and foster interdisciplinary engagement to trouble the transitory spaces that condition contemporary society. This conference aims to address ways art (or Art) and its many disciplinary iterations continue to morph and change. By providing an armature onto which scholars and artists might graft semblances of understandings gained through the ex/interchange of knowledge and ideas, the conference leverages productive energies of discourse and critique to tease out the questions which necessarily accompany exploration of the contemporary.


Keynote Speaker

Credibility & Confidence: Behind the Scenes with Artists Today
In conversation with Dr. Sarah Thornton

Friday, March 27

10:00 - 11:30 AM, Auditorium 190
OCAD University, 100 McCaul
Free Admission with registration:

Thornton is the author of 33 Artists in 3 Acts, published in English last autumn and forthcoming in six translations, as well as Seven Days in the Art World, an international bestseller available in sixteen languages. She is joined in conversation by Francisco-Fernando Granados, a Toronto-based artist, writer, and educator working in performance, drawing, and multidisciplinary critical practices.


Keynote Performance

Encomium - Durational Performance by Brendan Fernandes
Friday, March 27 - Opening Reception

6:00-9:00 PM, 230 Richmond St West
OnSite Gallery, OCAD University

Brendan Fernandes is a nationally and internationally recognised Canadian artist of Kenyan and Indian descent. His recent work considers the transitional nature of identity through the complex language of dance. The work "Encomium" is inspired by Plato's "Symposium", a classical text in which love is examined through speeches of praise. In the work, Fernandes explores the way in which codes of language are articulated through classical ballet, and the way dance acts like any other language form, creating barriers that allow for understanding within specific groups and communities. ________________________________________________________________________________

More information on these events and the Multiple Li(v)es of Art/ists &... Conference

On March 27-28, this conference presents research by artists and scholars that investigates the active destabilization of binaries and the permeability of disciplinary boundaries. Providing opportunities to leverage productive energies and direct forms of critique through discussion about practices and perceptions, the conference engages the need for contradiction in how art and artists are presented and appreciated in the world, and supports fresh methods that (re)ask important questions.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University, Toronto, Canada


Peter Schjeldhal, New Yorker contributor photo

OCAD U is host to renowned New York art critic Peter Schejeldhal, who is, asThe Globe and Mail describes, “parachuting in to explain the drama and grandiose themes” that inspired the neo baroque artists featured in “Misled by Nature: Contemporary Art and the Baroque” at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA).

Schejeldhal talks at OCAD U on Friday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m., and the MOCCA exhibit runs until April 6.

Schejeldhal is head art critic at the New Yorker and has also written for The New York TimesThe Village VoiceARTnews,ArtforumVogue and Vanity Fair. He’s published four books or art criticism and several collections of poetry. He also taught at Harvard University. In 2008 Schejeldhal won the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing, which recognizes writers whose work is grounded in scholarship yet appeals to a broad range of audiences.

His talk at OCAD U, “Surrounding Beauty: Thoughts on aesthetic experience, with reference to the Baroque” is presented in partnership with MOCCA as part of a series of events connected to MOCCA’s current exhibition. “Misled by Nature: Contemporary Art and the Baroque” is a collaboration between MOCCA, the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Alberta. It showcases contemporary works by David Altmejd, Mark Bradford, Lee Bul, Bharti Kher, Tricia Middleton, Yinka Shonibare and MBE that draw upon aspects of the historical Baroque.

Learn more:

Attend the talk 

Peter Schjeldahl’s contributor’s page at the New Yorker 

NGC@MOCCA Special Presentation: Misled by Nature: Contemporary Art and the Baroque 

Find out more about Criticsm & Curatorial practice at OCAD U