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The Visual Art Criticism Awards are back. Submit your nominations for the best texts, programmes, and initiatives of 2023!

Established by the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), the National Art Gallery of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art (LNMA), and the online magazine of contemporary art in 2023, the Visual Art Criticism Awards return for their second iteration. 

According to the chair of the Lithuanian Section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) Rasa Antanavičiūtė, ‘Last year’s award ceremony was a tremendously memorable occasion for the guild of art critics. For this reason, I encourage you to submit your entry for this year’s awards. After all, the hard and complicated part is already done – the text has been written, and all that’s left is to submit it to the competition. People who work in criticism seldom get much feedback on their work. This competition has a healing effect, ending this type of abstinence.’

The aim of the awards is to receive as many nominations from a wide range of backgrounds as possible. According to Gytis Norvilas, a poet, essayist, and former editor-in-chief of the cultural magazine Literatūra ir menas, the importance of uncomfortable criticism is particularly emphasised – ‘a critic should be independent, unbending, uncomfortable for the public and the artists themselves.’ The loss of autonomy, he says, ‘washes away’ the qualities necessary for good criticism, i.e., objectivity, courage, and quality. The Association of Cultural Periodicals, headed by Norvilas, is one of the partners of the project, as is the Lithuanian section of AICA. 


Like last year, everyone is invited to nominate candidates, including authors, publishers, editors, readers, artists, and viewers. Texts, radio and TV programmes, podcasts, and other initiatives can be nominated in four categories: ‘Short Form’, ‘Long Form’, ‘Texts by Artists and Curators’, and ‘Phenomenon of the Year’. The organisers invite you to submit your proposals by email to [email protected] by midnight on 17 March 2024.

The selection is open to works published in 2023 (in the broadest sense of the term), which reflect on events and processes in the field of visual art in Lithuania, the work of Lithuanian artists, as well as texts by Lithuanian authors on artistic phenomena in other countries. This can also be a reflection on the work of a single artist. This year’s awards will not be open to scholarly texts produced as part of a study programme, unless they have been published in the form of articles or books, or in exhibitions. If published in a language other than English or Lithuanian, the submission should be translated into one of these languages. If possible, please indicate not only the author and title of the text but also the place and date of publication and, ideally, provide a copy or a reference (link) to the text in question. If no reference to the text is available, please provide as much information as possible to assist the award organisers with locating the text.

All the proposed texts, broadcasts, and initiatives will be assessed by a jury. The shortlists will be announced in May. On 1 June, nine winners will be awarded prizes of 900 euros at the award ceremony at the National Art Gallery in Vilnius. This year’s jury comprises art historian and critic Monika Krištopaitytė, art historian Helmutas Šabasevičius, film and culture critic Monika Gimbutaitė, as well as two of last year’s award recipients, artists Aurelija Maknytė and Agnė Jokšė.


The ‘Short Form’ category is for short works – articles, interviews and reviews, episodes of radio and TV programmes and podcasts, features, etc., and is not solely reserved for written texts. The ‘Long Form’ category is open to series of articles, collections of texts, books, series of programmes, and other larger works.

Texts by artists and curators are not usually considered as art criticism, but they also have their own category in these awards. This can include, for example, art writing publications, exhibition annotations, texts accompanying artworks, visual artworks in textual form, or simply artists’ thoughts published in print. What distinguishes them from other texts on art is that they are not intended to review, reflect on, or evaluate other artistic phenomena.

For the final category – ‘Phenomenon of the Year’ – the award is made for an outstanding contribution to the development of visual art criticism in Lithuania. Such a phenomenon is not restricted to a text or a programme, but any event, which can be linked to the initiative of a person, group, or organisation. Only one award will be given in the ‘Phenomenon of the Year’ category.


The initiative of these awards aims to stimulate interest in texts on contemporary art, to broaden their readership, and to strengthen the critical community and solidarity among writers. Last year, more than 360 works were submitted for consideration.

The 2023 winners can be found in the press releases or in the recording of last year’s Awards ceremony. Links to the prize-winning texts can be found in last year’s shortlist, selected by the jury.

An event series dedicated to art criticism, which accompanied last year’s awards, will continue this year. Among the upcoming events are lectures, meetings, and workshops. The lecture ‘What is Criticism For?’ by art critic and editor Ben Eastham, delivered last year at the National Art Gallery, will appear as an article in the Spring issue of the magazine Teatro žurnalas.

The project is organised in cooperation with the Lithuanian Section of the International Art Critics Association (AICA) and the Association of Cultural Periodicals. The initiators of the awards are Virginija Januškevičiūtė and Justina Zubaitė-Bundzė, members of the Contemporary Art Centre team, and Vaida Stepanovaitė, former editor of the digital contemporary art magazine The team of the National Art Gallery of the LNMA is represented by Goda Aksamitauskaitė and Egla Mikalajūnė. This year the initiative is joined by a new member of the CAC curatorial team, Edvardas Šumila, and the new editor of, Danutė Gambickaitė. Following on from their support last year, we are delighted that the Lithuanian Council for Culture will be funding the project again in 2024.