The Art of Image Description

February 21–24, 2018

Image for The Art of Image Description
Event Details

Los Angeles Convention Center
College Art Association
Los Angeles, CA

Other Speakers


This is a vertically oriented watercolor painting on paper that you could hold in your hand. In its center, dominating the top two thirds, a sturdy tree spreads its leafy branches, forming a pyramidal canopy. Sitting under the tree are two figures: an ash-covered ascetic leans on his armrest, seating on an animal skin, head bowed in thought, with his youthful disciple seated opposite on a tiger skin, playing a stringed instrument (rudra vina). It is night time, but the sky is cool, covered in starts and a crescent moon while the springy earth echoes that of the leaves above. The delicate tonal range and precise brushwork evoke a fleeting fragility appropriate to the musical poetic mode depicted in this Kedar Ragini album page by the Indian artist Ruknuddin.

Image description is an art, one that seeks to enable the partially sighted and blind to experience visual material in the museum, gallery, or art-driven publication. This panel will bring together artists, educators, museum professionals, art historians, designers and image description experts to perform, demonstrate, and debate the wide range of avenues available for describing images, from the driest, cleanest text to those that tap into the emotive energy of a work of art. What might thinking carefully about image description do to open up new questions for our artistic and art historical practices? What path might one take towards a set of “best practices” for image description?