How did we end up writing in a way that sounds like inexpertly translated French?: International Art English (IAE), a hilarious analysis of art writing
IAE has never had a codified grammar; instead, it has evolved by continually incorporating new sources and tactics of sounding foreign, pushing the margins of intelligibility from the standpoint of the English speaker. But one cannot rely on a global readership to feel properly alienated by deviations from the norm.
The IAE of the French press release is almost too perfect: It is written, we can only imagine, by French interns imitating American interns imitating American academics imitating French academics. Scandinavian IAE, on the other hand, tends to be lousy. Presumably its writers are hampered by false confidence—with their complacent non-native fluency in English, they have no ear for IAE.
Can we imagine an art world without IAE? If press releases could not telegraph the seriousness of their subjects, what would they simply say? Without its special language, would art need to submit to the scrutiny of broader audiences and local ones? Would it hold up?