Monday, January 02, 2006

Another bit on criticism

This blog has become something of a collection of semi-related ideas rather than original writing lately, sorry about that. Hope to get more in-depth in the new year. Thanks to everyone out there who has been encouraging me about my writing!

Anyhow, Jeffrey Cudlin of the City Paper has this to write about his view of art criticism, and I found it a solid, straight-forward statement...
Let me explain myself: For me, part of art criticism should be an investigation into the difference between what a work claims to be and what it actually is, to the best of my approximation. So many artists make a career out of positioning and public relations, making their art as much an attempt to shape perceptions of their connections to the art world as an attempt to shape our perceptions of the world at large. Untangling the misdirection and hubris that’s often attached to that pursuit can be a messy business. Add that to the usual critical duties of judging skill, evaluating ideas, and teasing out meaning, and a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down becomes pretty difficult to bestow.
From here. Thanks to DC Art News for bringing it to my attention.

I completely agree with Cudlin. My own reviews (scattered as they are) always incorporate the good with the bad, even in shows that I loved. I don't see the point of merely being a cheerleader or a narrator when it comes to art. It's not what I'm interested in. When I look at a show I can't help but look at the whole (the installation, the curatorial intent, and for lack of a better word the ambiance) as well as the parts (the success/meaning of individual works).

I'm perfectly aware that this art game is very subjective, and I hope that readers realize that this is opinion - I don't believe I have the "correct" take on anything I write about. I think this is the hardest thing to convey. Writers are too afraid of being wrong sometimes, and also I don't think enough credit is given to writers who aren't afraid to change their minds - there was a discussion on this regarding Jerry Salz recently and I can't recall where right now.

Enough rambling. Bon annee.


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