Friday, June 03, 2005

Critics? Schmitics!


There has been a fair bit of discussion going around about the state of art criticism recently. My guess would be that an awful lot of the talk was started at this conference. Marc Spiegler was this first to pick up on it, and I commented on his initial article here. The Los Angeles Times then published two very informative articles by Scott Timberg and Christopher Reynolds. Both full of wonderful quotes, and interesting hypotheses. The Saint Paul Pioneer Press piped in by publishing Dominic P. Papatola's column where he linked the demise of the National Arts Journalism Program with the National critics conference. There was also this article by Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune, that linked the two. Then as long as I am enumerating "the state of criticism" you should probably at least glance at Jan Verwoert's column from Frieze magazine about the movie "A Visit to the Louvre." (Doing more is tough because their website is extremely difficult to read.) And it wouldn't hurt to check out the two articles in Newsday (one & two) about vanity projects Justin Davidson, which discuss critics, but are not the main focus of the articles. And in my cursory search for more articles the only other one I came across was this one, by Jen Graves in the Tacoma News Tribune. Strange, since they touted that there were over 400 journalists at the conference. Maybe they all had to sign confidentiality agreements in order to attend, or perhaps my search skills are slipping.

Well, once the LA Times did something a whole bunch of folks on line couldn't help but pipe in. So there is Grammarpolice, Modern Kicks, more Grammarpolice, and more Modern Kicks. (Don't forgetting the comments in any of thier posts) where they go wild and link to all sorts of other stuff. Except for Terry Teachout's article in Commentary, which is in the room where the discussion is being held, but sorta tangential.

Now that you've had time to digest all of that (and there is an awful lot there) it can all serve as my introduction as to why current criticism in old-school media is going the way of the dodo. Milton Esterow gets the cover story in this month's ARTNews, and he uses up an awful lot of electrons writing about fake art. However, no one at the magazine could be bothered to do the research on Eric Doeringer. It serves as a nice reminder that the large majority of stuff written about art under the guise of criticism just flat out sucks. Big time.

If you've been reading this here blog for a while, might have noticed that while I used to comment regularly on what Bernard Lamarche, Michel Hellman, Nicolas Mavrikakis, Isa Tousignant, Henry Lehmann, Jerome Delgado, Sarah Milroy, Gary Michael Dault, Julia Dault, R.M. Vaughan, Christine Redfern, Matthew Woodley, Chantal Pontbriand and other local Art Critics wrote, but since 2005 started I haven't done it much. Most of it has to do with the quality of their writing (or more specifically the lack thereof, and I just got sick and tired of sounding like a broken record.

Feel free to use the comments, to tell me how bad my writing is, ok?

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