Wednesday, August 1, 2007

About Art Criticism

This article is sort of a portrayal of several art critics and their opinions of criticism, the words "critic" and "criticism", and also definining criticism. At times, the article feels like a sort of talking heads documentary on criticism with transitional fluff in between quotes.
Criticism is defined as something much more than judging a piece of art. The article talks about an aesthetician (a philosopher of art) named Morris Weitz studied every single piece of criticism written on William Shakespeare's Hamlet to discover the methodology of critics. Weitz deducted that critics either do one, some, or all of the following: they describe, interpret, evaluate, and they theorize about it. Some critics used description to further their interpretations. However, Weitz noted that evaluation of a work didn't constitute criticism. However, the writer of the article did give criticism a broader definition: "Criticism is informed discourse about art to increase understanding and appreciation of art."
According to this article, several critics feel that the word "critic" has several negative connotations, which, quoting Lucy Lippard, "place the writer in fundamental antagonism to the artists." I have to agree with that statement, as both an artist and writer. One critic who writes for ArtForum (and also discovered Basquiat), Rene Ricard, would rather himself be called an enthusiast.

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