Diary of a Crazy Artist: Is Art Criticism Over?

November 18, 2013  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series
Seen in Brooklyn, Summer 2013/Chris Cobb

As seen in Brooklyn, summer 2013. Photo: Chris Cobb

Is art criticism dead the way painting was supposed to be ten years ago?
Is art criticism helpful anymore in the age of Yelp?
Is it allowed to critique criticism?
Is a bad review helpful to anyone?
Is genuine criticism best left for the artist studio?

In a group show, why are certain artists written about and not others?
How does a jumble of words and feelings about colors become coherent?
Should every gallery simply have a Yelp page and invite visitors to comment?
How many people can write about art history with any authority?
Is studying art history useless?
Can most people who write on art distinguish between postmodernism and modernism?
Is it true you need to be good looking, or at least have good hair, to get reviewed?
Is art writing literature?
Does anybody read art reviews except galleries, artists, and dealers?

Should curators be considered friends or enemies?
Is reviewing art shows a concept that is collapsing in on itself?
Can anybody write art criticism?
Is it OK to write a review based on the images on a gallery website, never having visited the actual show?
Is there a way to get rich writing about art?

Should every gallery simply have its own Yelp page?
Are comments sections the scourge of humanity?
Does it seem like male artists get reviewed a whole lot more than female artists?
Was there ever objective criteria for assessing whether a work of art is any good or not?
Is art/an artist good simply because he/she/it gets reviewed?
Is the “painting is dead/painting is alive” dialectic over yet?

What happens to art critics as they age if they don’t write a novel or something?
Do art publications provide a pension? Medical care? Dental insurance?
Do people really take classes on how to write art criticism?
If you can study creative writing, can you also study uncreative writing?
Why are some artists written about and some are not?
Do poets naturally write better art criticism?

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2 Comments

  1. DeWitt Cheng Says:

    Is art criticism dead the way painting was supposed to be ten years ago?
    In exactly the same way.

    Is art criticism helpful anymore in the age of Yelp?
    If your interest in art is at Yelp level, no.

    Is it allowed to critique criticism?
    Yes.

    Is a bad review helpful to anyone?
    Can be if people can accept crit, but egos are tender.

    Is genuine criticism best left for the artist studio?
    No.

    In a group show, why are certain artists written about and not others?
    Presumably their work is better or more interesting.

    How does a jumble of words and feelings about colors become coherent?
    How does a jumble of colors do so?

    Should every gallery simply have a Yelp page and invite visitors to comment?
    Only the ones who are courting Yelpers.

    How many people can write about art history with any authority?
    Nobody is definitive, but lots of people can.

    Is studying art history useless?
    No. Art theory, I would say, is an utter waste of time.

    Can most people who write on art distinguish between postmodernism and modernism?
    Sort of, as long you are cognizant of overlaps—of complexity and contradiction.
    ,.
    Is it true you need to be good looking, or at least have good hair, to get reviewed?
    No.

    Is art writing literature?
    It can be enjoyable and interesting, and worth rereading.

    Does anybody read art reviews except galleries, artists, and dealers?
    Yes, art lovers are not all stupid and lazy.

    Should curators be considered friends or enemies?
    Frenemies.

    Is reviewing art shows a concept that is collapsing in on itself?
    Only if the writer lets himself/herself become too much a part of the story.

    Can anybody write art criticism?
    Is everyone an artist?

    Is it OK to write a review based on the images on a gallery website, never having visited the actual show?
    No.

    Is there a way to get rich writing about art?
    Still working on that one.

    Should every gallery simply have its own Yelp page?
    And post fake raves?

    Are comments sections the scourge of humanity?
    Not even in the top 100.

    Does it seem like male artists get reviewed a whole lot more than female artists?
    Never paid attention, although male artistes seems to make more money and get more shows.

    Was there ever objective criteria for assessing whether a work of art is any good or not?
    Art is subjective, but uf you develop an eye (and stop Yelping) you can discern the difference.

    Is art/an artist good simply because he/she/it gets reviewed?
    Nope.

    Is the “painting is dead/painting is alive” dialectic over yet?
    I wish.

    What happens to art critics as they age if they don’t write a novel or something?
    They die clutching their clippings, just like artists.

    Do art publications provide a pension? Medical care? Dental insurance?
    Nope, as far as I know.

    Do people really take classes on how to write art criticism?
    Sure.

    If you can study creative writing, can you also study uncreative writing?
    No need to study that.

    Why are some artists written about and some are not?
    Penises?

    Do poets naturally write better art criticism?
    They have to work at it, as we all do.

  2. theokonradauer Says:

    Is art criticism dead the way painting was supposed to be ten years ago?
    It is in transition and nearly everyone is late to the game, artists and writers both.
    Is art criticism helpful anymore in the age of Yelp?
    Of course it is. As incestuous as criticism can sadly be, Yelp is worse.
    Is it allowed to critique criticism?
    Well, duh.
    Is a bad review helpful to anyone?
    Yes, if it makes cogent points and has some depth.
    Is genuine criticism best left for the artist studio?
    Nope.
    In a group show, why are certain artists written about and not others?
    In a review for Stretcher, a while back I wrote about one artist from a group and no others. Why? The other work did nothing for me and I felt no good reason to cover it – the converse: I felt a deep need to cover the work of the artist who was deserving. No biggie.
    How does a jumble of words and feelings about colors become coherent?
    Depends on the work and the artist, really.
    Should every gallery simply have a Yelp page and invite visitors to comment?
    Naw.
    How many people can write about art history with any authority?
    Everybody who cares should have a chance. Robert Hughes is as valid as Rosalind Krauss, basically.
    Is studying art history useless?
    It is necessary, more so than theory, but theory has its place.
    Can most people who write on art distinguish between postmodernism and modernism?
    Only if they know their history well and have a decent grasp of the logical fallacies.
    ,.
    Is it true you need to be good looking, or at least have good hair, to get reviewed?
    It helps for sure. Not for me, but fashion drives so much of the art world now.
    Is art writing literature?
    Well, in Robert Hughes case it was and is. With others less so…
    Does anybody read art reviews except galleries, artists, and dealers?
    The answer should be obvious. C’mon now.
    Should curators be considered friends or enemies?
    Sometimes both, sometimes neither, sometime either.
    Is reviewing art shows a concept that is collapsing in on itself?
    Sigh, I think the internet has proven that wrong. I think Glenn Grennwald’s new venture which plans to have art critics is a good example of art criticism still being compelling enough to have a place at the table as it were.
    Can anybody write art criticism?
    Yes, but a better question is: Can anybody write worthwhile art criticism?
    Is it OK to write a review based on the images on a gallery website, never having visited the actual show?
    Nope. I would go further, one needs at least an hour or more of viewing time to write an authoritative review.
    Is there a way to get rich writing about art?
    LOL.
    Should every gallery simply have its own Yelp page?
    Yelp is over, yo.
    Are comments sections the scourge of humanity?
    No, they are great.
    Does it seem like male artists get reviewed a whole lot more than female artists?
    Sure, It’s A Man’s World still as James Brown once sang. Let’s be real here, of course, it is a sexist world still.
    Was there ever objective criteria for assessing whether a work of art is any good or not?
    Art is of course subjective, but a critic should fight those urges and work out of their box and try to be representative for the reader.
    Is art/an artist good simply because he/she/it gets reviewed?
    Nope, too many bad art critics out there with shady agendas.
    Is the “painting is dead/painting is alive” dialectic over yet?
    Nope, but it is either a dead or undead horse as it were.
    What happens to art critics as they age if they don’t write a novel or something?
    Most good critics I know, have a life outside art.
    Do art publications provide a pension? Medical care? Dental insurance?
    They don’t have the bones to spend on that stuff.
    Do people really take classes on how to write art criticism?
    Yes, they usually don’t work out well.
    If you can study creative writing, can you also study uncreative writing?
    That is half of the point. It is a blunt one, clearly. Ouch!
    Why are some artists written about and some are not?
    Timeliness.
    Do poets naturally write better art criticism?
    Some have written good stuff. Frank O’Hara, John Ashbury to name a couple. That sort of critic seems unfashionable now for whatever reason.

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