Should art critics be artists themselves? | Art and design | The Guardian
As a sociologist, my understanding of the dynamic between critics and artists begins with the assumption that art is a social thing. This idea is. It's no secret that the relationship between artists and the critics who opine on their work can be fraught with tension. Though many artists insist. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ARTIST, IDEA AND ARTWORK separation and differentiation between artist and artwork that Paintings as Solid Affective Scaffolds (forthcoming in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism).
And I don't think that I could be an effective critic if I hadn't. In fact, I believe that for all critics, a pre-requisite for the role of judging the art of others should be a period of struggle in the studio. And while John Ruskin established the Ruskin School for these reasons, too wide a gap still persists between what artists and critics understand of each other's processes.
In the interests of full disclosure, a voluntary third of my undergraduate curriculum at Sarah Lawrence College was studio art and dance. I have painted, sculpted, welded, hammered and embroidered, and also choreographed modern dances and performance pieces. After all that preparation, I came to a realistic conclusion; the world does not need another mediocre artist. And though the actual fruits of my fumbling in studios are sequestered in my parents' homes, my bedroom and my friends' apartments, I value every day the insight those experiments gave me into the process of other more skillful artists.
A similar, though more muted, debate also occurred in England. He wrote about his deep pleasure in art and his belief that the arts could be used to improve mankind's generosity of spirit and knowledge of the world around it. He was one of a rising tide of English critics that began to grow uneasy with the increasingly abstract direction J. Turner 's landscape art was moving in.
In he published Modern Painters in which he robustly defended the work of J. Turner from his critics, who charged Turner with being unfaithful to nature. Through painstaking analysis and attention to detail, Ruskin was able to demonstrate the very opposite, in what the art historian E. Gombrich called "the most ambitious work of scientific art criticism ever attempted. Charles Baudelaire 's Salon of art review shocked its audience with its ideas.
Another dominating figure in 19th-century art criticism, was the French poet Charles Baudelairewhose first published work was his art review Salon of which attracted immediate attention for its boldness. He tried to move the debate from the old binary positions of previous decades, declaring that "the true painter, will be he who can wring from contemporary life its epic aspect and make us see and understand, with colour or in drawing, how great and poetic we are in our cravats and our polished boots".
In so far as taste can be changed by one man, it was changed by Roger Fry". By the early twentieth century these attitudes formally coalesced into a coherent philosophy, through the work of Bloomsbury Group members Roger Fry and Clive Bell. His exhibition of what he called post-Impressionist art attracted much criticism for its iconoclasm.
He vigorously defended himself in a lecture, in which he argued that art had moved to attempt to discover the language of pure imagination, rather than the staid and, to his mind, dishonest scientific capturing of landscape.
Virginia Woolf remarked that: This work laid the foundations for the formalist approach to art. He defined it as that experience which is aroused by significant form.
I mean, writing can be agonizing, as you know, as anybody who writes knows. There is some pleasure too, in the struggle for the right word or the right structure or formulation in tone. Writing is something I avoid for as long as I can, and then when I do it, I enjoy it.
The Critic is Not an Artist
The anxiety of writing is expressed in the book through the intermittent dialogues that you have with yourself. It underlines the idea that a critic can be of two minds about their opinions even as they develop and express them. Hedging is part of the process.
It can make readers impatient. It may make readers of this book impatient. I have a tendency to try to look at arguments from both sides and to work dialectically.
I try to entertain those. Those dialogue sections of the book, which I cribbed from Oscar Wilde in The Decay of Lying and The Critic as Artist, were meant to represent that ambivalence, or that quarrelling with oneself.
They were also a way to effectively dramatize what criticism is, which is an endless argument. I wanted to knock myself down right away and approach the reader not as a priestly authority—with all of the weight of the New York Times behind me—but as a person trying to figure stuff out, which is all I ever feel like I am, and all I ever can be.
What gives you the right? This is something where I am making the case for my own abilities every time I sit down to do it. Film criticism is, in my experience, a very charged lightning rod, because cinema is a largely democratized art form.
And yes, everybody goes to the movies, which is ingrained in the history of film critics, with James Agee, and Robert Warshow and Otis Ferguson. The first important film critics approached their jobs very explicitly in this way. Agee was the same way. In The Nation, he told his readers he was an amateur, and that he would just write about what he saw. He was one of the greatest film critics ever, partly because he was an extraordinary writer, and he kept that amateur status out in front while finding intelligent things to say.
In France or Germany, the intellectual culture is different and the ideas about film are a bit different; here, movies are a vernacular art and they demand a vernacular form of criticism. They resist specialization and expertise.
Dance Criticism; The Relationship Between Critics and Artists - Dancers' Group
If you read an opera critic or an architecture critic or even the theater critic in a newspaper, you feel like this person is an expert, and that their readership should defer. Not so with film criticism. They said that it was terrible and boring, and just a lot of action.
It can be tricky to try to engage with what the audience is seeing and responding to versus what you think is there.