Things I Might Conclude About Art Criticism

The Arts Review



1. Criticism is being involved


2. Criticism is an offering


3. Criticism is “a genre unto itself”1


4. Criticism “is crises”2


5. Criticism is generosity


6. Criticism is looking at a work of art long enough for it to speak to you


7. Criticism tries to negate that art is an it


8. Criticism says, forge clarity out of language


9. Criticism is like romance, all the highs and lows


10. Criticism is disassembling a subject and failing to couple it together


11. Criticism has no language


12. Criticism will make you enemies, maybe friends


13. Criticism may not save the world


14. Criticism is looking


15. Criticism is negotiating balance


16. Criticism asks: have I been honest with you?


17. Criticism is taking the parts out of the whole


18. Criticism makes you stop, like poetry


19. Criticism is writing with your heart


20. Criticism takes a stand


21. Criticism might be a moral compass


22. Criticism does not know the future but can predict it


23. Criticism sometimes begins with anger


24. Criticism sometimes begins with laughter


25. Criticism deals with “the futility of a gaze that arrives too late.”3


26. Criticism must not be a language-game


27. Criticism must not “forget about grammar and think about potatoes.”4


28. Criticism admits “that sentences are often used on the borderline between logic and the empirical, so that their meaning shifts back and forth and they are now expressions of norms, now treated as expressions of experience…”5


29. Criticism sometimes takes the reader for granted


30. Criticism sometimes assumes there is no reader


31. Criticism knows that “all art is meaningless to those for whom life itself is merely a spectacle”6 so it deals with meaninglessness and the spectacular


32. Criticism is not advice


33. Criticism is finding happiness



1. Walter Benjamin


2. David Levi Strauss


3. Alfredo Jaar


4. Gertrude Stein


5. Ludwig Wittgenstein


6. John Berger



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