In this essay I am going to address the problems of art criticism today and whether it still has value in today’s society.
It has been suggested that the critics of today feel they have a lack of influence and a lack of audience. Why is this? James Elkins claims that art criticism is ‘booming’ whilst at the same time is out of the view of contemporary debates which means that art criticism is also dying. There is so much produced from galleries, such as when the gallery put an exhibition on: it will produce a card with a short essay about the artist and work however these forms of art criticism seem to be deemed as unimportant and are quite often ignored. James Elkins states “art criticism is massively produced and massively ignored” as Elkins suggests that most art historians take no notice of what is published in magazines they may follow them as a guide but do not cite from these sources. Art criticism that is taken more seriously by scholars is that which is historically informed and has come out of academic institutions.
There has been a major shift when it concerns art criticism where it concerns art criticism as; in the beginning of the twentieth century it was very different. Critics focused more on the history of art and the history of their own practice. Elkins view is that there were broader comparisons between art critics where as now the contemporary critics seem to just look at the work in the exhibition or just a piece of work, there does not seem to be a very wide view of things or comparison. Art criticism is so hugely funded and there has become so much of it however it has turned into a voiceless practice in some aspects.
The catalog essays pro...
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... as one half is motivated by art history and the other half the critics are trying not to judge so not to give prejudgements ruining the work for people who are seeing it for the first time.
As some aspects of art criticism has moved on in the later twentieth century to being more descriptive rather than judgemental. Quentin Bell argues in 1973 there has been a decline of authoritative art critics. He believed there was no ‘canon’ of art critic such as Baudelaire because instead of having a strong critical voice, there was more of a need of description among art critics. Bell claims that art criticism has become ‘weak and dispersed’. He states “while the literature of art is, in publisher’s terms, booming, it has in one respect suffered a loss” as it needs an authoritative voice. Rosalind Krauss says she had been ‘extremely frustrated by the vagueness of opinion’.
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