Zeitschrift Umělec 2006/2 >> A Better Life with Criticism Übersicht aller Ausgaben
A Better Life with Criticism
Zeitschrift Umělec
Jahrgang 2006, 2
6,50 EUR
8 USD
Die Printausgabe schicken an:
Abo bestellen

A Better Life with Criticism

Zeitschrift Umělec 2006/2

01.02.2006

Simone Schardt | u-sobě | en cs

Following up the tradition of thinking in decades that we find in the latest history of art, it seems that the decade 2000-2010 is a period of reflection and criticism of the conditions in which art is done: Meta-criticism is born. However, the question of conditions in the art world is just one target - another target is the increasing influence of criticism when it comes to the market value of art works. The strong ties between the TOP 50 Artists lists and art criticism today appears more questionable than ever before. Just as any other branch of culture production, art criticism had to act self-explanatory in terms of its tools. The demand for questions concerning the instruments of criticism, however, has reached the public ear. Two motifs have put criticism in a crisis: 1. The critic underlies the same socioeconomic dependencies as the artist, and, 2. Criticism concerns a product that is financed and sold in advance1. Not the art pieces are competing – a classic situation imparting the critic the function of a judge – instead the critical texts themselves are competing.

The principle of selection

A year ago, an article published in this magazine asked the following question: Why do we read art magazines? Just by repeating the question you almost get the answer. The author’s aim was to define art magazines (resp. art literature) as the location of criticism.2 Not the kind of positivistic criticism that produces blueprints of life or whatever it is they produce while contradicting and abandoning the existing habits, but that kind of criticism that presently finds itself at risk of losing its identity as well as its personnel. Art criticism has fallen ill with the creeping disease of selection. Selection is the sharpest form criticism can take. The never-ending flow of art products pours into every existing corner of the art world. The critic doesn’t even have to leave their 15-inch desktop in order to find it. The art will come to them in the form of magazines, web sites, fliers, press releases and invites composed by eager interns. Face to face with these masses of information selection is work that clearly has to be done. But this is not enough. Criticism still needs to be performed – not as a affirmative description of an exhibition but offering more resistance and able to come up with a scathing criticism.

Places of criticism

Trying to help the happy Arty Jetset Family in terms of communication a private language has derived, created in long processes of differentiation and thoroughly distributed via the multiple veins of art media. There is a clear differentiation between daily press and art press whenever credibility becomes an issue. In general, the art media gets full credit for better quality. This is deceptive. With few exceptions, the art press is free of criticism - critics have become mere heralds of what’s news.3 Critical statements are rather found on the culture pages of daily papers. It seems that the daily press is able to accomplish lateral thinking outside of its own jargon thereby achieving the necessary critical distance, a skill, the authors of flashy art mags have lost the ability to perform. One of the reasons is the clear difference of economic dependence between the two professions. An editor of the culture section of a daily paper simply is an editor. An editor of a culture magazine is usually part of multiple art activities that obviously widen their influence in the art scene but seem to diminish their ability of being critical. A thorough reflection of these kind of art relations might sound helpful but will sustain nothing but wishful thinking.

The subject of the critic

Criticism describes the art of judgement. This is no call for the hard grip of art criticism performed in cultural salons of the 19th century - and even less so for the dichotomic-symbiotic and rather masculine phrased the art critic and his artist relation of modernism. This process will not be ended soon shown by the appearance of free critics in dissociation of the artist-bound critic. The free critic is the follow-up model of the free curator, taking its beginnings with Harald Szeemann and where the detachment of an institution as well as employer/employee relationship seemed rather logical. The purely fictional figure of a free art critic, on the other hand, appears to be a paradox, a last attempt of rebellion against modernism that is believed to have been overcome long ago. The appearance of a free art critic prepares the dissolution of the subject of the art critic itself, as from today the only art critics to be found in the scene will be critics-as-curators, critics-as-artists, artists-as-critics and other dualisms. This clearly has advantages and disadvantages. Of disadvantage obviously is the loss of absence of critical distance. A genuine advantage – referring especially to all artists-as-critics – is the detachment of academic formulas, rudiments of the salon culture. Representative texts can be found within the works of Robert Smithon4, or Michael Baldwin, Charles Harrison and Mel Ramsden demand for a discourse of second order5, promising an analysis of the return of criticism to art production.

The futile call for authority

Nevertheless, the strong call for a more coherent subject of the critic can’t be missed – thus, a constructed gap is creating all kinds of desire looking for a re-animated authority to fill the space. This authority should find its competence on expertise and specialized knowledge, which should be passed on by yet another institutionalized even higher authority. A hopeless attempt - as there is no academic qualification for how to become an art critic. By the way, this fate is shared with the profession of gallery owner. These professions still follow the unwritten and mythically embellished laws of calling. Another wish calls for a new and poetic language, a language of the heart. Would this language still comply with the requirements of a yet undesignated authority? Couldn’t it be that the desired instruments of language already exist but the courage for scathing criticism is missing? That the problem rather is not HOW to say something but WHAT to say? And couldn’t it be that it is the artists - who more or less maneuver in the eye of the hurricane - who are ready to find the courage to speak out? Simply because they have nothing to lose? Because they are standing at the end of the economic value-chain? Because they are the only ones anyway who are willing to read through a text of more than 4,000 characters? Today everyone else seems to miss out on social networking, lose their next business flight or miss a long looked-for working dinner. And, couldn’t it be that this available time quota mirrors the reciprocal means of power? The more time there is available the less its value in an economy of attention?
What if criticism as a consequence of Frederic Jameson’s consternated loss of distance lost its power of the old salon days and, instead, became dependent on the culturebiz - even more, that criticism presents the weakest link in the culture chain?

So what?

A paradoxical situation: On one hand, there is a many-voiced moan for competent criticism, on the other hand, there is no one to fill the gap. Too engrained is the image of the critic as a server of truth, always fighting for the good. In these days nobody wants - and nobody can - take the position of an advocate beyond reproach. The old authority-aligned model has been redeemed by a multiplicity of voices. In order to ensure the survival of criticism these voices have to speak on-record and they must be heard. Otherwise we are at danger of even more boulevard exhibitions, which serve all tastes and don’t hold anything that is worth a critical mention. Criticism that merely uses a frictionless method of selection is superfluous anyway.

1) Philip Ursprung: "Niedergang der Kritik?" in Woz, Nr. 5, 2. Februar 2006.
2) Travis Jeppesen: On The Expulsion of The Friendless Warrior, Umelec 2/2005.
3) Robert Smithson: Gesammelte Schrif-ten, (Hg.) Eva Schmidt, Kai Vöckler, Cologne: König 2000.
4) Michael Baldwin, Charles Harrison, Mel Ramsden: "Art History, Art Criticism and Explanation" (1981) in: Pollock and After. The Critical Debate, (Hg.) Francis Frascina, London 1985.
5) Frederic Jameson: Postmoderne – zur Logik der Kultur im Spätkapitalismus (1984), in Postmoderne. Zeichen eines kulturellen Wandels, (Hg.) Andreas Huyssen, Klaus R. Scherpe, Reinbek: Rowohlt 1986.




Kommentar

Der Artikel ist bisher nicht kommentiert worden

Neuen Kommentar einfügen

Empfohlene Artikel

Missglückte Koproduktion Missglückte Koproduktion
Wenn man sich gut orientiert, findet man heraus, dass man jeden Monat und vielleicht jede Woche die Chance hat, Geld für sein Kulturprojekt zu bekommen. Erfolgreiche Antragsteller haben genug Geld, durchschnittlich so viel, dass sie Ruhe geben, und die Erfolglosen werden von der Chance in Schach gehalten. Ganz natürlich sind also Agenturen nur mit dem Ziel entstanden, diese Fonds zu beantragen…
Magda Tóthová Magda Tóthová
Mit Anleihen aus Märchen, Fabeln und Science-Fiction drehen sich die Arbeiten von Magda Tóthová um moderne Utopien, Gesellschaftsentwürfe und deren Scheitern. Persönliche und gesellschaftliche Fragen, Privates und Politisches werden behandelt. Die Personifizierung ist das zentrale Stilmittel für die in den Arbeiten stets mitschwingende Gesellschaftskritik und das Verhandeln von Begriffen, auf…
Contents 2016/1 Contents 2016/1
Contents of the new issue.
Meine Karriere in der Poesie oder:  Wie ich gelernt habe, mir keine Sorgen  zu machen und die Institution zu lieben Meine Karriere in der Poesie oder: Wie ich gelernt habe, mir keine Sorgen zu machen und die Institution zu lieben
Der Amerikanische Dichter wurde ins Weiße Haus eingeladet, um seine kontroverse, ausstehlerische Poesie vorzulesen. Geschniegelt und bereit, für sich selber zu handeln, gelangt er zu einer skandalösen Feststellung: dass sich keiner mehr wegen Poesie aufregt, und dass es viel besser ist, eigene Wände oder wenigstens kleinere Mauern zu bauen, statt gegen allgemeine Wänden zu stoßen.
04.02.2020 10:17
Wohin weiter?
offside - vielseitig
S.d.Ch, Einzelgängertum und Randkultur  (Die Generation der 1970 Geborenen)
S.d.Ch, Einzelgängertum und Randkultur (Die Generation der 1970 Geborenen)
Josef Jindrák
Wer ist S.d.Ch? Eine Person mit vielen Interessen, aktiv in diversen Gebieten: In der Literatur, auf der Bühne, in der Musik und mit seinen Comics und Kollagen auch in der bildenden Kunst. In erster Linie aber Dichter und Dramatiker. Sein Charakter und seine Entschlossenheit machen ihn zum Einzelgänger. Sein Werk überschneidet sich nicht mit aktuellen Trends. Immer stellt er seine persönliche…
Weiterlesen …
australia
Spaghetti Sauce on Your Moo Shoo Pork
Charlie Citron
Weiterlesen …
Lithuania
Road trip Lithuania
Road trip Lithuania
Arunase Gudaitas
Aš menininkas — Aš save myliu Vincent van Gogh in one letter to his brother described a café as a place where one could easily go insane. The café in the Center for Contemporary Art (CAC) in Vilnius is such a place. Insider connoisseurs of the local scene consider it “very bohemian” and, indeed, in contrast to traditionally lackluster and overpriced eateries in museums, the atmosphere in the CAC…
Weiterlesen …
reportáž
Under the Shadow of Heroes
Under the Shadow of Heroes
Alena Boika
Weiterlesen …
Bücher und Medien, die Sie interessieren könnten Zum e-shop
This second part of the four-part publication project by the most playful Czech artist is dedicated to his companions in the...
Mehr Informationen ...
8 EUR
10 USD
2001, 21.5 x 28cm, Colour Drawing
Mehr Informationen ...
334,80 EUR
402 USD
The woman, put on a pedestal by Western culture, is usually beautiful, naked and defenseless. Klodová argues against this ideal...
Mehr Informationen ...
12 EUR
14 USD
From series of rare photographs never released before year 2012. Signed and numbered Edition. Photography on 1cm high white...
Mehr Informationen ...
220 EUR
264 USD

Studio

Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...
 

Zitat des Tages Der Herausgeber haftet nicht für psychische und physische Zustände, die nach Lesen des Zitats auftreten können.

Die Begierde hält niemals ihre Versprechen.
KONTAKTE UND INFORMATIONEN FÜR DIE BESUCHER Kontakte Redaktion

DIVUS LONDON

 

STORE
Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford

London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom
Open on appointment

 

OFFICE
7 West Street, Hastings
East Sussex, TN34 3AN
, United Kingdom
Open on appointment
 

Ivan Mečl
ivan@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 7526 902 082

DIVUS
NOVA PERLA
Kyjov 37, 407 47 Krásná Lípa
Czech Republic
divus@divus.cz
+420 222 264 830, +420 602 269 888

Open daily 10am to 6pm
and on appointment.

 

DIVUS BERLIN
Potsdamer Str. 161, 10783 Berlin
Germany

berlin@divus.cz, +49 (0) 1512 9088 150
Open on appointment.

 

DIVUS WIEN
wien@divus.cz
DIVUS MEXICO CITY
mexico@divus.cz
DIVUS BARCELONA
barcelona@divus.cz
DIVUS MOSCOW & MINSK

alena@divus.cz

DIVUS NEWSPAPER IN DIE E-MAIL
Divus New book by I.M.Jirous in English at our online bookshop.