Since art criticism is recognised as an art form (in Finland, you can receive a grant as critic), why isn’t it art?
Most of it is in the form of reviews. I don’t mind the social and economic function of it, but I wonder why so often reviews are about creating heroes, e.g. “voice of a generation”, “the most promising young artist”, “this year’s [x]” etc.
Everyone knows this is not how art, for most parts, works (critics know this, too, I’m sure). A number of people are into something and inspired by each other. So why is it so rare to see criticism that looks at currents (both aquatic and electric), and currencies (the trading of legitimacy)? Especially in Finland there’s none of that, almost ever. I’ve said this before, but I’d love to read criticism that is more cartography than Lonely Planet, more about strategy than individual scores.
How could art criticism be art? I think the requirement for art is simple (NO NEED TO THANK ME FOR CRACKING THIS ONE): feel around the conditions of your doings, and be prepared to change your ways of doing entirely. So it's basically self-awareness, although this definition tastes like both adequate and elitist, somehow.
Pekko once said artists should be creating new social architecture. As socialist realist as that may sound, I agree with them. That’s the biggest thing art can do, to change the ways in which we relate to each other (with “relate” I don’t mean the passive-aggressive forcing of audience members into participating in ad hoc woodwork).
Criticism that is silently satisfied with the given forms and categories and audience relationships is careerism. I really have nothing against making a career, but why confuse terms? If you’re not into art, why would you hang around it? The same could be said even and especially of the old genres. It’s strange how we accept something as art just because things that resemble it used to be historically called art. Even saying this feels nauseating, but I still mean to mean it: how is theatre, visual arts, etc. art if it’s satisfied with its own self? (omg is neurotic self-reflection the only kind of art that is accepted in the court of Pappa Modig THIS PARTS NEED MORE RESEARCH AND LIVED LIFE)
This is starting to sound like bullying or door policy, but I guess that’s the horrible side of drawing lines. I don’t want to shy away from saying I have a stake in “what is art”, since I do. I don’t share this idea of art being something you learn and then repeat and modify a little. That line of thinking is in direct opposition of what I’m trying to do with my life. And because it’s my life, I don’t feel embarrassed to talk about what is art.
Everything about showing a work (or your own body) is problematic. In “Crowds and Power”, Elias Canetti waxes for 500 pages about various public formations of humans. When it came to theatre, the Nobelist could only say that it’s too complicated a social structure to be dealt with in its entirety, and he wasn’t most likely even aware of intersectionality.
The same could be said of any kind of presentation and viewing of art works. It’s a complicated living site, and it’s never purely “equal” or “free”. Showing works comes with issues of power, accessibility, class, identity, and so forth. And the most exciting events allow for dealing with this. If (an) art writing cannot do this, how is it art, then? Well, obviously, through a different definition, one that I’m not aware of yet or do not share.
I want to add that everyone who puts themselves out there (here?) to be criticised for their thoughts is a comrade. But some fight a different battle. I wouldn’t trust myself in sorting out which side to pick, but I feel it’s fair to say these things out loud so you know what you get if you align yourself with me or vice versa. This is how I think, this is my side. I love to visit other sides, but I’ll always return here. (PHILO-NATIONALIST MUCH??) We can’t be everywhere so I’m beginning to figure out where I am.
note: i might revise this text. Last edit Sep 26, 2016 10:09am