Thursday, June 21, 2007
Becoming a critic presents an immediate challenge to those carefully cultivated tastes in oneself that were taken for granted for ages and had become a self-myth. As for everyone else? They expect praise or at least a small word of wisdom or to be slammed. That is a tricky line to walk for sure. If I have a reputation, it is for slamming Philly parochialism, but that is the least of my worries. These likes and dislikes I spoke of are still with me so I may have trouble looking at color field painting and finding it relevant or certain portentous video installations which slowly seem to be going out of fashion. My pet peeve is overly academic works seeking to challenge the arch postmodern art world by merely wishing it so. I also have trouble engaging with work that simply is not of a caliber to comment on. I do hold the view that art remains an important cultural impetus (barely) even though it has been brought down a notch or two in terms of elitism. That battle goes on. For every blue chip gallery, there are matching street galleries vying for a share of the attention. One could say generally that a dumbing down is so invisible now that elitists have no where to hide and have mellowed their stolid support of the classics whether from the Renaissance or the AB EX or the 80’s wundermeisters. Questions on young artists minds come from too many divergent points to bother with that old chestnut. Still, when I meet a peer, I wonder how smart they are and what kind of smarts it takes to be an artist or a critic for that matter. Is it Anti-Smarts? In the end I have found that my own likes and dislikes were well founded to a degree and mostly intuitive. They have promoted a bias that lead to building a stronger claim on what is real and what is complete Bollocks. Gosh, I sound like a critic.