Now that increasing numbers of people are stuck at home and sheltering in place, I figured I’d do a little series. Every weekday for the duration of this intense period, I’ll post a short definition of some term in/related to aesthetics and philosophy of art. Let’s see how this goes! See them all here.
The theme this week is art world stuff. Up today:
Terms of Art #25:
Definition: Art criticism involves analyzing, interpreting, and evalutating art, and then communicating that to others.
It’s that simple!
Anytime you have a conversation with a friend about what you think of the movie you just saw, or whether contemporary country music is any good, or whether Game of Thrones really should have ended the way it did, you too are engaging in art criticism!
Professional art critics sometimes have official credentials, like degrees in art history or other artistic fields. But sometimes they’re self-educated or credentialized in a different area. They might be journalists who’ve made the transition to thinking specifically about art, or art world members (working in galleries or at museums, etc.) who move into writing.
Not to be confused with (or MYTH BUSTING!):
criticism – In normal everyday terms, criticism means saying negative stuff: pointing out flaws and problems, or saying mean stuff to you or about others.
- John Ruskin (1819-1900) – possibly the most quintessential, OG art critic, big deal in the 19th century
- Clement Greenberg (1909-1994) – art critic famous for championing abstract expressionism
- Jerry Saltz (contemporary) – Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic for Vulture/New York magazine
- Roberta Smith (contemporary) – co-chief critic for The New York Times
- Peter Schjeldahl (contemporary) – chief art critic for The New Yorker