Thoughts from the front line...

The thing with any form of art criticism these days is of course the thorny issue that you're not actually allowed to say anything negative because, you know, feelings.

 

It's probably why most art writing is anything but critical, too timid to creep beyond the axis of 'I can please everyone' and 'I'll record this in such a dispassionate way that it would shame Hemingway'. Sprinkle in a few art-world weasel words for a deeper lack of understanding and you're onto a winner. These trends make it hard to work out if anything is good or bad, all too often lumped in the 'ahh but all art is subjective isn't it?' bucket. Let's be honest; there's a lot of art writing which doesn't really say much at all, and because we tolerate it, we're all worse off.

 

Nepotistic group narratives - often predetermined by editors, curators, and those in positions of power - are created to prop up lazy work, learning is confused by dreadfully opaque art writing, cringeworthy buzzwords are released with 'fly-my-pretties' abandon, and anything that doesn't fit the cultural narrative (let alone offer a dissenting voice) gets marginalised because art cannot be critiqued outside of the narrative it was created within.

 

All the more reason then, for more of us to be doing more of it.