Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Critic as Artist

"For it is the critical faculty that invents fresh forms."

I find Oscar Wilde's argument compelling, but I'm a little resistant to the idea that criticism is responsible for inventing new forms. Or rather, I'm resistant to this justifying arts criticism as a branch of journalism. I think that every artist has to be a critic in their field, otherwise progress doesn't happen. So in that sense I agree with Wilde's sentiment. When I do arts work I'm highly critical of what I'm doing and always think about my next project. But does this mean that we need critics publishing their thoughts in the media to advance art?

I'd argue that we don't. I think, as someone mentioned in class the other day, that artists compete with each other more than they strive to please critics. I guess part of that stems from needing to be noticed by critics and by the public. But I just don't know if I'd credit arts critics as the ones advancing the movement. It seems a little drastic. I think it undermines the autonomy of the artist and their ability to assess their own work and avoid re-creating the same pieces over and over. Also, some well-known people do that despite critics. It happens all the time.

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