Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / It’s tempting to lament the demise of the takedown review. The form invites both schadenfreude and outrage, which are energizing. In the literary world, it had been fading for some time until B.R. Myers and Dale Peck revived it in the naughts. They enjoyed an extended moment of visceral celebrity, but it seemed to burn out relatively quickly on a pyre of stern earnestness. Literary Hub does publish a list of the year’s “most scathing book reviews,” but the targeted screeds – self-promoting Beltway memoirs, vanity projects by anointed novelists, didactic polemics masquerading as fiction – tend to be overripe, low-hanging fruit that would be exempt from even the most charitable standard of forbearance. The general rule of civility is still that the compulsion to shape opinion is best served by measured reason rather than reactive assault.
Contributed by Sharon Butler / Sean Tatol, the art critic who writes a snarky website called Manhattan Art Review, recently penned a piece for The Point about art criticism titled “Negative Criticism, a sentimental education.” In an era in which many critics prefer to describe work rather than judge it, Tatol’s Manhattan Art Review is notable for the “Kritic’s Korner” — short, sometimes scathing reviews that include a star ranking system: five is great, four is good, three is okay, two is bad, and one is awful. At artnet critic Ben Davis took a deep dive into Tatol’s essay in a two-part piece (one and two), that brings in ideas by other critics who have written on the topic. Davis wonders if “’negative criticism’”’ is the right way to frame the solution, or even if ‘the question of judgment’ is really a full picture of what is at stake.” I asked contributors at Two Coats of Paint if they had any thoughts about the essays or the state of art criticism today, and today we are running responses from critic David Carrier and artist-critic Laurie Fendrich.
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / A clear strain in American letters celebrates the capacity of insouciant and unabashedly disreputable people to say things that matter by cutting through the flatulent smog that tends to enshroud orthodoxies. The Lost Generation had Ernest Hemingway, and Baby Boomers had Hunter S. Thompson and Dave Hickey, who passed away in November at 82. These guys particularly Thompson but undeniably Hemingway and Hickey as well showcased their disdain for convention and their embrace of the drunken and the stoned, the naughty and the down-and-out. But all three were dead serious about life and death, and that emerged in their work.
Blogger/artist Steven Alexander reports that, “anyone who is a lover of painting will inevitably feel a rush of recognition — that increasingly rare sense of being in the presence of an authentic voice. At once familiar and challenging, this rich new body of work is like the visual equivalent of […]
Regina Hackett, the longtime art critic at the Seattle P-I, which recently laid off all but twenty staffers and ceased publishing a print edition, has joined Lee Rosenbaum (CultureGrrl) over at Arts Journal, the daily digest of arts news and commentary. Hackett and Arts Journal’s editor Douglas McLennan used to […]
In the LA Times art blog David Pagel reports that the six paintings and four prints in Snyder�s L.A. solo debut at SolwayJones Gallery are vintage Snyder. “Chewy clots of mismatched materials wrestled into abstract images that are lyrical without being lightweight, visceral without being heavy-handed. The fleshy physicality and […]
David Nolan features work by Serban Savu this month. Savu, part of a group of artists from Cluj, schooled in the tradition of Social Realism, grew up during the 1989 overturn of the Communist regime. He is one of the few painters from this group who still lives and works […]
In The Brooklyn Rail, Greg Lindquist looks at Peter Doig’s new large-scale paintings, which are up until tomorrow at Gavin Brown and Michael Werner. “While Doig�s current work reflects his recent relocation to Trinidad and the unaccustomed imagery this has inspired, the paintings lack material presence. The canvases in these […]
Update (March 9): For snaps of the installation, check out Joanne Mattera Art Blog here. Watch VernissageTV’s video of the blogpix opening. Today (March 3) I’m delivering 5 paintings for the “blogpix” show to Denise Bibro Fine Art’s Platform Project Space. Organized by Olympia Lambert, the show is view March […]
Art Fag City reports that Art in America has at long last gone online, which means I can finally share Barry Schwabsky’s recent essay about the uses of words in art. Schwabsky considers Mel Bochner‘s new collection of writing and interviews, Solar System & Rest Rooms: Writings and Interviews, 1965�2007 […]