300pp, 6x9”, paper, November 2006
Suddenly, critics everywhere seem to feel their profession needs thorough re-examination. In a pluralist, global, market-driven art world, how should a critic approach the evaluation of visual art? As some critics have chosen to adopt a more journalistic stance, others have called for a more honest, opinionated critical practice. One of the first articles to open up debate about criticism was Raphael Rubinstein's 2003 Art in America polemic, "A Quiet Crisis".
Now, Rubinstein has assembled an anthology of writings by international critics on the state of art criticism. Among the contents are English critic J.J. Charlesworth's "The Dysfunction of Criticism", American art historian and critic Lane Relyea's "All Over and At Once" and Rubinstein's own "A Quiet Crisis". Other key texts are included by prominent art critics such as Arthur C. Danto, James Elkins, Eleanor Heartney, Jerry Saltz, Peter Plagens, Nancy Princenthal and Katy Siegel.
This volume will give readers a full picture of the current debate about the nature of art criticism, a debate that has become as heated and questioning as the discourse on contemporary art in general.
“In the last 3 or 4 decades, critics have begun to avoid judgments altogether preferring to describe or evoke the art rather than say what they think of it. In 2002, a survey conducted by the Columbia
University National Arts Journalism Program found that judging art is the least popular goal among American art critics. This is an amazing reversal, as astonishing as if physicists had declared they would no longer try to understand the universe, but just appreciate it.” – James Elkins
"It strikes me as a fascinating mystery that art criticism has turned so abruptly from the engaged, passionate, historically informed practice it was before the later twentieth century into the huge, massively funded, but invisible and voiceless practice it has effectively become.” – Peter Plagens
Other Mission Critical Titles
Abstract Expressionism and the American Experience: A Reevaluation
Seeing out Louder: Art Criticism,
Writings and Artwork
Other Titles by this Author