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Re: [BKARTS] Book Art Criticism

On Jan 22, 2006, at 3:36 PM, jessica syme wrote:

I can say "That repulses me" but can I really say "that artist is an idiot or incompetent" and call that art criticism? Does art criticism have some criteria we hold the work against, and if so who sets this criteria..the public, the artist, the market, the academic world? or the professional critics? My 'take' is that it is the intent of the artist that has to set the criteria, because other criterion move over time, place, and personal taste so much as to not be reliable and consistent enough to hold in front of your work and try to paint or create in order to please something outside yourself.. and is that art? .

I don't think it fair to say an artist is an idiot. [Though there is the Ashleigh Brilliant quote: "Not all of our artists are playing a joke on the public. Some are genuinely mad.} To say that someone is incompetent, yes, that's fair. As someone said earlier, you are doing the incompetent artist a favor by telling him that his work is poor and that he needs more training.

Judgment is formed on a basis of one's own background in the medium under consideration. I have no way of judging whether a piece of oriental brush lettering is brilliant or ugly. I know virtually nothing about it and have no basis upon which to form a judgment. On the other hand, I know a great deal about calligraphy and illumination. This is the result of many, many years of study and work and training in the field. I have, therefore, a valuable resource to draw upon and a basis upon which to form a judgement as to the skill or lack thereof exhibited in a calligraphy work. I am competent to make a judgment in this area. There are juried exhibits, and the jurors are those who have a background in the field they are judging.

There is an impressionist exhibition on here at the moment and these paintings have such wide appeal, it is hard not to think that there is some standard that is generally known and agreed upon that we all bow to....Where does this standard come from? What is art criticism?

I suppose the thing that springs to mind here is the trite saying, "I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like." Everybody does. There is a generally agreed upon perception of what constitutes beauty, and this probably changes from one culture to another. Even the Impressionists, so beloved today, were reviled when the movement was new. Caravaggio, Beethoven, Rembrandt, Bach, the Pucelle Brothers, van der Goes, Michaelangelo, The Master of Mary of Burgundy, Mozart, and on and on - most of us would agree that what they created was beautiful. I can't say what the standard is for art in general comes from. I simply don't know. I know the basis for my standards of beauty in my own field, and I could tell you what they are. This is a narrow field, though, and you raised the question of art in general.

I believe it is inevitable that skill comes into the equation. If there is no perception that the creator or a work is skilled, is the work seen as beautiful?

Sally Jackson

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