Friday, April 15, 2005

I just checked ArtsJournal's home page and saw this mention of The Art Newspaper's article on critics by Marc Spiegler called "Do art critics still matter?" where he states
In the popular imagination, the art critic seems a commanding figure, making and breaking careers at will, but one hard look at today’s contemporary art system reveals this notion to be delusional.
Although he does admit that the delusion still operates on a functional level:
Granted, today’s critics still have the power of directing their spotlight. “I can’t tell you how often I go into a museum or gallery and have someone practically beg for coverage”, points out Tyler Green, the Bloomberg News art critic better known for his blog Modern Art Notes.
And oddly enough, Tyler Green's blog is hosted at ArtsJournal ... some nice circular references that support each others' publications. Who says the art world isn't chummy?

On a more serious note, he uses Clement Greenberg as a measuring stick and points out that we need people who can authoritatively make evaluations in the "now" who aren't in bed with the people making a business of art (collectors and gallery owners).
The art world, like any organism, requires a certain amount of pruning to stay healthy. So the disempowerment of critics—our putative pruners—should cause concern.
And in order to help critics do the necessary pruning, he thinks they need to learn how to write. Really.
Obviously, an unremitting emphasis on clear, compelling writing would give critics some chance of actually being read.
There you have it. Although I'm not clear on how such reading translates into a renewal of their power to prune?
The New Yorker Article

I can call it "The New Yorker Article" because a lot of people have read it and, in the weaving world, know exactly what I mean. Written by Richard Preston, it gives a great in-depth portrait of what it is like to find the other dimensions of tapestry. People in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance came to know these other dimensions -- tapestry simply does not stay flat on the wall. If tapestry DID stay flat on the wall people would think something was wrong.

Thank heavens for a good writer. He has a website with a lot of information. Here's a quote from him about writing:
Accuracy of detail is supremely important in writing. When I’m researching a book, I conduct large numbers of in-depth interviews with people, and I also try to experience their lives and work. Typically I “over-interview”—that is, I conduct too many interviews. I end up with as many as 60 notebooks full of material, and I’m unable to use much of it, but it’s like fishing, and I’m somehow able to land a few big fish.
As far as I can tell, he didn't miss any details with regards to tapestry in writing the above article. Some confusion appeared over his "weft runs vertical" comment -- but for anyone who views a tapestry that is exactly what it does.

Think of me as fervently hoping for more articles like this to appear in the world. And I might end up with a big smile on my face when they do.