Art Critics Rock My World

So after a month of trying to figure out the real punchline of this blog, and thinking until this point that it was just a freeform commentary on all things art, I’m realizing that I’m equally (if not more) fascinated by the critics’ writing about the art as the art itself. Maybe it’s because I like to write and I’m in awe. Yep, that’s probably it.

Not only am I rocked by their descriptive language, but also their perception of the art. I think: how did they get that, from THAT?

Just “listen” to this, written by Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith for the Tate online:

Eva Rothschild’s sculptures have been likened to “artefacts from some lost civilisation or from some post-apocalyptic scenario” whose symbolic meanings have all but faded from memory or lie just beyond our current imaginings. Though leavened by wit and humour, especially evident in the choice of titles, their occasional intimations of esoteric magic also hint at something darker. Many perch on spindly stands, while some jut out from high corners, or arc precariously overhead, or appear to hover improbably in mid-air, a narrow cascade of coloured leather strips obscuring their support. Though fundamentally stable, they often appear to twist on their axes or teeter precariously. Her lexicon of forms is instantly recognisable, but surprisingly varied. It includes thick lumpen masses, thin angular slabs, sinuous coils, woven sheets, shaggy fringes and, above all, slender rods of painted wood that kink crazily here and there, creating complex, off-kilter geometries in space.

Pretty good stuff.

But a few other things: 1) without the art, there’d be no inspiration for those critics, and 2) many artists are on the fence about the critics… Bad review and your career is over, good review and you are flying high. Artists are beholden to the critics. Sometimes this does not paint a pretty picture.


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