(HA) The Idea of the Separation of Artist and Art Institutions with the Idea of Contemporary Art Criticism

This blog post is about a discussion lecture (an assignment task) given in the History of Art and Museum Studies at LJMU. I will reflect on what was lectured in this post. The subject of this one is art criticism.

Art in contemporary times is presently an exchange of artist and the audience; therefore, due to the individualist characteristics of us humans- we will all perceive an artwork differently, whether it is an emotional reaction or literal reaction. I believe this depends on the context of the work and the idea of the audience who views it, especially in a political context. For example, for a climate change work of art, one may have similar views of the work with another audience member if they both believe the same political ideas, unlike one who denies that climate change exists.

Art, however, which has a political undertone that has not been highlighted in popular culture, will likely have a much more varied reaction. I have observed a linear political belief that some have – especially on social media (Twitter). In-depth, we can observe that if an idea does not align with something one individual does not simply see as ideal- it serves as something they would reject. I see it as a possibility of a sign of audiences not being educated on a topic to look at both perspectives and sides and simply absorbing information that they singularly only want to see.

Relating to my practice

I want to use one of my works as an example, especially the more “politically-inclined” work, “The Suffocation Tee“. Suffocation Tee received varied responses, mostly in approval of climate change being a problem plaguing this world. We had received a negative response which shows that audiences are more varied and not linear- though it was a response that I was disappointed to receive. It was a barrage of “facts” (quoted “fact” also known as opinions šŸ˜) that have not been verified by sources, possibly using conspiracy theories and unverified information.

I see this as a problem due to the possibility of disinformation to create uninformed opinions about artworks – especially if there are racist (or any of the nasty isms) undertonesā€”the exchange of artist and audience, based on the audience type with which the work is exchanged.

Coming back to my project, we can see racist undertones in the comment I had received, which I shall highlight; “cheap masks that were manufactured in [a certain country] that were supposed to protect people from the [same country’s] virus are now littered all over the place”. I will admit; that this is now on the Suffocation Tee- but that it is because the work is socially engaging, and I wished to showcase everyone’s view. We should separate the reaction from the artist- sometimes misinformed artwork ideas could help encourage new audiences to share ideas about an artist’s work.

Excerpt of this and how one can use art criticism

In the lecture, what was also discussed was how we write art criticism, we must simply ask; “is it good art or bad art? who is the artist?”. We must ask these questions while understanding who our audience is before writing. We must be descriptive and then proceed to put our personal opinion into it after the audience knows what we’re talking about. That we must also cut blubber and filter out unneeded information and proofread our text.

From this discussion session, I believe this can help validate art critiques – especially in the digital age when anyone can be a critique. But who is a good critique and this develops how we can differentiate between those who sprout blubber and those who don’t.