Critical Mess: Art Critics on the State of their Practice

critical_messby Raphael Rubinstein
ISBN 978-1889097671
soft cover | 6 x 9 inches | 300 pages
Hard Press Editions, 2006

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.” 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.
Raphael Rubinstein is a New York-based poet and art critic who, since 2007, has been professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston. In 2002, the French government presented him with the award of Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters. In 2010, his blog The Silo won a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation arts writer grant.

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