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Art criticism

Parent categories: art - criticism

Related: death of the avant-garde - art theory - aesthetics

People: Donald Kuspit - Manny Farber - Susan Sontag - Clement Greenberg - Arthur C. Danto - John Ruskin - Paul Taylor - Catherine Millet - Harold Rosenberg - John Berger - Rosalind E. Krauss - Mario Praz

American modern art criticism as professed by Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois, Denis Hollier, and Hal Foster has been much influenced by Bataille. Although I should add that it has not only been Bataille who influenced American art and literary criticism; the whole of French theory has had an enormous -- and by some much bemoaned -- influence on postmodern American theory, much like German theory was influential in post-war France.

Art criticism

The practice of analyzing, classifying, interpreting, or evaluating literary or other artistic works. --American Heritage Dictionary

Art criticism is the study and evaluation of art. This criticism usually involves the use of aesthetics or the philosophy of beauty although there are other techniques. Part of the purpose of art criticism is to have a rational basis for the appreciation of art and avoid subjective opinions of taste but this is not always achieved.

Art critics have probably existed for as long as there has been art and some people may argue that art is pointless without criticism. Usually though art criticism refers to a systematic study of art performed by people dedicated to that task rather than personal opinion. Throughout history wealthy patrons have been able to employ people to evaluate art for them in jobs similar to the art critic but it's probable that only from the 19th century onwards criticism had developed formal methods and became a more common vocation.

The variety of artistic movements, particularly in the late 19th and 20th century, means that art criticism is frequently divided into different disciplines, frequently using very different criteria for their judgements. The most common division in the field of criticism is between fine art and modern art although the later is often again subdivided.

Artists have often had an uneasy relationship with their critics. The artist usually needs the good opinions of the critic for their work to be viewed and purchased but it may be some time before a new form of art is properly understood and appreciated. Some critics are unable to adapt to new movements in art and allow their opinions to override their objectivity making criticism, at times, extremely intemperate. John Ruskin famously compared one of James Whistler's paintings to "flinging a pot of paint in the public's face".

Criticism usually takes place in books, magazines and newspapers and more recently on television and the Internet. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_criticism [Apr 2005]

Heinrich Wölfflin

Heinrich Wölfflin (June 21, 1864 – July 19, 1945) was a Swiss art critic, whose classifying principles ("painterly" vs. "linear" and the like) were influential in the development of formal analysis in the History of art during the 20th century.

His three books, still consulted, are Renaissance und Barock (1888), Die Klassische Kunst (1898, "Classic Art"), and Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe (1915, "Principles of Art History").

For Wölfflin, the 16th-century art now described as "Mannerist" was part of the Baroque esthetic, one that Burckhardt before him as well as most French and English-speaking scholars for a generation after him dismissed as degenerate. [Oct 2005]

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_W%C3%B6lfflin

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