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« "Post Time" [by David Lehman] | Main | Tool Talk: On Vantage Point (by Jenny Factor) »

September 18, 2008

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Great discussion of the elements of good criticism. Seems the best critics are hyper-attentive to their response to a work of art and they have the vocabulary (not the jargon) to describe that response. I have in mind Edwin Denby's dance criticism. He describes the action on the stage (difficult because it is fleeting) and the associations and feelings that it arouses in him, the viewer. All informed by a deep understanding of the form - the history, the context, and such. Great post (they all are). Thanks.

You have hit on one of the elements of art criticism that drives me bonkers - its prediliction for being completely incomprehensible to the average reader. More than once, I have been reduced to utter confusion by sentences in publications like "Artforum." I'm a language person; I teach writing, for God's sake; and even I can't untangle some of the jargon and abstraction. How does confusion inform anyone's experience with a work of art? That's why I love reading people like Frank O'Hara on art; and John Ashbery on Joe Brainard is just wonderful. Poets in general seem to have a facility for writing about art - maybe because their job is to render the visual and the abstract into words. Thanks for your post - I was starting to think I needed to take ginko biloba before reading any art criticism.

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I left it
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