On Criticism

Thursday 10-30-08 7 pm
Guild and Greyshkul, 28 Wooster St, NYC
On Criticism

ERNEST: I have fool­ish habit of read­ing peri­od­i­cals, and it seems to me that most mod­ern crit­i­cism is per­fectly valueless.

GILBERT: So is most mod­ern cre­ative work also. Medi­oc­rity weigh­ing medi­oc­rity in the bal­ance, and incom­pe­tence applaud­ing its brother — that is the spec­ta­cle which the artis­tic activ­ity of Eng­land affords us from time to time.

Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist, 1891

Ques­tion­ing the rel­e­vancy of crit­i­cism is hardly the exclu­sive sport of a con­tem­po­rary audi­ence. The roles, val­ues, and goals of crit­i­cism have been as con­tested as any indi­vid­ual critic’s pro­nounce­ments. What fac­tors, then, uniquely beset art crit­i­cism now? What basis is there for the widely espoused claim that we are in a “post crit­i­cal” age? In a highly diver­si­fied and cross-disciplinary art world, what con­sti­tutes a con­flict of inter­est for a critic? How have blog­ging and self-publishing through the Inter­net affected art writ­ing? 

On Crit­i­cism brings together crit­ics writ­ing for print and online pub­li­ca­tions, edi­tors, and artists writ­ing crit­i­cism to dis­cuss such ques­tions. Colleen Asper mod­er­ates the dis­cus­sion, fol­lowed by a Q&A with the audience.


Featuring Jan Avgikos, Ben Davis, John Miller, Joao Ribas, Martha Schwendener, and Roger White.

JAN AVGIKOS is an art critic and historian based in New York. She is a recipient of the Frank Jewett Mather Award given by the College Art Association for distinction in critical writing. Her writings have appeared in Artscribe, Artforum, Parkett, Aperture, and many other publications. Avgikos is on the faculty of Columbia University, NYU, and SVA. Recent publications include texts on Mauricio Cattelan (Any-Space-Whatever, Guggenheim) and Jeff Koons (Guggenheim Bilbao), and forthcoming texts on Roni Horn (DIA) and Juan Munoz (Reina Sofía).

BEN DAVIS is Associate Editor of Artnet Magazine. He also writes for the Village Voice, Adbusters, and other publications.

JOHN MILLER is an artist and writer based in New York and Berlin. He is an Associate Professor in Barnard College s Art History Department. His work is currently on view at Sutton Lane in London.

JOAO RIBAS is Curator at The Drawing Center and a widely published critic. His writing on art, film, design, and literature has appeared in The New York Sun, Art Review, Time Out, PAPER, Tema Celeste, The Guardian Unlimited, Artnet, and other publications. His most recent exhibition "Rirkrit Tiravanija: Demonstration Drawings" is currently on view at The Drawing Center. He is currently working on retrospectives of the Surrealist writer Unica Zurn and American artist Ree Morton, is a frequent lecturer on art and critical theory, and an adjunct professor at SVA.

MARTHA SCHWENDENER is a writer based in Brooklyn. She studied art history at Columbia College, Columbia University, and the City University of New York s Graduate Center. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, Flash Art, and other publications.

ROGER WHITE is a painter and writer based in Brooklyn. Along with Dushko Petrovich, he edits Paper Monument, a semi-annual journal of contemporary art published in association with n+1. An exhibition of his work is currently on view at the Rachel Uffner Gallery in New York.