A critic is like a governess in the bleakest and most macabre of Victorian novels, where the social order remains intact, and there is room for neither mobility nor love, only a little bit of upstairs-downstairs at the expense of the poor girl’s reputation and hopes, and, in the end, she realizes she’s in love with a corpse while her best friend, an artist, marries rich.
An excerpt from an essay that I’m currently writing with the critic Manuel Cirauqui. It follows from the thesis for the Art Criticism course I’ve taught at Emily Carr University for the past two years:
There is no such thing as art criticism, only a series of forms dictated and commissioned by magazines, institutions, and websites. The critic, much like a poet, needs to be able to articulate and execute these forms. Critique, as such, does not occur in the creation of discrete statements, whether descriptive or evaluative. Instead, it arises in the pattern created by the collection or accumulation of predetermined forms. How a critic works with and in these patterns determines the nature of the critical project. While the statement itself remains an integral part of critique, the critic must recognize the limitations of a statement under these conditions. He or she must be aware of how statements work in relation to each other, the pattern of the whole creating the critical discourse. What the critic needs to do is have these predetermined forms undermine their established limits.