Friday, March 02, 2012

Evaluate the thinking of critic Robert Pincus as he assesess the strengths of paintings by artist Rachel Stuart-Haas in sessions at Artspace Shreveport on Fri, Mar 2, and Sat, Mar 3

Once newspapers and even TV networks paid critics to write a stream of evaluation on arts presentations. Today that system is dead.

It may be that arts organizations such as SRAC should step in to employ critics to measure and judge the work, believes Pam Atchison and others.

The public can watch the process in action this week at Artspace Shreveport as San Diego critic Robert Pincus returns to Shreveport to size up a show by Rachel Stuart-Haas (Fri, Mar 3, 5:50 - 7:30 pm) and speak about the role of the critic (Sat, Mar 3, 10 am).

This week Fine Arts Survey students at Caddo Magnet HS watched the award-winning biography "Pollock."

In "Pollock" the script asserts that the NY Times critic was a critical straight shooter, calling the shots - which paintings worked and why, which painters were on fire, etc - as he saw them.

Yet he is also seen as a frequent guest of Krasner and Pollock. On one hand, it is a testament to the PR savvy of Krasner. But it asks for our thinking about an issue.

Is it possible for a critic to both hang with an artist and fairly evaluate the artist's work?

I think not.

That's one of the many issues to be taken up at Artspace this weekend.

1 comment:

Brad Kozak said...

Robert - a fair and interesting question. But I've a deeper one for you: what's popular...and why? To me, one of the biggest problems an artist faces is that far too many people tend to allow critics to do their thinking for them. The Sheeple like what they're told to, either by the critics, or by "influential patrons." This is not new. The patronage system is as old as art itself.

But how do we break free from this model? More importantly, how can an artist effectively turn their art into a living, without either critics or patronage?

I wish I knew. It's the eternal struggle betwixt "art" and "commerce." Most artists I know that have any commercial success set aside some time for personal projects that allow them to escape - if only for a while - the pressures of delivering what the public (thinks) they like.

I can't think of many artists who were fearless enough to reinvent themselves, regardless of public opinion. (Picasso springs to mind. Can you name another?)

But back to your original point, I don't care who the critic is - I like making up my own mind. To me, a critic serves to bring art to my attention, but I reserve the right to think for myself. Sadly, I don't think that methodology is shared by many.