4 Influential Art Critics and Why to Read Them?

Posted on January 15th, 2021 12:23 PM

Art does more than just adding value to the wall. A skilled piece can effectively stir emotions in oneself and speak a thousand languages. But neither art is perfect nor the artist, so how do we compare? How do we look at art?
Art criticism is one such technique, where individuals are known as art critics who discuss and evaluate art. their independent criticism leads us and helps us perceive and interpret art in extraordinary ways. It changes our perception and experience of the fragment cosmic force, which is art. It isn’t primarily about understanding art or placing it in a labeled box but precisely experiencing it. It’s about bodily confirmation and connection, a way of knowing oneself. As quoted by Oscar Wilde - ‘Without the critical faculty, there is no artistic creation at all.’ 
Let’s put light on art critics & their criticism i.e their pieces and books that changed the course of art history and keep yourself up to date with art in 2021.
Jerry Saltz: Winner of Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2018, and being The New York Magazine's senior art critic and the author of the best-selling book ‘How to be an Artist,’ which sold nearly 400,000 copies, which later got him the National Magazine Award (2019). Saltz’s contribution to the art world with the lectures he gave in Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art, etc., and the in-depth reviews and quick commentaries on his social media accounts, with more than 2 Million followers, is truly impeccable.
"When people in stadiums do the Wave, it's the group-mind collective organism spontaneously organizing itself to express an emotion, pass time, and reflect the joy of seeing the rhythms of many as one, a visual rhyming or music in which everyone senses where the motion is going."
Clement Greenberg: This outspoken and respected voice in the field of art published an essay titled Avant-Garde and Kitsch” (1939), which prevailed the trivial times in the history of the art. Art is subjective to the individual, and with this, the true form of art was questioned. Karl Marx influenced many of his ideas. He laid the foundation of ‘high versus ‘low’ art for his aesthetic judgment on abstract expressionism and color field painters, giving an idea of where the art originated and headed in the 19 th century. Influenced by Karl Marx he wrote several pieces that later changed the course of art for the 20th century. 
“All profoundly original art looks ugly at first.”
Sebastian Smee: Art critic for the Washington Post, the winner of Pulitzer Price for Criticism in 2011, and the author of a masterpiece of critical analysis art book: The Art of Rivalry : Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs . Smee’s mastery of the story-telling of rich narratives of eight famous people in the history of art. Sebastian’s striking and elucidating prose makes it accessible to even a layman. With vivid analysis, he guides us through the complexities of two artists and their influence on each other’s life. If you want to read about the great personas who changed the art world without reading its history, this book is for you. 
“A whole language, according to UNESCO, disappears on average every two weeks.”
Peter Schjeldahl: One of the greatest living art critics at The New Yorker who loved art before he knew anything about it. He was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1995. His collected works are now published in a book called ‘Let’s See: Writings on Art from The New Yorker.’ Covering subjects from broad subjects of poetry, wit, and criticism. Thoughtfully written with appreciation & cynicism; he revealed all in one place. 
“The problem of making artists talk about their work is that when they're making their work the left-brain is shut off. So if you talk to an artist about it, you're talking to someone who wasn't there. It's hopeless.”
Art is a seamless instinct and the least we can do is interpret and weave the emotions. Views and evaluations on a piece are a great way to acknowledge multiple opinions and contrast them with ours. Check out these famous art critics and have an unusual approach to art this time and maybe you could even find a place in their perception, who knows? But keep in mind, that there is no correct way to perceive art, nor will be. You just look at it in a way that makes sense to you; or maybe not.
Happy Reading!


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