Point: Arts critics must be extreme and definite with opinions

Posted on: June 29, 2009

In Sunday’s (6/28) Guardian (London), Jonathan Jones writes about how some may view his recent review of a show at the Tate Britain as too brutal. “But this is the right way to review new art,” he claims. “The reason so much average or absolutely awful art gets promoted is that no one seems to understand what criticism is; if nothing is properly criticised, mediocrity triumphs. A critic is basically an arrogant bastard who says ‘this is good, this is bad’ without necessarily being able to explain why. At least, not instantly. The truth is, we feel this stuff in our bones. And we’re innately convinced we’re right. … Of course, by being so blunt, I run the risk of vilification. I will be seen as a vapid snob, elitist, etc. But I am no more guilty of these traits than anyone else who sets themselves up as a professional critic; I’m just trying to be honest. What do you think all the other critics believe—that their opinion is worth nothing? Unless you think you’re right, you shouldn’t pass verdict on art that is someone’s dream, someone’s life.”

Posted June 29, 2009