This is what I mean: one artist offers to write a one sentence, one paragraph, or one page art criticism of your corpus (or a given show, or whatever) and you offer to do roughly the same thing in trade regarding their work.
There don't seem to be as many critics functioning anymore, and it can be a worthwhile tool in your portfolio to have a third party wordsmithing about your art. (I promise not to use the word "wordsmithing" in my critique).
Here's what I'll do. I will take your e-mails for opting "in" to the Art Critic Pool, and I will offer you a match-up with another artist in the pool who is after about the same length of piece. For instance, Johnny writes me and wants to offer a three paragraph short essay about another artist's work (viewable on a blog, or website or even in a mailed packet if you're that into it), and Jane writes to offer a one pager as a trade with someone and I link them up via e-mail. They can decide if it will be a peachy trade or not, and if not, get back to me and re-enter the pool.
You won't get a document as authoritative (supposedly) as that from a professional art critic, but those types are few and far between, anyway. However, a third party written essay about your art is, at face value, a working tool that many artists can use. And, a petite essay from another artist (read: arts professional) is what it is - most likely an honest testament to the quality of a given artist.
One of the byproducts of the Abstract Expressionist movement is the revision of the influence and authority of the scholarly or vocational art critic. I am not prone to say something like, "here's your chance to stick it to the man," but each artist will do with this product what he will.
I would not, for my own part, present this as anything other than an essay written by another artist. By the same token, pick up any one of the many artist's monographs in your own library and take a look at the testimonials written by regular schmoes just like yourself. Or have a look at the membership of any number of arts concerns, and feel a little self-empowerment in the fact that you work body-and-soul in the field of fine art. You count.
Do this to participate:
- Post an e-mail to me at email@example.com.
- Important: this e-mail will be changing shortly to one at Hughesnet, so check this post for my address update before you post.
- Put the words: "Art Critic Pool" in the subject line so I don't flush it as spam.
- Offer to write a one sentence, or a one, two, or three paragraph review or even a petite essay, if you are really good at writing.
- Have a written one or two sentence description of yourself as the potential author of this piece. Such as: "Casey Klahn, full time artist and self-published art essayist." Well, I'll have to work on that one ;=}
- Send no money at this time. I always wanted to say that. Actually, this whole thing is free gratis on my part, and barter system (or filthy lucre, if you must) among essay traders. Of course, I get to chose the best writer I see to trade with me.
- Of course, I can't guarantee any match-ups or products.
- If I get swamped by e-mails, I will be looking for volunteers to split the effort with me.
English Works! on Essays.
How to say nothing in five hundred words.
"I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like."
Gelett Burgess (1866-1951).
"Then we went to Matisse's studio. He's one of the neo, neo Impressionists, quite interesting and lots of talent but very queer. He does things very much like Pamela's [Fry's 7-year-old daughter]."
Roger Fry (1866-1934), British art critic. Letter to his wife, 1909.
"I am now completely Matissiste . . . after studying all of his paintings I am quite convinced of his genius."
Roger Fry. Letter to Simon Bussy, 1911.
"What distinguishes modern art from the art of other ages is criticism."
Octavio Paz (1914-), Mexican poet.
"Art criticism everywhere is now at a low ebb, intellectually corrupt, swamped in meaningless jargon, distorted by political correctitudes, anxiously addressed only to other critics and their ilk."
Brian Sewell (contemporary), British writer, Evening Standard, November 10, 1994.
Extreme Navel Gazing: