Critical Voices 3 - Themes
Aesthetics, Criticism and Judgement
Reframing the value of the arts:
- After a number of decades in which arts policy (as formulated by arts councils and state cultural bodies) has stressed the instrumental or extrinsic benefits of the arts – for education, social inclusion, urban regeneration, tourism, wealth creation, etc, are artists returning to an argument for the arts’ intrinsic benefits? How would such an argument be framed?
Do art critics matter any more?
- As independent curators and collectors become the prime movers and trend setters in an increasingly internationalised visual art world, do critics writing in newspapers and art journals still have influence and the power to validate taste? When many critics also double up as curators, does this change their role or affect their objectivity and authority?
After the theory revolution:
- After the explosion in critical and theoretical movements over the past 30 years - from structuralism and post-structuralism to cultural, media and feminist studies, gender studies, post-colonial theory, etc., are we entering a period of consolidation, refinement, even reaction? If new critical theories are emerging, fuelled by the transformation in contemporary media, what are they?
Critical approaches to cross-disciplinary work:
- With the increasing convergence of art forms, and blurring of boundaries between multiple genres, are the standard criteria of evaluation and judgement still valid? Do we need new and more creative forms of criticism in order to engage with multi-media productions more fruitfully and to encourage audiences to make independent judgements?
- Could critics from the separate disciplines comment jointly on cross-disciplinary work? Could they learn from each others’ critical approaches? Can one art form be used as a means of critical comment on another, e.g. photography and film addressing aspects of architecture?