Tuesday, December 20, 2005

When Critics Earn Their Money.

The Importance of the Critical Eye In today's world of instant information and do-it-yourself media, the world of the critic, based as it is on an assumption of expertise and some vague notion of "the eye," seems increasingly old-fashioned. But Jerry Saltz writes that the trend towards art criticism that is all ideas and no expertise is a dangerous one. "Having an eye in criticism is as important as having an ear in music. It means discerning the original from the derivative, the inspired from the smart, the remarkable from the common, and not looking at art in narrow, academic, or "objective" ways. It means engaging uncertainty and contingency, suspending disbelief, and trying to create a place for doubt, unpredictability, curiosity, and openness." Village Voice (NY) 12/16/05

As a painter trying to outgrow my training 'to master the technical skills of rendering realism'. I was struck especially hard by the following comment -

"All great contemporary artists, schooled or not, are essentially self-taught and are de-skilling like crazy. I don't look for skill in art; I look for originality, surprise, obsession, energy, experimentation, something visionary, and a willingness to embarrass oneself in public. Skill has nothing to do with technical proficiency; it has to do with being flexible and creative. I'm interested in people who rethink skill, who redefine or reimagine it: an engineer, say, who builds rockets from rocks."

De-skilling... now there's a term for a contemporary art-making process. - DN

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would agree that an artist needs to “de-skill”. That means allowing his individualism coming through and using his self expression. It is that gives his art its uniqueness. I think that it is the natural course that all great artists need to follow. They study and train in creating standard, or acceptable art (in your case master realism?). They master the realism, then they search for what they like or want to create as art. Picasso was an excellent painter of realism, but it did not make him a famous artist. The comments on skill is a critic’s semantic argument to me. So if we must use this “noveau” word: de-skill, you should do it! It is interesting to look at the quote about the engineer, James Burke in his books Connections and The Day the Universe Changed describes technology and inventions as something that is built upon another to make something new. In short, the modern world depends on what has happened in the past to build upon it to make the future. Without the past inventions, past ideas, the modern and the future have no basis to be constructed upon. So Rocks used to make rockets is a farce. Maybe that is true with Art? I am not sure.