One of the most glaringly obvious problems in much of contemporary art criticism is its stark lack of social and geographic diversity. As Editor of a magazine that purports to be both national and international in its scope and readership, by far the greatest number of proposals I receive are from major urban centres and propose covering major public art galleries and/or artists with significant commercial representation. It feels formulaic too - a writer interviews an artist who is already widely acclaimed or reviews a show at a venue that’s known and trusted by other art-world insiders. Such artists and institutions are safe entities and the writing they seem to inspire could just as easily be a press release, anchoring the artist’s work in ideas that simultaneously legitimize the artist and the writer while often failing to articulate how the work offers anything that hasn’t already been tracked and mapped in critical discourse. In many cases, writers enact the very conditions of art as the form of spectacle and elite entertainment that they claim to critique. Both art and criticism should do much more.
First paragraph from Amish Morrell’s Editorial,C Magazine, 118 “Criticism" (Summer 2013) (Toronto: C The Visual Arts Foundation, 2013), 2.
Read the entire Letter from the Editor on our website, here.
Critical discourse is stifled when it colludes with the market, for with the commodification of contemporary art comes a publicity machine for profit where ‘hollow cheerleading’ … takes the place of strident critique.
“Resist the List: A Problem of Politics in the Evaluation of Contemporary Art,” Charlene Lau. C Magazine, 118 “Criticism” (Summer 2013) (Toronto: C The Visual Arts Foundation, 2013), 27.
C Magazine, 118 “Criticism” (Summer 2013) (Toronto: C The Visual Arts Foundation, 2013), front cover.
Jimmy Limit, “GreenLiquid with Yellow Bag of Mandarins on Green (Agriculture, Anxiety, Assemblage, Community, Compression, Contemplation, Exotic, Family, Fluidity, Fresh, Frustration, Growth, Healthy Eating, Isolation, Nobody, Prosperity, Raw, Succulent, Support),”2012, Archival Color Photograph, 55.8 cm x 76.2 cm. Image courtesy of CLINT ROENISCH GALLERY