Frances Stark, Addressing Bobby Jesus on My Knees, 2013

From Document to Drama, From Monument to Action: Towards an Expanded Notion of Art Criticism

The Luminary Art Center
2701 Cherokee St, St. Louis, MO

“She became optimistic…she could overflow with questions. She could be difficult. She could be not easy to follow. She could appear to be transparent and turn out to be opaque. She could even admit her influences…”
—Lynne Tillman, This Is Not It

The “linguistic turn” in the 1950s brought art and language into a new proximity–artists and poets opened up art writing and showed it could be an effective and argumentative, intense and promiscuous, poetic and literary form. Since then, our conceptions of art criticism have been significantly narrowed: when we think of art criticism, we picture “High Orthodoxical” art criticism, like October, newspaper journalism, or some combination of the two on art blogs. This lecture uses both historical and contemporary examples to ask how artists – considering the necessity of judgement, historical context, interpretation, and educative imperatives inherent in traditional art criticism – reconceptualize “art criticism” to encompass a range of practices? Can “art criticism” serve as an umbrella term for not just this outdated understanding of “art criticism”, but also “art writing”, “artist-generated criticism” and “artists’ writings”? Can visual art and art criticism, placed on an equal footing, hand the baton of meaning back and forth, embodying a new mode of marching forward, “feeling the progress of history, passing from potentiality into act?”

The Luminary is a 501(c)(3) incubator for new ideas in the arts, founded in 2007 as a forum for artistic research, production and presentation, conceived in response to both our immediate and international community, alongside our audiences, and in dialogue with artists.

Join the event on Facebook: