The criticism of the arts is widely perceived as being in a state of crisis. We often hear talk of the dumbing-down of culture and criticism, of the democratisation of art and the idea that, now, «everyone’s a critic».
On the one hand, to object to this is ridiculous. The criticism of art began as an expression of democracy, bound by the principle that there is no disputing taste (by which is meant no settling of disputes) because each individual has her or his own taste. Taste is in this sense the ultimate application of democratic sensibility, and we should be encouraged to develop our own tastes and to explore and defend them through critical activity of one kind or another.
On the other hand, these observations do indeed pick out a crisis, which is that the democratisation of criticism leads, of necessity, to simplified models of the purpose of artistic experience. Of these, the most prevalent one is entertainment. In a situation where everyone is a critic, the critic’s job is simply to assess how entertaining any given cultural commodity promises to be for others with similar cultural dispositions.
This lecture will look at why this is the case, and why the purpose of artistic criticism can only be understood, and a value placed on critical activity, when we retain an understanding of what artworks to do in the first place. And because artworks typically exist to do, well, nothing, it’s easy to se why this is a path few bother to travel down very far. Nonetheless, it is only when we become clearer in our understanding of what art is that we can be clear about what its critics should be doing. And it’s only when we are clear on that front that that we can assess whether the criticism of the arts is, as is widely perceived, really in a state of crisis
Fredag 26.5. kl. 14:15. Løkka Bill. kr. 100.