Posted by: Xhyra Graf | 28 December 2007

Know Your Role…

Article by Roberta Smith, NY Times Art Critic posted on the MAeX Blog

My response:

Of course, as someone who frequently uses the term “creative practice” I took umbrage when reading this article. [And must I now apologise for using the word umbrage? It is a perfectly fine word that fully expresses what I felt].

‘Creative Practice] is the phrase for what I as an artist do. There are no other phrases that fit besides creative experience which is too vague and creative WORK which just doesn’t flow properly when I am in the process of comparing it to ‘religious’ practice and some of the ritualistic types of processes that are incorporated into artmaking.

So, I am faced with the usual predicament when dealing with art writing. On cusp days before the year of “I’m tired of the public and I’m not going to take it anymore” I have decided to put in words how this stuff always makes me feel.

I don’t care how long Roberta Smith has been an art critic. The practice of art criticism does not entitle her or any other critic to cross the line into the arena of telling artists what language to use or how to use language in expressing their ideas. As artists, we are entitled to use words outside of the box of their usual use. Especially not the mentioned graduate students who have spent a coon’s age and much of that briefly mentioned emotive moxy in the attempt to resolve what they do by combining theory with ‘practice’ to then express it as “required” in a way that has been, is and will always be outside of the visual medium itself-with words.

I especially will not be satisfied with my usual silent protesting of this kind of “criticism” from someone who promotes use of the exceedingly overused term ‘visual literacy’ when visual competency or visual understanding would be more appropriate. The word literacy is inexorably [another good word] intertwined with literature and letters – which are what? Yes, intrinsically outside of the visual medium unless used by a ‘practicing’ artist.


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