The Outside Chance of Art Criticism

On May 19th in Oslo: “The Outside Chance of Art Criticism,” with Anton Vidokle, Fredrik Svensk, Jennifer Allen, and Chus Martinez.

From the description:

“One of the most productive of these approaches was perhaps the theorist Irit Rogoff’s widely circulated idea of a shift from «criticism via critique to criticality». According to Rogoff, we have moved from criticism – «the application of values and judgements, operating from a barely acknowledged humanist index of measure sustained in turn by naturalised beliefs and disavowed interests» to critique – «examining the underlying assumptions that might allow something to appear as a convincing logic» to criticality – «an emphasis on the present, of living out a situation, of understanding culture as a series of effects rather than of causes, of the possibilities of actualising some of its potential rather than revealing its faults».

“Here, Rogoff leaves traditional criticism little honor. However, if we widen our understanding of art criticism to cover more than just exhibition reviews (dubbed «the oil painting of art writing» by the curator and writer Tirdad Zolghadr) it is perhaps possible to see that the best of art criticism performs both the critique and the criticality that Rogoff refers to. Especially the hybrid mix of criticism, theory and activism that is currently beeing played out and tested both in ink, online and in live formats around the world seem difficult to pin down and is repeatedly pointing to artistic and political potentialities.

“Even the concept of a local or regional art discourse – dismissed at the turn of the century as pure provincialism and mere marketing – seems to enjoy its revival in the now open territory of art criticism. Publications such as Fillip (Toronto, launched 2006), Mousse (Milano, launched 2006) and Frieze d/e (Berlin, launched 2011) all point to a new dialogue between localism/regionalism and globalism.”