An open letter to critics writing about political art

Posted filed underContemporary Art, Criticism, Politics.

political art
Last weekend Creative Time held their fourth annual summit on the current state of artistic activism. Over two days, scores of political artists from around the world gave short presentations and organized longer workshops. Hundreds of people participated.

The critical response, so far, has been underwhelming: few critics attended and those that did had little substantive to say. It would be easy to account for the overall silence and dismiss the surface commentary with some snarky criticism of our own about a bullshit art world with their head up their ass who can’t recognize that something important is happening right in front of them. And while this may be self-righteously satisfying, it is not very helpful. We want to help.

How this event was – and wasn’t — covered is indicative of the state of criticism when it comes to political art. The problem is not necessarily lazy criticism, but the fact that we don’t have a developed vocabulary with which to understand, and criteria with which to evaluate, political art and activist artists. In an effort to develop a language and criteria with which artistic activism can be usefully criticized, offer seven questions for the critic to consider. Continue reading here or download this essay as a pdf..