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What Happened to Art Criticism? (Prickly Paradigm) [Paperback]

James Elkins
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

5 Mar 2004 Prickly Paradigm
In this pamphlet, James Elkins surveys the last fifty years of art criticism, proposing some interesting explanations for the changes in writing about art, from passionate to academic.

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What Happened to Art Criticism? (Prickly Paradigm) + The Crisis of Criticism + The Death of the Critic
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Product details

  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (5 Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972819630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972819633
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 11.3 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 570,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A brief but heartily polemical book."--Barry Gewen"New York Times Book Review" (12/11/2005)

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Art criticism is in worldwide crisis. Read the first page
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By St Ouen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A provocation from a key practitioner in the US, this short essay lays out a series of ideas about the relationship (or lack of it) between the practice of art criticism and art history, including a new typology of the 'seven types of criticism'. In particular he dissects the current predilection for art criticism to be descriptive and neutral rather than serious, rigorous and judgemental. Seven years old now, this essay has attracted considerable attention and spawned the 2008 book 'The State of Art Criticism'. The latter makes no great leaps beyond the issues raised here and it remains a passionate and provocative essay that should be read by all who are interested in the way art is written about.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How art criticism lost its luster... 11 Feb 2007
By La chichimeca - Published on Amazon.com
James Elkins took the trouble to reflect on how art critics are doing their job or rather not doing it. Finally someone is saying that a lot of art critics are no different from news reporters among others: they either have no opinion, or they do not have the guts to express an opinion or it is not in their interest to express and/or have an opinion. Since James Elkins describes in detail how an art critic earns a living we suspect the latter is true. He explains very well how art critics prefer description to opinion because it does not ruffle any feathers. Though a sad one a very good book that makes us realize how in art criticism, as in other fields, thinking for oneself is either dangerous and/or passe and/or not worth the trouble. In short art criticism has lost a lot of its former excitement: could it be like the art it describes one wonders...
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good and bit heavy handed 31 Jan 2009
By C. Kingsley - Published on Amazon.com
I appreciated this books perspective on different approaches and categories of art criticism. Elkins is good at thinking about and describing possible reasons for 'the crisis' in art criticism. And don't assume that because this book is short it lacks depth, it is very thoughtprovoking. My own criticism of Elkin's perspective is his almost righteous stand for the need for deep historical knowledge of art to provide insigthful criticism. Towards the end he states, I don't think tongue in cheek, 'each writer, no matter what their place and purpose, should have an endless bibliography, and know every issue and claim'. While I think he is saying this to stretch his point, I could feel in the background of the whole book his own bias towards a strong art history foundation, which happens to be his own area of expertise. While there is value in this, I think it detracts from the rest of us being able to have deep responses to art based on our own experiences and reactions and to provide thoughtful criticism based on our responses.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read It. 7 July 2006
By J. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Without going into superlatives or hyperbole, the strength of this book lays within its insightful examination of the breadth of critical writings as they pertain to art in the last 50 (or so) years. It was interesting enough that I did not want to put it down, and it was a quick-enough read to keep on the shelf for future review.
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