Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why is Miami so complacent and blasé when it comes to critical discourse?

1-Miami’s humidity (our flat topography!), 2- The inability of Miami critics (are there any left?) to communicate interesting premises, 3- The generation known as “Miami artists” are already an established and sought-after lot, 4- Most of the relevant art media is out of Miami, 5- Depressed -as we are- by the art market crisis, our critical abilities have become temporarily disabled. 6- Artists and the public have better things to do than to pay attention to meaningless remarks (tainted with post-modernist jargon about art), 7- The Cold War is over.


Anonymous said...

I'm a Miami artist and I don't get it. What's the point?

miamibourbaki said...

No point, or half a point.

Anonymous said...

an outline for a history of local criticism

(it s an open-ended sketch. those with better memory than me should feel free to fill in the gaps, cross out the errors. it sticks to "people who wrote/write reviews of local artists" in newspapers and magazines, hence the exclusion of folks like juan martinez, walter darby bannard, etc )

I. (pre-90s)
Helen Kohen [Miami Herald]

II. (early to mid 1990s)
Judy Cantor [New Times]
Ricardo Pau-Llosa [Exito!]
Amy Capelazzo [????]

III. (turn of the decade)
Elisa Turner [Miami Herald]
Damarys Ocana [Street]
Alfredo Triff [New Times, El Nuevo Herald]
Gean Moreno [Art Papers, Flash Art]
Michelle Weinberg [Sunpost]
Franklin Einspruch [Sunpost]
Paula Harper [Art in America]

IV. (ca. 2003-2007)
Joel Weinstein [Flash art, Art Papers, Art Nexus]
Omar Sommereyns [new times or sunpost?]
Alesh Houdek [critical miami]
Kathleen Hudspeth [sunpost]

V. Now
Carlos Suarez de Jesus [New Times]
Adriana Herrera [el nuevo herald, arte al dia]
Fabiola Santiago [miami herald]
Janet Batet [el nuevo, art nexus]
Rafael Lopez-Ramos [art nexus]
Jesus Rosado [art nexus]
Thomas Hollingworth [artlurker]
Victor Barrenechea [biscayne times]
Carlos M Luis (start date, pre-1990s??) [el nuevo]

Condo Tiero said...

Perhaps the art critics know they are dealing with an audience that is more interested in the banalities of consumerism than in the spirituality supposedly attached to art.

A.T. said...

Anonymous: Just a little correction: This critic wrote for Sunpost until late 2007 and keeps writing for El Nuevo Herald. That makes it to your #IV.

Anonymous said...

Hey could we leave comments on the newer posts?

miamibourbaki said...


KH said...

Oooh! Your numbered surmisings are interesting and amusing.

"No" on 1 - 6, I think. And though #7 seems humorous at first, as a reference to the relationship of art criticism to promotion of US agendas during the cold war, I think it's slighly more accurate than the others. By which I mean that artists like to become incensed by critique, but with the relative contemporary lack of hostile meta-theory, the outrage, so to speak, has become personal rather than theoretical. So reviews and criticism are often (at least locally) interpreted on a very intimate scale. Most artists get ticked off and/or see persecution and evidence of cliques in trains of thought which diverge from the press-release.

There are artists who enjoy critical banter, but they tend to be quieter than the crabby agitators and less numerous.

Newspaper writers (critics) tend to be beholden to an agenda which rejects deep discourse in favor of public access, and folks who hanker for intense discourse are then dissatisfied by what seems, in contrast, more like gossipy personality articles. [My spanish isn't good enough to factor El Nuevo into the preceding, I was mainly thinking of the Herald and the New Times]

So, basically, there's little positive reinforcement to being an engaged critic who's not a promotion-machine.

Tangent: I suspect that artists, collectors, galleries and other arts writers are the actual main audience for newspaper art articles, so why are they so general?

miamibourbaki said...

Thanks, KH. Newspaper "criticism" has become art news. Why? Dumbing-down of critical discourse in America's newspapers in favor of circulation (as if art discourse is digested by the masses). Then in the early 2000's as art became cultural spectacle, "art news" takes the stage disguised as "celebrity-talk" disguised as "criticism."

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