Will Art Criticism Survive the Digital Age?
International Seminar, De Balie, Amsterdam
Wednesday December 9, 2009, 14.00 - 17.00 hrs (CET)
Doors open: 13.30
The digital revolution has profound effects on the status of art criticism. With newspapers and other printed media in decline, the traditional platform for critical reflection on art has shrunk or shifted towards electronic (web-based) media. At the same time the presence of art criticism on the internet is mostly limited to the “blog” – a format that celebrates an impressionistic, subjective and often populistic point of view. More substantial forms of web-based criticism are still rare to be found.
Broader changes in the culture could be responsible for this. In the current climate the voice of “classical” criticism is associated with an authoritative, paternalistic tradition. In the universe of web 2.0, consumers no longer tend to accept that authority.
Another effect of the internet revolution is that information about artists, artworks and exhibitions is now abundantly available online. Critics facing the challenge of covering the ever-growing number of biennials and other large-scale exhibitions all over the world, may feel tempted to stay at home and write their “reviews” without actually visiting the exhibition they write about. According to some reports, this critical practice is become more and more common.
Is there a future for serious, in-depth criticism in an internet-dominated society?
Has the need for art criticism completely disappeared, or has it merely changed? Does the internet offer possibilities for serious criticism beyond the limitations of the blog? Do new media arts and net.art show us the way? Is the interactive, social networking capacity of the internet at all used in this context, or even understood? Is the web really replacing print or is this a false contradiction?
How do art critics respond to these changes and challenges?
Georg Schöllhammer, editor in chief of Springerin and curator of the Documenta 12 Magazines project.
Regine Debatty, writer and editor of we-make-money-not-art.com.
Arjen Mulder, writer and media theorist.
Jennifer Allen, art critic.
Maria Hlavajova (Basis voor Aktuele Kunst Utrecht)