To The Critics of the Critics of the Critics
Webster defines “Critique” as “the art of of criticism, a critical analysis or examination of the merits of a work of art….” As defined, a “Critique”, by it’s nature, has no inherent positive or negative values. It would also seem to imply that some expertise is involved as well, after all, how can someone “examine” a subject without some knowledge of it? It would then follow that good criticism presupposes scholarly endeavor as well as an element of art itself.
Not to disparage the good efforts of those who have expounded on the subject herein, if find that the opinions expressed strayed far from the original definition a “Critique”.
It has always been my understanding that a true critic is neither friend or foe to either artists or their audience. A critic’s function and value is to create a bridge between the two. To define and help the audience understand what the artists goals were and how successful they were in achieving them.
Judgements as to how “good’ or “bad” a work of art is is not part of a critics mandate.
A love of an art alone, without scholership and expertise on the subject, is not enough to qualify anyone as a critic.
The process of criticism has become so denigrated that, good or bad critique, one is reduced to being happy that ones name is spelled correctly. It’s criticism as advertising.
A true critic occupies an unusual place in the world and attempts to be objective, niether of or part of the artists endeavors. Objectivity is not an absolute, it can only be strived for without ever achieving it. It is this striving for objectivity made obvious that qualifies good criticism. Without it it’s just opinion and opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one.
If criticism is to be reduced to mere opinion, then most critiques would be rather short: I liked it or I didn’t like it. As an artist that is the most satisfactory response any musician could desire from a listener. As criticism it falls far short of the mark.