Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On Criticism

Rather than offering the "final word" on an art object or performance, the very best sort of criticism seeks to begin discussion.

For example, if the critic finds the attitudes and actions of the characters onstage to be villainous, misogynistic, noble, endearing, etc... It is much more exciting when there shared reflections on the work become part of a conversation about "why" this piece rather than "what is" this piece.

A mere prediction about the value of consuming a work of art isn't ask exciting or engaging as the sort of criticism that becomes the first volley are interpretation, exchange of ideas not only about the piece of art, but ourselves and its affect on that.

1 comment:

RebeccaZ said...

I've proclaimed this before but I think Mary Shen Barnidge is one of the best Chicago-based critics to embody your description. She has been to most of our productions, if not all, and she has offered up questions, constructive critiques, inspirations, etc. Whether she praises a show or it isn't her cup of tea, she always provides food for thought to the artists/production involved and continues a dialogue after the curtain falls.

I was reading the reviews of Aunt Den and Lemon after I saw the show and, again, her ideas of it really spoke to me and got me thinking abotu the show more than I already was.

I'm a big fan of her work. =)