Every movement and activity in society is characterized by a learning curve. Any person starts with spoon fed instructions, progressing into crawling, walking and finally sprinting in the activity that one envisions to learn. Each step has its milestone and scribed on every milestone is some form of test or exam. Every exam has a critic that opines if the milestone has actually been reached and can progress, or if the candidate has failed and is directed back to restart and attempt further formation.
This is the classic western-style of education and it has its pitfalls especially when this mindset is applied to art. Expressive art is naturally milestone free.
Art critics exist and there is a little one in each of us. That is fine for me. The danger starts when art critics speak beyond themselves and do so in some form of authority - when these, often self-appointed high priests, judge the art of others, the expressions, and reason of others.
In the past critics were held in high esteem - the gatekeepers of skill and ‘proper methodologies’ - whatever proper is… Many argue that today with critics somewhat inundated under the tsunami of internet art, that gone are the critics and lost are the skills.
Should the 80’s style art guru critics-on-a-plinth return to spread authority over the current ungodly art scene. The reign in the twisters and benders of the art commandments. To purge the lost sons and daughters, and reform their dulled soul, bringing them back into the fold.
I hope not.
Every person on earth that can reason, be creative, and express itself is a fully accomplished artist in its widest sense of interpretation. This cannot be mistaken for commercially or popularly successful artists - these are relatively few and can be distinguished by name. Art does not need to be learned - it could (there is nothing wrong with that but it absolutely does not need to be so.
Art is intuitive and cannot be taught.
Techniques can be taught, but not the core of art as a manifestation of one’s internal expression. Art critics are not on my list of art needs, far from it. Art critics have only three paths ,they can praise (a useless and puerile activity), the can ignore ( the opposite of Art's mission), or naysay (label something as kinda degenerative, you know, a mini Göring of sorts)
To this point, art critics are safer to stay in the background. Art should be from the individual to the individual. The more uninfluenced, and the freer from oracle priests, the better.
Henry Falzon is a full-time artist based in Malta, he is self-thought.