What’s Wrong With Art? Everyone’s a Critic

Tabish Khan loves art and visits hundreds of exhibitions a year. But every now and then he comes across something in the art world that doesn’t meet his approval.

In an earlier entry in this column I talked about how some critics lack the bravery to give negative reviews.

Well now there’s a new type of critic on the horizon, the average person.

There have been advertisements where Twitter comments have been used instead of reviews, the one I remember most clearly was for Book of Mormon.

But now starred reviews are being cited, when they’ve been given by members of the public.

For a previous exhibition at Autograph ABP, a star rating was attributed to ‘exhibition visitor’ and the Cutty Sark has a 5 star review from a visitor on its main page.

I’m even now seeing tweets from people giving a star rating to exhibitions, probably in the hope of a retweet.

It may be obvious what the downsides of everybody giving star ratings will be, but it’s worth spelling out.

No member of the public is likely to give out anything other than five stars. So we end up in a world of everyone saying nice things about everything. If that’s the case then it’s of no use and in truth is no difference to everybody saying nothing about anything.

I can’t blame people giving out five star reviews to get museums and galleries to mention them, but galleries and museums should preserve their integrity and at least not include these on their websites and newsletters.

For more in this series, see my thoughts on Photo LondonThe Turner Prize, Art for art’s sake, Conceptual art is complicatedCondoHow performance art is presented in museumsFrieze week floozies, too much respect for an artist’s legacyopinions not being welcomean exhibition across three countriestackling race and gender in artartist-curatorsart fair hypetop 5s and top 10sour political art is terriblegap left by Brian Sewellhow art never learned from the Simpsons, why artspeak won’t die, so-called reviewsbad reviews are bad for business, the $179m dollar headline, art fairs appealing to the masses, false opening hours, size matters and what’s wrong with video art.

 

About Tabish Khan

Art Critic for both FAD and Londonist. See as many exhibitions as possible and write reviews, opinion pieces and a weekly top 5 for FAD.