The next time you read a glowing review of some work or exhibit by a contemporary artist, train your critical eye on the critic. Ask this probing question: How much of the rhetorical skill of the critic is applied to excusing a lack of technical skill in the artist?


  1. von Hindenburg says:

    My favorite set of criteria to determine whether something is ‘art’ or not is”
    1. Did it require technical skill or at least effort to create?

    2. Does it attempt to convey a message or elicit an emotional response?

    3. Is it aesthetically pleasing?

    If a thing hits two out of three criteria, I’ll agree that it’s art. Whether or not it’s *good* art is another question entirely.

  2. The Shadow says:

    I would question whether something that doesn’t even try for criterion 3 is art.

    • von Hindenburg says:

      Would you consider a performance that deliberately makes the audience uncomfortable and even unhappy in order to make them consider a subject not art? A sculpture or painting that is deliberately unpleasing for the purpose of sending a message can be art.

  3. tom says:

    Comment of little boy being led around art museum by his mother: Mommy, that picture over there is all covered with paint!

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