Does Art Criticism in Latin America Even Matter?

I initiated and moderated a debate titled “Does Art Criticism in Latin America Even Matter?” at the Coleccion Cisneros’s website in the Fall of 2014. The following is my prompt for the debate.

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From New York to Berlin the art world can’t stop talking about the crisis of art criticism, but what has been said about its status in Latin America?

The 21st century has generated a plethora of articles, conferences and books devoted to the crisis of criticism—all efforts thus far seem to have failed: the crisis has not been abated. Art criticism is still unable to recover in the face of the swift changes in the art world. The curator, the dealer and the collector seem to have replaced the art critic as the main mediator between art and its public. Art criticism that actually critiques contemporary art is a rare and endangered species.

We are told our historical moment is not only “post-modern” but also “post-critical.” Rigor, commitment, narrative and judgment have become dirty, antiquarian and authoritarian words. We are also told that this is a great moment for Latin American Art: its market is booming and its presence in major international exhibitions is ubiquitously praised. But was art criticism from Latin American responsible for any of this success? Has Latin American work suffered or benefited from the state of art criticism globally? Who is responsible for this success?

In order to advance an inquiry into the current state of art criticism in Latin America please consider the following questions: Was there ever a golden age of Latin American art criticism? Does art criticism in Latin America function as an outpost for theories being developed in the centers of capitalism (e.g., art capitals like New York, London, Paris and Berlin) or is there a budding art criticism alongside the art being made in Latin America today? Can art criticism decay while art practice flourishes? Finally, if you agree with the idea that art criticism is in crisis (either in Latin America or globally), how can it recover, and does it even matter any more?

 

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Read the ensuing debate at the Coleccion Cisneros’s website.



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