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Criticizing Criticism

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Thoughts From An Interview With Kathryn Born and Bret Schneider

As an (aspiring) art journalist, I’ve been doing a lot of research lately about this so-called “crisis of criticism.” The more I talk to Chicago art critics, magazine publishers, bloggers and artists, the conversation becomes both more confusing and more enlightening. Although I’m far from finding any definitive answers to my queries, the exploration of these answers has produced some quotes worth thinking about. Recently, I interviewed Kathryn Born, founder of Chicago Art Magazine (CAM) and Bret Schneider, editor of Chicago Art Criticism (CAC), a subsidiary of CAM. Since I’m not printing the interview anywhere, I thought I would share some quotes from Kathryn and Bret on the F Blog.

“At CAM we’ve got people who work every quickly. Bret and I always talk about guitar shredding and this one shredder said, ‘I am going to make the fastest guitar solo in world!’ And I just love that it was about fast. It’s not about being a good guitar solo technically, just the fastest. So sometimes I feel the magazine gets so huge and I have to make sure that the idea of it being good doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.”

-Kathryn Born

Some things are gained when you’re writing online but some things are lost. People just don’t sit in front of their computers they way sit in front of a book or journal. Critical thought is being digested in the realm of competition for who can say something as efficiently as possible. Traditionally, philosophical and critical thought is something that has been exempt from this. “

-Bret Schneider

Art is an acute symptom of political and social problems so I think the point is to make people understand what the social problems really are. Art allows these social problems to rise to the surface in ways that other things in mass culture don’t. So we can use art as a stepping-stone or a bridge to understand deeper conditions.”

-Bret Schneider

We need a smarter, art-based response to [socially conscience art] because we will lose the ownership of being judgmental if we’re not.”

-Kathryn Born

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