The Critic’s Touch – Leo Steinberg’s Drawings

Posted: February 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

  1. Jiahui (Karen) Chen says:

    Seeing Steinberg’s drawings and reading about his background as an artist made me curious about if the other art critics we’ve read created art. I can’t seem to find art by Greenberg or Rosenburg though.

    I think it’s interesting that Steinberg was an art historian for religious, Renaissance art as well as a critic of modern art. In the Steinberg essay I noticed he references historical trends to explain or reinforce his points about modern art.

    • Most critics don’t produce art of their own. Or, if they do, they only dabble. Writing about art with any degree of preparation is so time-consuming it leaves little opportunity to develop other skills. I used to think I could do it all. Over the years, I’ve learned it simply not possible. Each time I pick up a new activity and attempt to pursue it with the necessary diligence, something else has to go. It’s remarkable that Steinberg was able to produce these sketches. They are more likely the result of natural talent than study. Though I could be wrong. Recall, though, the Mark Tansey painting of Picasso surrendering to Greenberg. While it may bother persons to discover now that critics are at least as powerful and the artists whose work they judge and explain, this has nevertheless come to be the case. Indeed, some pieces of criticism has gone on to be considered masterpieces in their own right At a certain point in the 20th century, a work of art is no longer considered complete until it has received the blessing of some major critic. If we wanted to get technical about it, the turn towards criticism is just one component of a larger field of study know as Reception Theory.

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