Sunday, October 13, 2013

Art Criticism 101: You Too Can Be an Art Critic

I don't know how long Harold Pepperell's collection of critical statements was on my library list nor do I remember the source that initiated its addition. I can tell you that it was hard to find and it was only available through interlibrary loan from one place in the US. It arrived this week and Hannah and I deduced that it was indeed "funny."

From the forward: "About the author and this book: Perhaps the most notable thing about Harold Pepperell, the author of this scholarly work, is that he does not smoke. However, this seeming moral superiority cannot be ascribed to strength of character or steadfastness of purpose. It is the result of his experience as a twelve-year-old who tried smoking corn silk cigarettes. Their foul taste remains forever engraved on his tongue. His interest in the Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake prose of contemporary art criticism stems in part from his study of English Literature at UC, Berkeley. He had seen nothing even remotely similar in his years of wading through Shakespeare, Chaucer, Byron, etc. Even Coleridge, in his wildest drug-induced hallucinations, had failed to come close to the verbal pyrotechnics of contemporary art critics in full cry. They truly have made theirs a language apart, infusing into it magic, a puissance, a depth of psychological understanding (often at the expense of meaning) that boggles the mind."

Here are some highlights. Use them well.

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