Art Criticism as Reflection of the Critic

Most art critiquing is trying to force a work into the critic’s pet form and shape. The corners of a square peg rhetorically lopped off to make it fit the critic’s preferred round hole.

One of my favorite stories is about Avalon, Barry Levinson’s well regarded 1990 movie about a Polish-Jewish immigrant family’s experiences in their new home of America. Responding to a critic who downgraded the movie because it didn’t detail their previous lives back in Europe, Levinson said “But that’s not that the movie is about.”

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