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Clandestine critiques have art scene abuzz

Should a critic publicly own up to her opinions? That’s what has the local art scene abuzz lately: a slew of anonymous, handwritten reviews of exhibits, signed with the pseudonym Critical Correspondence. They began showing up at galleries and on the ’Net just over a week ago. The reviews take an intimate tone by addressing the exhibit as if it were a person, and proceed to discuss its successes and failings, sprinkled with art history references.

Some artists have found the format and brutal honesty refreshing or comical, while others are demanding that CC come out from behind the curtain. Taking things a step further, the art group Momas and Dadas claims to have dusted one of the letters for prints and threatens to reveal his or her identity unless a list of specific demands upon local media persons is met.

For many, CC is answering the cry for more critical art reviews, and they are unperturbed by the anonymity. While the clandestine critic makes valid points in many of the reviews, some might say it’s easy to dispense criticism from the security of anonymity. Are critical reviews volleyed from the shadows preferable, or should critics be held accountable for their verdicts?