Art review revamp needed? Hyperallergic questions form’s relevance


In a recent post, critical contemporary art blog and forum Hyperallergic questions the relevance of the traditional art review and calls for a revamp of the format. Writer Hrag Vartanian looks at the history of art reviewing and suggests that this kind of reporting needs to reach out beyond its art world limitations.

William Powhida, 'Some Critics', 2011, graphite, colored pencil and watercolor on paper, 16" x 20". Image from

William Powhida, 'Some Critics', 2011, graphite, colored pencil and watercolor on paper, 16" x 20". Image from

Click here to read Should We Kill the Traditional Art Review? [UPDATED w tweets] on Hyperallergic.

I’m not saying that the literary form doesn’t still have life in it — and there are certainly some fantastic practitioners of the craft — but I do think it is an antiquated form, and the traditional art review (you know the type, it has a few photos and discusses an exhibition as a solitary experience) is better suited to group shows and surveys, maybe even thematic exhibitions, but it doesn’t work as successfully for solo shows, where it feels reduced to a sales vehicle for people trying to move merchandise.

Mark Lombardi, 'Global Networks (excerpt)'. Image from

Mark Lombardi, 'Global Networks (excerpt)'. Image from

An art review is read only by people in the art world, but the work of artists like Mark Lombardi go beyond aesthetic conversations and the fishbowl of the art world. He should’ve been on CNN during his time — or nowadays Al Jazeera — discussing these networks and his perspective on them. And Lombardi is not unique, there are other artists today, like William Powhida, who are trying to challenge the boundaries of the art ghetto and create conversations in other spheres of our culture.

Join the debate and tell us what you think about this challenge to the traditional art review. Does art criticism, as Hyperallergic suggests, need to extend into channels other than those in the contemporary art world? Leave a comment below.


Related Topics: overviews, art writers, reviews

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