4 Answers

  1. The author of the project “Where is Culture”, art critic and cultural critic Maria Kharitonova answers:

    Art criticism and direct artistic practice are areas that are based on fundamentally different ways of perception and thinking.

    The artist thinks in images that appear in his mind in the form of some integral syncretic layers. This process is rather connected with intuition, or, as the French philosopher Jacques Maritain wrote, with the action of the “intuitive mind”. According to him, unlike the “logical mind”, the intuitive mind is able to “see” the” picture “of reality at the moment of” illumination”, directly” guess ” reality in the unity of its diverse connections. Such a specific process of cognition is closely related to imagination and emotion, and therefore it can be called poetic. The interconnections of reality that the artist has intuitively grasped and expressed in a work of art, he may not even be aware of or only partially aware of. Its main task is to present a holistic, affecting image.

    The process of awareness is analytical, it involves the actions of separating and linking information, making a final judgment, and concluding (Mariten). These actions belong to the “logical mind”, and not to the intuition with which the artist deals. And it is the logical mind that is used by the historian or art theorist, whose task is to discover the relationships “guessed” by the artist, clarify them, organize them, classify them and sum up a certain result (although the starting point for this process is also often intuition). Thus, the work of the theorist can be called the work of translating the text of an artistic image into natural language, because not every viewer understands the language that the artist uses. It is interesting that some artists gratefully accept such “translation” activities, which help to clarify the meaning not only for the viewer, but sometimes for the artist himself. From my experience with creators, I know how difficult it is for some of them (and perhaps most of them) to put into words what they want to say (again, because of a very special type of thinking: not linear, but “three – dimensional”, not verbal, but figurative). Others, on the contrary, perceive art history exercises as a kind of “dismemberment” that disfigures a work of art. For this reason, the fields of an artist and an art critic differ significantly.

    But I would still formulate the question a little differently, for example: “To what extent can an art critic be an artist?” After all, there are many remarkable cases when artists took on the role of theorists: Alexander Benois, Igor Grabar, Johannes Itten, Kazimir Malevich. A modern vivid example is Dmitry Gutov. And sometimes no judgments of “pure” theorists can compare with the art criticism remarks of artists, expressed from the position of “from within”, in terms of the degree of insight. At the same time, the reasoning of artists about the work of other artists is sometimes quite slippery simply because of the inevitable rivalry and a strong subjective position (just recall Michelangelo's derogatory remarks about Flemish painting). Yet an art critic, unlike an artist, is required to be as objective as possible when making judgments about art. And when answering the question “To what extent can an art critic be an artist?” (or vice versa) it is worth noting that in this internal tandem of “artist + art critic”, as a rule, some hypostasis will inevitably prevail. So, Malevich is primarily an artist for us, Itten is a theorist, and the work of Dmitry Gutov, despite his undoubtedly high artistic qualities, bears a noticeable imprint of his activity as a talented theorist: it acts rather as a visual imprint of Gutov's verbal reflection.

    In general, I would like to emphasize that the main divide between the artist and the theorist lies between the word and the image – two different types of thinking. However, in this question, as in any other, you should try to avoid generalizations, because in every rule there are exceptions.

  2. Good afternoon!

    An art critic is by definition a conceptual artist, or at least an art critic who curates exhibitions. And creating a gallery for viewing works is exactly the same design as art, just an art critic works not with canvas/oil/charcoal, but with the works of authors. Also, art historians think about the architecture of the exhibition, about the organization of space, that is, art criticism today is much cooler and more specialized than just being an artist.

    Ideally, any artist will one day become an art critic due to development in their field, and almost all art historians will one day pick up brushes and a pencil.

    In general, the question is extremely strange… you may be thinking about entering a university, but I do not know your motivation. But all art historians draw during their training, we have painting and drawing, and all artists go to pairs on the theory and history of art… so the question is extremely strange…

    I hope my answer was useful to you!

    I can also suggest you to get acquainted with this area of my blog:


  3. Filatov V. V. may also be very successful. For example, Sarabyanov V. D. You can also name a number of restorers. There is just a not very objective opinion that artists are stupid, and art historians are smart. In the USSR, there was even an unspoken hostility. Art historians despised artists because their salaries depended on the object, not the output. Reports are photo archives, and we're kind of a work item. But in fact, the artists also had to do all this, but for free. And artists are practical people and they have always loved money. Therefore, when an art critic becomes an artist, he is rarely as useful as an art critic. Sometimes this turned into hostility between institutions, as for example, many Russian universities do not like RSUH. The theorist. But really, not everyone has enough time to combine everything. Yes, and desires. Therefore, often the husband is an artist, and the wife is an art critic

  4. Perhaps because both art criticism and painting require a person to be both fully immersed in the process and fully committed. It is not necessary, of course, that an art critic is not at all suitable for painting pictures. It's just that art history is a more analytical field. This is probably why a professional art critic will not be an artist – it will be difficult to close your eyes to some imperfections when you understand the techniques and notice the slightest flaws written by your own hand.

    Such a good course or thesis could have turned out from deeper reflections on this topic… 🙂

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