The Visual Art Critic, A Survey of Art Critics at General-interest News Publications in America, 2002

excerpt :

"A critic at a midsize daily newspaper summarized the trade-off as follows: “Contemporary art critics face a dilemma. Unlike movie critics or drama critics, they regularly deal with esoteric and obscure art forms that the average newspaper reader might find completely baffling. The critic speaks the language, understands the motives behind the art. His job then is partly one of the translator, to explain ‘difficult’ art to the reader. Being able to interpret the mysteries bestows a certain importance on the critic, making him essential to the whole enterprise, an insider. It can be a seductive role. It can be very, very difficult, then, for a critic to step back and make a clear-headed, unbiased appraisal, especially if doing so means pronouncing something artistically worthless or nonsensical. He’s too heavily invested.” An alternative weekly writer put his feelings about the liminal position of the art critic more succinctly: “It’s not an occupation for scenesters, wannabes and hangers-on. It’s a chancy job, and it makes a man watchful—and a little lonely.”"

András Szántó dir., Columbia University, National Arts Journalism Program, 2002

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