Arts Journal Home Page
PublishingTheatreVisual ArtsArts IssuesPeople

common threadsarts watchletters

Arts BeatSearchContact Us

News Service Home`Services
Digest Samples
Headline Samples







ATTACKING THE CRITIC (ARE YOU NUTS?): Are Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra trying to get Washington Post music critic Philip Kennicott fired? "The NSO attacked Kennicott in a stinging letter posted on its Web site, calling him "irresponsible" and insinuating that he had concocted a quote." The Post, meanwhile, has nominated Kennicott for a Pulitzer. Washingtonian 03/01

THE CRITIC IN THE HOT SEAT: As actors increasingly lash our at critics after receiving negative reviews (Donald Sutherland and Kelsey Grammer, most recently), the role of the critic - and arts journalism in general - is being widely debated. Should a critic be a neutral mediator of experience? Or a subjective arbiter of taste? “The critic is not a straw-poll merchant, a tipster or a second-guesser of audience taste, simply an individual paid to record his or her reaction. Throughout history this has been a source of creative tension between artists and critics.” The Guardian 06/28/00

CONTROL YOUR BRATS! New York Magazine theater critic John Simon loses it at a performance of "Music Man" and screams at the parent of noisy kids to shut them up. "Simon said he 'smelled trouble' as soon as he saw several young children - between the ages of 4 and 8 - sitting in front of him." New York Post 05/01/00

CRITIC FIRED: Baltimore Sun music critic has been fired for plagiarism. (AP) Baltimore Sun 11/26/99

HALF-BAKED: Washington Post critic complained in his review that the show he was writing about was too short. No kidding! Don't leave at intermission then. Here's the day-after correction. Washington Post 12/1/99

A DECADENT SNOB: John Fry was Britain's most influential critic of the 20th Century. He invented modernism for the British public and championed the post-Impressionists - but his aesthetic is totally out of step with contemporary notions of aesthetic taste in the UK. London Sunday Times 10/24/99

THE DEVALUED CRITIC: Where do those amazingly obscure rave blurbs for this or that movie come from? With a proliferation of easy-to-access opinions on the internet, how does one sort out who's credible and who's not. *spark-online 12/00

IS THE NEW YORKER'S ANTHONY LANE REALLY A BAD CRITIC? "What’s at issue here has nothing to do with 'opinion', or whether one likes or dislikes 'Crouching Tiger'. It has to do with the critic’s basic grasp of his subject. He’s not really a film critic but a quip-minded belletrist who happened into a lucrative gig and appears to have no inclination, now, to patch up the gaping holes in his knowledge of film." New York Press 12/12/00

WHERE TO SEE CANADA'S BEST ART: Art critic Blake Gopnik is leaving the Canada's Globe & Mail to take up the same job at the Washington Post. He leaves writing about what he likes best in Canadian art. The Globe & Mail 12/30/00

PITY THE POOR DESPISED CRITIC: "I've been examining fictional works that include critics as characters. The result? Forget about positive role models. Each film critic I've discovered in a movie is a walking and laboriously talking stereotype. Some portraits are playful and satirical; others are malicious. In every case, though, the film reviewer is boorish, obsessive, and neurotic (and almost invariably male), someone you wouldn't want to be stuck next to at a movie. Boston Phoenix 03/09/01

SO YOU WANT TO BE A MOVIE CRITIC: "Early in life, develop no practical skills. I advise watching nothing but television until the age of about 9, then venturing out. Practise emotional repression. Not only will this help you keep a useful distance from everyone around you, it will force you to displace your emotional response to utterly useless things. Like movies. Hold strong views on things that don't matter to anyone else." Toronto Star 01/12/01

THE CRITIC CRITICIZED: When you're a critic everyone loves to criticize you. One critic looks over the criticism that came his way this year. "The eminent critic and playwright Robert Brustein took me to task for reporting that his fashionably coifed crony David Mamet was in a 'slump' because he had written an awful novel that couldn't find a US publisher. (Good thing I didn't know about the 'poetry' and the vanity CD.)" Boston Globe 12/21/00

LIFE-SIZE CRITIC: Artists create a life-size wax statue of London Evening Standard art critic Brian Sewell and put it in a show. Sewell is depicted staring at a wall label which explains what the artwork is. Sewell is not amused. "I can tell you that they have been desperately trying to get me there to do the boring thing of photographing us together. It means I shall not be going to the exhibition." London Evening Standard 10/12/00

"I CAN'T NAME ONE CRITIC I TRUST": Last week the American magazine Variety polled four dozen filmmakers to see what they thought about film critics. It wasn't a happy report. Most lament a decline in review standards, saying many critics had turned into little more than "blurbmeisters." The Guardian 03/22/00

ODE TO A CRITIC: Saluting a critic with an exhibition of art is a dicey matter. But John Ruskin, England's greatest critic, made it easy for the Tate. London Times 03/08/00

CONTROLLING THE CRITICS: It's tough to Intimidate theatre or art critics. But Hollywood and the fashion industry have so much control over their products (stars) that an indiscreet word (or even question) can put your access (and your job) in jeopardy. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/07/00

WHO NEEDS ART CRITICS? Here and there in a few major periodicals one can find art critics who realize they are writing for a mass medium and general audience, and not for a rarefied elite of cultural academics, museum docents and fellow critics. But then there are those who conduct themselves as though the masses who have lined up in such volume for recent Vermeer, Monet and Cezanne exhibitions were beneath contempt for their lack of art history degrees. Chicago Tribune 12/07/00

CELEBRITY PACK JOURNALISM: The media that cover Hollywood increasingly do a superficial and formulaic job, say critics. Reporters prefer reporting quick hit gossip or meaningless data rather than doing stories that reveal how the entertainment industry really works. For example, "the media's obsession with opening weekend grosses is as ironic as it may be destructive. Why? Because virtually everyone in Hollywood agrees that most of the numbers the studios report to the media are inaccurate, if not downright dishonest. 'They're made up - fabricated - every week'." Los Angeles Times 02/12/01





Click Here!