Artist, Critic, Beauty and Truth

February 22nd, 2016
aoscott.jpgHow many times have you gone to the movies, or to an art exhibit or read a book  and not really felt that you’ve completed the experience until you’ve talked about the movie or show or exhibit with someone else?  Either the person you went with, or somebody who read or saw the same thing.  

This is at once both the most primal of social media and also emphasizes the importance of opinion and criticism.  Both give art context and, through the process of discussion or even argument, the ability to sort out, to understand and process what we saw.

This is and has been the job of critics and criticism in our society.  In this why criticism is like legal thinking.  It marshals and structures ideas, in ways that give art its power and forward thrust.

But in today's society, where everyone can have a platform, where our respect for expertise seems fragile at best, where the long tail of confirmation bias seems to drive everything from our politics, to musical and artistic taste, what role is there for the critic.  This is what NY Times film critic A.O. Scott writes about in Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth

My conversation with A.O. Scott: