OF THE CRITIC
The Stuckists (est. 1999)
The first Remodernist art group
The Stuckists' critique of the critics
The critic's job is to see the true nature of what is placed
before them with clarity, not to have less insight than a six year old
or a greengrocer.
2. The critic needs to have as much integrity, independence and daring
as an artist should have - unfortunately neither of them do.
3. It is very tempting for artists to think that anything they do
is special simply because they have done it. It is the critic's
job to remind them that this is not the case. Or, in this instance,
it is our job to remind the critic that what he has done is not special
4. In order to satisfy his craving for inclusion in the celebrity
glow of art star circles, the critic must pander to the inflated and
deluded egos that grant admission.
5. It should be mandatory for critics to declare any conflict of
interest in their work, e.g. Time Out should carry a statement that
Sarah Kent writes catalogue essays for The Saatchi Gallery and J. Jopling's
White Cube Gallery.
6. The most foolish critic is the critic afraid of appearing foolish.
7. Conceptual art has so little to say in itself that its only achievement
of meaning is the inspiration of a very low level of poetry in the critic.
8. As Contemporary art is primarily about the materials from which
it is made, the critic is satisfied to analyse the mechanism of the
manufacturing process and pretend that something else is going on. Colluding
with the artist in a joint need to appear cool and fashionable, the
critic is reduced to the role of a describer of the blatantly obvious.
9. Contemporary art critics are not art critics.
10. A major current critical fallacy is to assume that the display
of an object, which is an intrinsic part of an experience, in any way
interprets a theme or deals with the issue of that experience. A
dead shark displayed as an art work does not tell us anything about
death (or for that matter about sharks), that we would not know through
the ordinary experience of seeing a dead shark, completely regardless
of its art context. A dead shark in a tank of formaldehyde doesn't address
the issue of death: it is just dead. The only possible comment that
it makes is that to be dead is like being in a contemporary art gallery.
11. Neither the contemporary artist nor the contemporary critic is
prepared to communicate anything of relevance or value to human life
outside the narrow confines of the art world.
12. Many people see so - called contemporary art in a gallery but
it seems to them to be nothing but a pile of rubbish. However, because
it is in a gallery and has been taken seriously by the critics, these
people conclude that it can't be rubbish, that they have missed the
point and they are stupid. We have good news for these people: they
13. As an exercise in imagination, think of any object, place it
in Tate Modern, or the British Art Show, and imagine a critical response.
Some of our favourite objects for such analysis are a wellington
boot, a door handle, a stack of bricks, a fresh car accident, a television
set showing the South Bank Show, and the contents of a cess pit.
14. Critics assume that they are the interpreters of sensibility,
when they are merely intellectualisers of it. Talking about sensibility
is not experiencing sensibility. Anyone experiencing with sensibility
would be incapable of writing with such convinced delusion.
15. Critical dominance has reduced art to an intellectual exercise.
This has had a very damaging effect on the sensibility of artists who
naturally seek critical acclaim and are susceptible to such bullying
because they are usually intellectually inferior. (We are rare exceptions.)
16. Looking is a material experience; seeing, a cultural experience
and perceiving, a spiritual experience; a definition of true art
(and hence true criticism) is an alignment of all three.
17. Seeing that critics invariably back the wrong horse it would
be wise for them to champion what they denounce and denounce what they
champion. This has never been truer than today when the almost universal
critical consensus has been to elevate Pollock, Warhol and Hirst, to
the level genius.
18. Today's critics display a disgraceful cowardice.
19. Today's critics, mindful that critics in the past have criticised
the wrong thing and ended up looking ridiculous, think that they have
outwitted the ironies of history by praising all manner of rubbish.
But just because genius has been called rubbish it does not necessarily
follow that rubbish is genius.
by The Hangman Bureau of Enquiry
11 Boundary Road
Kent ME4 6TS