This man needs to retire
I never liked Alan Artner, the art critic of the Chicago Tribune for the past 33 years.
I don't like how he writes, thinks, looks -- and I especially don't like the things that he likes.
Well.. nothing unusual about that .. I've never read any art critic that I did like.
But now -- in his 33rd year -- he has seen fit to reverse the ONLY opinion he's ever had with which I would agree (which he wrote 33 years ago):
(referring to the artist Jim Nutt "Nothing wrong with this except that even at its inception eight years ago it was unspeakably shallow. Perhaps this time around the giggling I heard means that Chicagoans are gently but decisively laughing the stuff off our walls. Harmless as it is, Nutt's part in the ongoing joke has lasted far too long"
Why the change of heart ?
Actually -- he hasn't changed his opinion -- he still agrees with John Canaday that Imagism was "Greasy kid stuff" -- but now he repents the anger that he expressed back in his tempestuous youth.
Yes -- art is resilient -- or, or put it better, humanity is resilient -- civilizations come and go -- and still we're here to have another shot at it.
But individual lives -- and the moments of those lives -- come once and are gone forever -- and the institutional ascendency of "Chicago Ugly" is still, 30 years later, affecting the lives of artists, art students, and art lovers in the Chicago area.
A passion for our moments of life - specifically those moments spent in front of accessible paintings -- that should be sine qua non of an art critic worth publishing.
No -- despite 200 years of rule by the bourgeois class -- art is still not just "any business" -- and isn't this declaration of cynicism just another way of saying "I don't want this job any more "?
And there you have it --- painting is dead -- has everyone heard of the new 10 mega-pixel Nikon ?
Yes, I think Alan Artner has begun to dream of the rocking chair -- on a freshly painted wooden porch, looking westward over Lake Michigan.
But who is going to replace him ? Can anyone replace him ? Does it still make sense, in our fragmented post-modern artworld for a major newspaper to have a single, permanent, professional art critic ? Or would an arts-curious public be better served by an endless succession of different voices -- involved with different genres ?