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Art criticismlocked

  • James Elkins

Extract

Term that may be defined loosely as writing that evaluates art, although there is no universally agreed meaning. The difficulty in its definition arises from fundamentally antithetical usages. While on the one hand art criticism is understood as a historical practice, embracing such writers as Pliny and Giorgio Vasari and continuing to the present, on the other it represents a kind of writing that is potentially independent of historical conditions. There is still no reliable history of art criticism, and virtually no literature on its nature. Some philosophers deny that art criticism exists as such, and others say it subsumes art history. The disparity of views as to the concept’s nature makes appropriate separate discussions of the alternate definitions....

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