The Role of the Art Critic and Historian

The Role of the Art Critic and Historian

Focus: The conceptual framework

“How do the viewpoints of art critics and art historians shape the way that we think about artists and their practice?”

The viewpoints of art critics and historians are in most cases, more influential in shaping the way we think about artists and their practice, then any other medium. However it is also seen that due to the radical nature of some artworks the public’s opinion is too easily shaped by the political and conservative nature of the society in which they live.  

The roles of the art critic and historian are achieved through a number of methods, including but not limited to the fact that it is one of the major roles of an art critic or historian to clarify and assess everything about an artwork to the greater public audience.
However often the critics and historians are opinionated and give us, the greater public audience, biased views based upon their own personal interpretation of the conceptual framework of a piece of art.
It is my opinion that we as the greater public audience are generally too ignorant or ambivalent to form our own meaningful opinions regarding controversial artwork. We therefore tend to rely heavily upon the views and opinions of others, most notably, Governments and conservative bodies and public figures and far too little on the art critics and historians.

Using the case of Bill Henson’s controversial photography that came under the spotlight in 2008 I will assess how the views of art critics and historians shape the way in which we think about artists and their practice.  

“Bill Henson is an artist of ferocious integrity, a photographer of the human condition and an experimenter of remarkable skill and conviction” – Dennis Cooper

This quote from Dennis Cooper shows how the art world generally defends the work of Bill Henson and is appreciative of the skill and conceptual understanding of what it means to be human. The work that he...