GAVIN DELAHUNTY FEELS art acquires its existence in part by critical discourse. You might expect that would be his perspective because he is an art critic. Gavin sits on a Masters Degree Visual Arts Practises course with me where we have seen critical judgment voided by curatorial organisational skills. Said another way, modern curators have direct access to the culture industry. They don't really need art critics to write their stuff or open doors for them. On top of that, most curators are very astute judges of quality. My experience in Ireland is that a well-run gallery has a high-level art connoisseur behind the desk. That curator brings interesting exhibitions to the gallery space, some which could serve as quality investments.
I am a little startled by how art critics seem to be on the path to obsolence. From my perspective, it's the curators with the clout and the critics hope to catch the crumbs off the reception tables during assorted openings around the country. About the only way a critic will jump aboard the high-art train is by bringing a name into the mix (perhaps a well-heeled commercial interest) or by integrating an articulate transdisciplinary approach to criticism.
I know there is a valid role for criticism in the classroom. It's important to know that effective criticism performs a discursive function. Traditionally, its function has been to judge or to parse. The manner in which questions are raised among members in a class is vitally important. Then the manner in which the questions are handled gives criticism its legitimacy. The critical language used should engage and inform, not alienate and confuse. And the same standard applies to critical writing.
Conversations with Gavin Delahunty incorporate memes from October, the magazine and book series focusing critical attention on the contemporary arts and their various contexts of interpretation: film, painting, music, photography,performance, sculpture, literature. Google finds 340 citations for "round table of art criticism"