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Readings to Fight against Entropy in Thinking of Art and about Art

Jean-Marc Poinsot
Cet article est une traduction de :
Des lectures pour lutter contre l’entropie de la pensée de l’art et sur l’art

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1Criticism at work must provide itself with the wherewithal to think about new objects and make a re-assessment of them. This is the case with Riccardo Venturi’s contributions, in this issue of Critique d’art, about the expanded cinema and Alexandre Castant’s about the sound arts. But this can only be done by going back over what, in the eyes of most people, has always seemed to be a component of art criticism: the discriminating function. Be it about the revival of prizes and awards examined by Sophie Cras in her article or, conversely, the function of the judgment of taste in the face of its relativization under the effect of globalized reduction, open to one and all, of its exercise, as examined by Eric Loret, in the excerpt from the introduction to his Petit manuel critique.

2There can be no denying the fact that the function of arbiter of taste is no longer at the hub of critical praxis as posited right away by Christophe Domino, who, within the framework of a grant and a CNAP grant and research programme, has become involved in a line of thinking about and a contribution to the political project in the broad sense of the term, launched a few years ago now by Krzyzsztof Wodiczko, as part of his World Institute for the Abolition of War. Together with Gavin Butt, he lays claim to the possibility of “applying a ‘performative’ modality of criticism”. With him, likewise, it is at least partly within the context of an area of research and teaching, shared with art students, that Christophe Domino performs. Incidentally, Domino uses the term harlequinism to describe the professional conduct of the critic, emphasizing the plurality of his methods of intervention: as a removed observer in the press and the media of the latest art news, occasional exhibition curator, art school or university teacher, contributor to the various systems for supporting art and, in the end of the day, the beneficiary of a status comparable to that of the artist in his critical experiments and research. This very wide openness of critical activities is not simple to define in so far as these activities perform in terrain where the challenges are not comparable, when they are not antagonistic. The diversity of these involvements was all the more complex and problematically compatible when, immediately after the Second World War, UNESCO was looking for institutional interlocutors to accomplish its programmes. Antje Kramer-Mallordy has started to take the measure of this in the report of her first investigation of the archives of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA).

3The complexity of the various situations is no less topical, if we go by the examination made by Benjamin Meyer-Krahmer of the latest publications about exhibition curating, appearing in London, Berlin, Brussels, and Paris. In it, he contrasts those which create a narrative of their experiences and their careers marked by or laying claim to direct frequentation of great predecessors and the present-day generation coming from specialized academic training. He points out certain weaknesses and is careful to question what might be “a specifically curatorial form of the production of knowledge”, by mentioning the quite recent contributions of Anselm Franke (2012) and Dietrich Diederichsen (2013).  

4Lastly, by way of conclusion, it is not the portraits of Michel Nuridsany, for criticism, or Etel Adnan for her various creative activities, which will reduce art figures to monoliths. These two people have richly diverse talents and areas of intervention. In other words, here is an issue of Critique d’art making it possible to fight against the entropy of the practices of creation and thinking.

5As we go to press we have learnt of the death of Anne Tronche, a highly respected Parisian critic, to whom we dedicate this issue, as a tribute to her exemplary career.

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Jean-Marc Poinsot, « Readings to Fight against Entropy in Thinking of Art and about Art », Critique d’art [En ligne], 45 | 2015, mis en ligne le 04 novembre 2016, consulté le 25 avril 2019. URL :

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