The Public Role of the Critic, NCAD, Monday 15th Feb., 2010

The Public Role of the Critic, A forum hosted by Art and the Contemporary World and Gradcam.

NCAD, Monday 15th Feb., 2010

Participants: Irving Sandler (art critic), Jennifer Thatcher (director of talks at the ICA, London), Maeve Connolly (critic, author and lecturer, IADT), Shumon Basar (architect, writer, curator), Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith , Chair, (writer and critic), with introductions by Francis Halsall & Declan Long (MA, ACW).

What is the public role of the critic? What are the expectations and responsibilities of criticism today? And is it possible to conceive of a coherent public to which critical practices would in fact be responsible? This forum will address these questions and assess the extent to which contemporary criticism, in discipline-specific or more general contexts, in written or broadcast forms, assumes and performs a public role. Perhaps, as Ronan McDonald has recently argued, the role of the critic today can be revivified through a renewed commitment to artistic merit: "if criticism is to be valued, if it is to reach a wide public ... it needs to be evaluative". Equally, however, given the drastic social circumstances in which the work of artists and critics now takes place, we might see significant potential for new, as yet untested, modes of critical work; as J.J. Charlesworth recently claimed, "historically its when arts relation to society is seen to be critical that a dynamic of criticism has emerged."

This forum is the first in a series of events hosted by MA Art in the Contemporary World that will interrogate related issues about the aesthetic, political and economic implications and responsibilities involved in the production of publics and knowledge(s). These are questions that have particular relevance to the contemporary Irish context in which debates about the various meanings of "public" take place against a background of economic instability, population change and national uncertainty.


There will be 2 parts to the seminar:

1 - a small, closed seminar in the afternoon

2 - a public roundtable.

The closed seminar is free but numbers are strictly limited. Anyone interested in participating should send a short expression of interest (explaining why they would like to participate) accompanied with a short biographical note to: ; or

Posted by: Francis Halsall on Feb 02, 10 | 2:23 pm | Profile


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