Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Fine Art of Criticism

What’s black and white and ‘read’ all over? A newspaper. Get it?

English language newspapers, at one time, published the best in arts criticism: dance, classical music, fine arts, architecture and drama. But those days are long gone.

Terry Teachout writes about how valuable newspaper criticism was in the 20th century: “… a considerable number of the most significant collections of criticism published in the 20th century, including Virgil Thomson’s The Musical Scene (1945), Edwin Denby’s Looking at the Dance (1949), Kenneth Tynan’s Curtains (1961), and Hilton Kramer’s The Age of the Avant-Garde (1973) consisted in large part of newspaper reviews.”

Are English language readers no longer interested in the arts or reading cerebral criticism? What happened? Is celebrity gossip taking over our brains?

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