Henry Geldzahler on Art Critics

I read this recently and wanted to share it. I don’t think this is accurate anymore since conceptual art has consciously blurred the boundaries between creator and audience but this is an interesting critical “time capsule”:

“The critic who conceives of the artist as his audience is rare. But even here, his effectiveness is limited by the very fact of the medium in which he expresses himself, words. Paintings lead to paintings; words never do. For this reason exposure to art of the past, both historical and recent, is essential to the intelligent comprehension of painting today…But painting is not verbal; it escapes words, and words cannot evoke with sufficient accuracy the effect or look or style which is the complexity of a successful painting or sculpture.”

Henry Geldzahler, “The Art Audience and the Critic,” originally published in The Hudson Review, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, Spring 1965.

Image: Alice Neel’s portrait of “Henry Geldzahler” via C-Monster.
There is also an intriguing portrait of Geldzahler by David Hockney (one of many) here.

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