The apparent importance of art is that it represents a portion of the development of our society that continues to remain unformed and ambiguous. Art is everywhere and in everything we generally experience; there’s not a single corner of civilization in the world where one will not discover some form of art. Strangely, though, as one ventures and discovers more about art, one might notice that the medium isn’t only the work of the artist, but that of the critic as well. However, the line that governs the difference between the two professions is, arguably, thickening, and not for the better.
Keep in mind, art would most definitely not be where it currently is without the efforts of both the artist and the critic. In order to perform their tasks efficiently, they share a common interest in the subject and art form presented to them, as well as have an unwavering passion for their jobs. Both have a keen drive to pursue what they love, and constantly hold at the forefront of thought that their utmost priority is the advancement of the medium. Furthermore, they are professional, and most if not all of the time respect each other. They are both knowledgeable on the topic, and have a keen understanding as to how things basically work. Their best tools are the ones they carry with them, such as an artist’s paintbrush to an art critic’s pen, or a filmmaker’s movie screen to a film critic’s editorial column. As a result of the processes that both undergo, an eventual product is always created, and has a focus statement and intent.
In modern times, however, art is divided into two, interlinking aspects called creativity and logistics. The main difference between the artist and the critic is that the artist handles the creativity, while the critic manages the logistics. For example, a playwright forges a play worthy of the Broadway stage, yet it will never arrive at its deserved destination unless the critic handles its publication. It is this very manner that art works that has caused a thickening between the two halves, though, as the line that divides the artist from the critic cracks further when one begins to realize that the separation occurs at the thought of a single word: appreciation. And not just any sort of appreciation, the form of appreciation that manifests in devoting one’s time, sweat, blood, and tears into creating something worth sharing to the world. A person may spend the long hours of his waking day vigorously composing what he believes to be, and may very well be, the world’s next great piece of classical music, only to have a well-known critic criticize its horrendous rhythm and how it mimics Bach too closely. The critic holds most of the power when it comes to the worldly impact of a work, and such power presents an easy chance to be abused. They many know how a typewriter works, but using it to create the next “To Kill a Mockingbird,” or “The Great Gatsby,” is beyond their knowledgeable grasp. Many critics tend to view a work solely at face value, and what results are reviews tattered with personal preference. There is a scene in the movie “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, in which the main character, a mentally unstable and struggling playwright, discusses his upcoming play with a non-compliant critic at a bar. No matter how much he or his co-worker tries to convince the critic otherwise, her answer always returns to the remark, “I’m going to kill your play.”
The terms at which the artist and the critic are similar are indeed present, no doubt, however, the terms at which they divulge into their separate niches far outclass their relativity. Though both professions share a similar respect for a similar medium, a true understanding of the hardships undergone to create that medium is what draws the thick line. Especially in recent times, art has in many moments been stemmed by the stubbornness of both sides. And without any sort of strive for a resolve, who truly knows when the world’s Schindler’s List will be?
– Bryan Tran