Franklin Einspruch


Art Critics in the Time of Covid-19

for Vasari21, May 5, 2020 (read there)

[What does an art critic do when the museums and galleries are closed?... What does the future of art criticism look like as works migrate steadily to online platforms, and so many on the Web call themselves critics?]

I’m learning C, the programming language. Some interesting topics, notably computer graphics, are primarily described in C or one of its descendant languages. It’s a bit like the computing equivalent of Latin—it’s ancient, and it underpins an enormous amount of subsequent expression.

I’m not sanguine about the future of art criticism. The profession has long been connected to two others, journalism and academia. Journalism has been foundering for two decades. Academia has made itself vulnerable to fiscal assaults, of which the threatened closing of the San Francisco Art Institute is an early taste. Then there’s the virtualization of the art world, which is likely to cut out the art critics just as the digitizing of music cut out the music critics. Covid19 and its fallout promises to accelerate all of those trends towards their respective conclusions.

But in the near term, my site for art reviews, Delicious Line, has opened a special section, Delicious Quarantine, which is publishing art-adjacent pieces for the duration of the shutdown. I’m drawing, because it’s what I do. And I’m putting a lot of thought into what comes next, because I sense that a great reordering is underway.

Word count: 231

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