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Guest Critic

No One Gets to be Right

The focus of this Guest Critic section is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time. To ask several writers whose work I respect (often by disagreeing with it, and I hope that favor has been returned) to respond to a simple prompt: “I was wrong.”

Rethinking David Hockney

Portraits, by their nature, are always about mortality and art’s relation to our finite lives. I felt silly for not having thought of mortality on my first visit and was happy I had a second chance to see the paintings through a new set of eyes.


I couldn’t possibly do anything lacking in merit, credibility, honor.

I Was Wrong

Another troubling aspect to the infallibility principle of art criticism—by which the value of your opinion is determined by the proportion of artists you choose to write about who are still considered relevant 10 or 20 years after the fact—is that contemporary art is never affixed with an unwavering value, even after it’s no longer seen as contemporary.


Today post-critique is currently recalibrating critique’s longstanding objective to interrogate, demystify, defamiliarize.

"I Fucking Hate David Hockney"

I still don’t like much of the painting. The portraits, the post-impressionist rehashes, and landscapes. I don’t even like the swimming pools all that much, but I can see the point of them (and the point isn’t the money, though there’s that).

Second Thoughts

Rather than putting myself in the picture, I instead imagined that Majoli’s paintings were all about her fantasies. I also thought that she had no business painting gay men having sex with one another. Treating her as a voyeur—and an opportunist—I blinded myself to the complexity of what her works were up to.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2019

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