Art Talk: Why Art Critics Matter

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The last full-time art critic in the city of Chicago was laid off by Time Out magazine last month. Now, there are fewer than ten full-time art critics employed by newspapers and magazines in the country.

Culture commentator Deborah Solomon acknowledges that art critics are not easy to love. "They are, by definition, bossy and overly opinionated," she said.

But Solomon argues that culture is more than an Old Master painting hanging at the Frick or a black-and-white video flashing in a Chelsea gallery. "Culture is also the time we spend looking at art and talking about it. That’s where art critics come in. They care passionately," she said. "Without them, New Yorkers would probably talk about nothing but real estate." 

Click on the audio link above to listen to Solomon's whole piece. And do you agree with her, or do you think critics are obsolete? Post your comment below.


Deborah Solomon is a critic and journalist who lives in New York City. She asked many bold questions of political figures during her tenure as the "Questions For" columnist at The New York Times Magazine. Her new book, "American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell," will be published in November.