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Lori Waxman, 60 wrd/min art critic, 2012. Installation view at dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany. Photo credit: Claire Pentecost.Since 2005, Lori Waxman has conducted a work of performance art about art criticism entitled the 60 wrd/min art critic. Through this ongoing performance she has provided brief written reviews to visual artists in various geographical locations, on a first-come, first-served basis.For three days at University Galleries of Illinois State University, Waxman will receive artists seeking reviews as part of 60 wrd/min art critic. Reviews, which are free of charge, will be scheduled and written in twenty-five minute increments during these hours: March 24 and March 25, from 11am to 5pm, and March 26, from 10am to 4pm.Reviews will be signed, “published,” and ready for pick-up within the timeframe of the performance. Artist, artwork, critic, and review will all exist in the same space simultaneously, thereby helping to demystify the art review process. The reviews will all be posted at the performance site and will remain on view through April 3. In addition, the reviews will be published on this webpage beginning on March 24. WGLT public radio is an NPR affiliate and a service of Illinois State University.Appointments for Waxman’s reviews can be requested beginning on March 10 by emailing critic@60wrdmin.org. Please include any date and time preferences. In the event the requests for reviews exceed 30, selections will be made by computer lottery. Participants will be notified via email about appointments and the details of the performance process.Waxman describes the 60 wrd/min art critic as many things: “an exploration of short-form art writing, a work of performance art in and of itself, an experiment in role shifting between artist and critic, [and] a democratic gesture and a circumvention of the art review process.” She says that at a time when newspaper and magazine art columns are disappearing, the 60 wrd/min art critic “aims to get a community thinking about where the responsibility for art criticism resides…the project deals comically and literally with the idea that there are too many artists and galleries, and not enough critical venues to cover it all.”Waxman has focused her project on regional arts communities in a wide variety of locations across America, including Detroit; Portland, Maine; and Kansas City, Missouri. In the summer of 2012, a 100-day version was included in dOCUMENTA (13), the major survey of international art held every five years in Kassel, Germany. An artist book of those reviews was later published by Onestar Press, Paris.Waxman, who was born in Montreal, Canada, writes a biweekly column for the Chicago Tribune. She teaches art history and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and holds a Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where she wrote her dissertation about walking as a radical aesthetic art form. She is co-author of Girls! Girls! Girls! in contemporary art (2011) and Talking with Your Mouth Full: New Language for Socially Engaged Art (2008).The 60 wrd/min art critic is a project of the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. More information on this national project can be found at www.60wrdmin.org. At University Galleries, this project is organized by Senior Curator Kendra Paitz and is sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Foundation and the Illinois State University Foundation Fund.University Galleries is located at Uptown Station at the corner of Beaufort and Broadway streets. Parking is available directly above in the Uptown Station parking deck, and the first hour is free, as well as any time after 5:01pm. If you need special accommodations to participate in any event, please contact University Galleries at 309.438.5487 or gallery@IllinoisState.edu. All events at University Galleries are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.FineArts.IllinoisState.edu/galleries or call 309.438.5487.

CATHERINE J. DAVIS

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6o WRD/MIN ART CRITIC AT UNIVERSITY GALLERIES, NORMAL, IL  3/26/16  3:28PM

Catherine J. Davis’s “The Narrows” torments me. I have endured this kind of torture before, when at the peak of a steep Vermont mountain, achieved after an arduous three-hour climb, the others hikers just wouldn’t shut up. “The Narrows” presents a light-box photograph of a forested gorge, covered in luminescent moss, its rocks worn smooth by the passage of a mountain stream. A subtle set of stairs carved into the crag hints at the nuisance to come: people. The sounds of these human visitors, warning each other about the slippery steps, giving directives about picture-taking or just chatting away, continually interrupts an audio track of bubbling, rushing water. But if the people are quieted, which is to say if they are made to go away, will anyone be left to care about that gorge? The solution isn’t a simple one. A difficult question exists at the core of wilderness preservation: for whom or what is the environment being preserved—for human use and appreciation, or for nature herself? Humans litter on trails, but if there’s no one in the forest to hear the tree fall, who will pick it up? 

 

—Lori Waxman

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