Thomas Crow


    In the pages of this continuing series Artforum invites a range of critics or theorists to articulate what they see as the role and responsibilities of art criticism today.

    IN THE YEARS SINCE 1970 or so, a deep divide has occurred in art criticism: its vocabularies and modes of address no longer even begin to cohere into one dialogue. By contrast, even the most demanding criticism of the Modernist generation took for granted a common space of viewing and, by extension, of discussion of art. Art was made in the studio, then brought complete and intact to the gallery. The critic’s task was to give


    JUST WHY IS IT that Pop, after three decades, retains so much of its youthful exuberance and vibrant appeal?“ writes Marco Livingstone, organizer of ”The Pop Art Show" at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, at one point in his catalogue overview.1 The sentence jumps off the page, its syntax and tone precisely those of Richard Hamilton’s title for his famous collage of 1956: Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? Surely, one thinks, the exactness of the parallel is intended, and, therefore, this rhetorical question must be designed, as it was in Hamilton’s piece, to

  • Being “Economical with the Truth”

    THE PUBLIC FACE OF the war in Britain and the United States seems, as far as one can tell from this side of the Atlantic, to have been nearly the same. The best proof of this came in an interview on BBC radio with three American foreign editors. The British interviewer expressed the general opinion among his colleagues that American military spokesmen were more forthcoming than their British counterparts; the Americans countered with their belief that the reverse was true. An unfamiliar accent produces the illusion of more information and more sense, when the product is exactly the same.



    “HIGH AND LOW: Modern Art and Popular Culture,” just mounted by the Museum of Modern Art, seems to have crashed and burned on impact like one of Roy Lichtenstein’s Pop-art jet fighters. The reviewers in the daily and weekly press have seen to that. It is not often, after all, that the New York Times is willing to label as “a disaster” such a major and long-anticipated undertaking by a kindred civic institution. The exhibition, along with what remains of its credibility, will now limp across the continent to Chicago and Los Angeles over the coming year. But this protracted aftermath is potentially