PRINT September 1989


“No ideas but in things,” declared William Carlos Williams. “Criticism,” wrote Harold Rosenberg, “ . . . can be significant only through the . . . practice of it by interesting minds and by the appearance of writings addressed to real things.” What happens, then, when the “real thing” is criticism itself? Throughout the year, in this “Critical Reflections”section of Artforum, a range of art critics and theorists will explore some of these issues: how they view their role and responsibilities; how they would articulate the unique functions that art criticism can or does fulfill; how they define the criteria upon which they evaluate art (if “evaluate” is indeed the right word); why they see these criteria as particularly relevant and important today; and what they see as the future of art criticism—where is it going; where should it be going?

A FEW YEARS AGO I undertook to write an essay on

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