where is the critical theory

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Where is the criticcal theory in this town?

-- Anonymous, January 25, 1999


My feeling is there is no single critical theory, since each artist holds their own, whether consciously or not. Look within grasshopper!

If what you are looking for is debate on what are valid or significant critical theories currently held, then the Salon Artisimo recently begun at the Art Jones Gallery may be a good place to begin. The first Tuesday of the month 7-9pm is reserved for cross-discipline discussion on various topics (including those you might propose)relating to creative work, including the philosophies driving the work. The third Tuesday evenings are for group critique and discussion of 1-2 artists' work, determined in advance. For further info you can email: Doug Padilla .

If what you are looking for is some form of cohesive well-thought social criticism held and expressed by a local group of artists or academicians, I think you can find several.

Beside a common materialistic middle class approach to art as decoration and reinforcer of comfort, there is another more critical theory widely held relating to multiculturalism and the interaction of cultural powers and values. This second one is where I see you fitting in Pete. It includes a number of performing arts groups, and is also promoted by a number of curators at all of the major museums and non-profit galleries in town. The "Genocide" show at the Nash Gallery currently showing is one example.

My own critical theory tries to look beyond the clash of cultures to the wider view of the physical nature of life and a non-mediated experience of it. This is related to the current western interpretations of Zen Buddhism and Tantric meditation, not as theories but as actual experiental practices, and to the scientific revelations about biological function, ecology and the nature of chaos. My theory approaches painting as another way to practice or discover this unmediated experience, while promoting its value to viewers at large.

A practical question to close: Do you know anything of the Center for Art Criticism here in Minneapolis, and does their mission or practice relate to your question at all?

-- Anonymous, January 26, 1999

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