As I am confronted with this blank page after the disastrous results of the election, I must admit I feel lost as to what I am supposed to do next. I can tell you how I feel; like others, I feel angry, betrayed, confused, afraid, but thankfully not alone. But now even those sentiments feel overused. There is a familiarity to this, not unlike the early aftermath of 9/11, when many of us in the art world questioned the importance of what we do and asked ourselves what is art’s role in times of uncertainty and struggle. What we soon discovered, and will again if we haven’t already, is that art is central to who we are as humans and as a culture. Artists are creative thinkers who challenge, expand, educate, disrupt, and revision the world in ways that others cannot.
The task of the critic is not dissimilar to that of the artist. Our charge is to use the power of words to elicit, extend and mediate the dialogue, to inform and educate, to re/frame the view, to challenge the status quo.
The resolve of art and artists will be tested once again with the imminent return of the culture wars, started by Ronald Reagan, reignited by Trump. Now is the time for critics to take back the discursive function of public space and re-energize the critical apparatus of alternative media and the art press. Above all, our primary mandate is to uphold the rights to free expression and free speech, including our own.
On November 9, 2016, art criticism found its renewed purpose; as a critic I did too.