How to review a show – a manifesto ver 0.1

NOTE: This is a manifesto-in-progress. It’s not righteous or applicable to everyone. It’s just something I’m working on for myself, to help me (as an artist) better process what I see others creating and to avoid what, to me, are nigh-inescapable eddies of snark, condescension, bitterness, and posturing that come from discussing anything from downtown performance art all the way to a major motion picture.

So, enjoy, steal, add, critique, ignore. Here we go.

  1. The measure of success/failure can only be gauged on what the artist herself was attempting to create.
  2. There are 3 gifts of audience-experiencing a work:
    1. What you can apply to your own work (academic)
    2. What you can apply to your life (spiritual)
    3. What others can articulate (communal)
  3. Critique of an artist’s work requires 2 core understandings:
    1. Where this work fits into the artists’ canon. Artistry is a process over a life, a single work unrelatable without the context of its predecessors.
    2. Where this work fits into the community of local work and global culture. A one-night only reading of a 10-minute play in suburban Chicago relates right now both to the area playwriting scene as well as to Hollywood, Broadway, Washington, Wall Street, and the internet.
  4. Absolutism serves no one.
  5. The way you make art has nothing to do with the correct way to make art.
  6. Taste is more important than history.
  7. History is more important than syntax.
  8. Syntax is more important than public narrative.
  9. Public narrative is more important than personal response.
  10. Personal response is more important than taste.
  11. Don’t unless you like to.
  12. Like to.

The end. I’ll try to keep updating and imcorporating others’ suggestions along the way. Maybe I’ll eventually try to post decent reviews of things other than TV commercials on here.

One Comment

  1. jillian wrote:

    This is neat!

    Your recursive function of 6-10 at first flummoxed me, but now I understand! Wait! Do I understand? Can we talk more about recursive function as a tool in understanding our relationship to taste, history, syntax, public narrative and personal response? I like this math metaphor… Simple, elusive, and ever-repetitive (like life, like art). I’m thinking this is also a nice perception tool for how to move and track the part of us that judges (and i mean this in the most neutral sense that you can use the word “judge.”)

    Also, i think i just made myself insane. Math metaphors, ahhhhhhhh!!

    Friday, March 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

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