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“The Critique of Art Criticism” by Buchmann & Grow

Social discrimination issues and art criticism are intrinsically interconnected, reflecting each other. In their article, Buchmann and Graw (2019) explore the criticism’s fundamental predicament, which they define as its participation in the value production, and identify the need for it to distance itself from the market values. The article looks at the issue from contemporary and historical perspectives at the same time. “The critique of art criticism” examines the forms of criticism that focus on the predominant modern modes of categorical systems and schools of thought, studies their limitations and potentials, and considers the reductionisms of criticism.

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The article reflects on the point of view of speculative realism and New Materialism. As Buchmann and Graw (2019) state, this mode of thought’s perspective is situated between “Kantian judgment and poststructuralist discourse analysis” (p. 34). At the same time, the authors point out the need to recognize the role of subjective projection and interpretation in the matter. The article sets the exemplary points for the reflection on art discrimination and criticism. Furthermore, Buchmann and Graw (2019) refer to “Latour’s polemic against the “hermeneutic of suspicion as well as Stakemeier’s advocacy of an anti-national return to the early Romantic universalism of art criticism.” They note that criticism does resonate with the social judgment due to the distinctions and demarcations it inevitably makes. In this regard, criticism can be considered a form of discrimination (Buchmann & Graw, 2019). However, art critique is not merely a reflection of social discrimination and analysis; it is a medium of this reflection that applies the critical tools to itself. In other words, art critique seeks to counteract the degrading and unequal treatment while being aware of its involvement.

In this regard, the article emphasizes the importance of awareness of the critics’ words in society and their role in dealing with structural racism issues, highlighting that only an analytical approach can be efficient. At the same time, Buchmann and Graw (2019) believe that it requires destabilizing the current position of criticism and realizing that” critics do not, as they like to think, survey the scene from above” (p. 36). In other words, one should be aware of their particularity, as well as social position and the current environment.

Furthermore, the article studies the loss of criticism’s distance about the market’s value. Buchmann and Graw (2019) mention the transformation of liberal democracy into the market-oriented one and state that art criticism can have a corrective role if it does not comply with the market’s conventional registers. However, the authors acknowledge that criticism should remain aware of its involvement in market interactions. At the same time, being a corrective contributes to the formation of values (Buchmann & Graw, 2019). The article emphasizes that art and criticism are integrated as part of the broader social discrimination, which, nonetheless, allows them to adopt a critical approach towards discrimination. This paradox sheds light not only on the associated challenges but also on the potential of criticism.

To summarize, while criticism has a critical point of view of society, it needs to be aware of its involvement in the discrimination mechanism. The article by Buchmann and Graw claims that art criticism acts as a means of social discrimination reflection. In this regard, art critique not only investigates the inequalities prevalent in society but gives hope for establishing anti-discriminatory conceptions as practical counter-values in the market.


Buchmann, S., & Graw, I. (2019). The critique of art criticism. (Jackson, G., Trans.). Texte Zur Kunst, 113, p. 32-51. Web.

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