Christina Schmid


In a class mostly consisting of working artists' lectures, it was somewhat unexpected to have a lecture by an art critic. However, I think in this case, the lecture fit perfectly into the mold of the rest of the class, and in itself was absolutely fascinating for me.

In contrast to the last lecture, which I'd had a few problems with, I thought Christina did a brilliant job of laying out what she does, her reasons for doing it, and how she got started in the first place. I'd never really considered how exactly one becomes an art critic, and hearing that was certainly fascinating. One of the things that stayed with me from the talk was this quote: "If no one writes about a show, it never happened." While certainly a bit of an exaggeration, it raises a key point: documentation and criticism are incredibly important to the production of good work. It's easy to forget that there must be curators and critics who sift through the massive output of the creative class to make comments on it, but the truth is, the work they do is absolutely essential.

In addition, I found her comments about her interactions with the artist to be very interesting. To hear a critic say that they do in fact want a dialogue with an artist they criticize is highly refreshing, as I believe this is a way of furthering conversations. The short bit of debate between the gentleman in the back of the room and Christina was interesting, and I would've loved to hear the rest of the discussion about artists relationships' with critics.

All in all, I found this to be another highly engaging talk that I left inspired to think in new ways about the work I produce, and I enjoyed hearing a new perspective on the art world!


Christina was well-prepared for her talk and articulate. She gracefully laid out what she does, the different forms that her writing takes depending on purpose and audience, and the challenges of each, as well as capture for us the passion she brings to her work. That quote you mentioned, "If no one writes about a show, it never happened," bugged me. I suppose it was intended to be provocative, but, in my view, untrue. The art happened. Someone made it. Someone saw it. Both have memories. If no one read's a review does that mean it doesn't exist? A ridiculous "tree-falling-in-the-forest"-type statement. Your point about curators and critics helping to sift through and draw attention to certain work is well-taken however.

A discussion about artists' relationships with critics could be interesting, and it seems to me from Christina's talk that she considers her writing a part of that conversation. Too bad that the artist whose talk brought Christina into the field never responded to her criticism of his work. That could have been a good conversation.

- Allison Ruby

For my part, I certainly agreed with Schmid’s sentiment of “If nobody writes about a show, it didn’t happen.” While this may seem like pompous exaggeration, there is more truth to it than might be easily admitted. Although the show obviously “happens” whether or not anyone writes about it, it only affects a tiny amount of people, whose memories can quickly fade or be altered. Only written words can endure as a memorial of an event, something that allows you to re-experience it long after everything has been torn down.

I also spent some time thinking about the comment, "if nobody writes about a show, it didn't happen." It's true that the people who saw it and the artist will obviously remember it, so those people will be impacted. However, in order to bring the show to a wider audience and archive it for future audiences, it is important to preserve the show through writing. I think that in addition to critics writing about art, the artists themselves should also step up and take responsibility for archiving and discussing their own work, because they are the only ones who can truly discuss the meanings and intentions of their work. I guess I didn't see the comment as ridiculous or provocative, but rather as a call to action for artists to work on learning to discuss and archive their own work.
-Bailey H.

Christina was quoting another art critic, and I understand the purpose of the statement and certainly am on board with the importance of art writing and criticism, I just thought the statement negates the importance of the direct experience of the artist and the viewer. If no one reads the critic's writing, does that mean it was never written? Of course not. I think our culture is overly obsessed with mediated experiences to the detriment of our connection with direct experience. For example, go to a museum and see how much time people spend reading about the work and to actually looking at it and reflecting on their own response to it. I think direct experiences and mediated experiences both have a role, but we should not confuse the two.

- Allison

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This page contains a single entry by sprig024 published on April 16, 2013 10:22 PM.

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