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Julian Stallabrass: The Artist as Critic / The Critic as Mouthpiece: The Peculiar Case of Jeff Wall

Bliss Carnochan Visitor

In the years in which he established his reputation as one of the foremost photographic artists, Jeff Wall wrote extensively about his own work and that of others, creating a sophisticated critical web for the elucidation of his work and of the conditions under which photography was being drawn into the museum. More recently, he has written less, but his writing remains the most powerful influence over the interpretation of Wall’s work as well-known critics and art historians act as sympathetic mouthpieces for the artist. While the case of Wall and his writers is an unusual one, it points to more general phenomena: the promotional character of much criticism, the way that the artist’s voice is still held as ineluctable, and the evolution for photography of a historically and theoretically weighted "museum prose" that assures viewers and institutions alike of the medium’s worthiness. 



Wednesday, April 7, 2010. 05:00 PM