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Criticism v Critique

Morton’s funky intimacy may be slightly self-parodying, and easily leaves itself open to accusations that it remains innocent — unconsciously or hypocritically — of the broader institutional machinations and systems of power that circumscribe its existence. But that would be to submit to those critiques’ assertion that the art world is now so utterly instrumentalised and co-opted by power that any act of art criticism which plays the game of evaluation or judgement of the work-at-hand merely drives the economy of discourse that the art market still seems to require. It is an argument reiterated by critic Sven Lütticken, who follows Groys’s cynical and vacuous description of the shift from a ‘yes/no’ culture of judgement-making to a ‘one/zero’ culture of publicity, in which the simple fact of being written about is itself the act of confirmation, regardless of what is said. Lütticken argues that ‘critics may still pass yes/no judgements, but these could now be seen as surface phenomena that distract attention from the real judgement The “no” of every negative review is negated by the fact the review was published at all — by the fact that it is a “one”‘. Such is the power of this absurd argument that, bizarrely, Lütticken then feels it necessary to footnote himself, recounting how a negative review by him produced an irate response from an artist, who complained that his remarks ‘would undermine the market for his work in the US’. Disavowing the effect of his own criticism, Lütticken bafflingly concludes: ‘I highly doubt that any negative judgement in the text would outweigh the effect, such as it is, of writing and publishing the text in the first place.’

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