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CMST 230 Small Group Communication: What is Art Criticism?

This guide will assist students in CMST 230 with their research assignments.

In Short...

Works of Artistic Criticism try to look at why a piece of art is IMPORTANT or MEANINGFUL, but do not necessary judge it to be "good" or "bad."

This is different from commercial criticism (i.e. "reviews") that are, in part, letting people know if the item is worth spending time or money on, and so will include a value judgment to help the reader make a decision.

Why Literary Criticism?

Science vs. Humanities. n.d. University of Utah College of Humanities. Web. 10 May 2015.

What is Art Criticism?

  • Art CRITICISM IS analysis, interpretation and evaluation of creators and their works of art, which can include any creative work - novels, films, music, artwork, sculpture, body art, and so on. 
     
  • Such critical analysis is often written by academic critics and is found in essays, articles and books.

 

  • Art "criticism" is not necessarily negative; "criticism" means a thoughtful critique of an creator's work or an artist's style in order to better understand the meaning, symbolism or influences of a particular piece or a body of works.

Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism

  • Many times literary critics analyze works of literature from a particular philosophical or literary perspective

  • This perspective often evolves as a reaction to the political, economic, cultural, educational and artistic climate of a historical period

  • These perspectives are referred to as Schools of Literary Criticism and may include, but are not limited to, the following
  • Formalist
  • Biographical
  • Historical
  • Psychological
  • Mythological
  • Sociological
  • Gender Studies
  • Reader Response
  • Deconstructionist
  • Cultural Studies
  • Post-Colonial
  • Feminist
  • Marxist
  • Critical Race Studies

NOTE:(This is not necessarily an exhuastive list. There is ongoing debate as to naming conventions and overlap between the literary schools)

EXAMPLE:

  • EXAMPLE CRITICISM OF THE FILM
     V FOR VENDETTA:

 

The society we see onscreen, its civil order crushed by fear, is meant to be a nightmare vision of our own society. V may begin his rampage in search of personal vengeance, but in the end he attacks the entire system, and, as the movie tells it, the system deserves to be attacked. It turns out that the government once released a deadly plague on the British citizenry in order to pose as its savior.

  • FROM A MAGAZINE ARTICLE AVAILABLE THROUGH Gale Literature LITERARY SOURCES:

 

Denby, David. "Blowup." The New Yorker
     20 Mar. 2007: 88. Gale Literature Literary Sources. 
     Web. 10 May 2015.