Category Archives: Critics

Smith on Franco

James Franco, 'New film still #58', 2013

James Franco, ‘New film still #58′, 2013

“The deep content here, beneath the entitled narcissism, is a confused desperation that seems to drive Mr. Franco’s pursuit of visual art. It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for him, while also wishing that someone or something would make him stop.”

Roberta Smith lays into James Franco’s New Film Stills in the New York Times.

Critical Failure

The panel for Critical Failure: Visual Arts. From left to right: Peter Mares, Patrick McCaughey, Phip Murray, Naomi Cass, John McDonald

The Wheeler Centre has released video footage from Critical Failure, a series of events that examined the state of arts criticism in Australia.  You can watch the debates on the Wheeler Centre’s website here.

The critic speaks…

MAF 2010 Keynote Lectures

If, like me, you missed this year’s Melbourne Art Fair keynote lectures delivered by photographer Bill Henson and Dean of the Yale School of Art, Robert Storr, you can watch them online here.

The Mona Lisa Curse

Last night Leg of Lamb watched Robert Hughes’ documentary ‘The Mona Lisa Curse’, that first screened on British television in 2008.  The world’s grumpiest art historian is not happy.  He despairs of an art world where monetary value usurps critical interpretation and thinks that artists like Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst and collectors including Eli Broad and Alberto Mugrabi have a lot to answer for.

Highlights of the programme include Hughes’ aggressive dressing down of the vacuous Mugrabi, archival footage of Robert Rauschenberg confronting ruthless collector Robert Scull and interviews with animated former Met director, Thomas Hoving.  Hughes may be cranky, but he’s on to something – if art is stripped of meaning, if it comes to function purely as a commodity, then – commerce aside – what’s the point in making it?