Art criticism has historically been an important part of the art world, such as Clement Greenberg’s influence on the success of the abstract expressionist. But is art criticism an essential part of this world? Does it exist in its own sphere, isolated from the real world as Ben Davis expresses in his Theses on Art and Class? I am not convinced that art does or should fit in this separate sphere, untethered from the same rules of the “non-art” world as Davis puts it. While critique is an important step in an artists development of their work and practice, is a critic an important player in the game of art as a whole? Must you be well versed in the historical context of the art world in order to have an opinion about it or the contemporary art which feeds it? The argument can be made that this academic approach to the visual arts has made a significant impact on contemporary art that exists within the institution. But an argument can also be made that this has ungrounded art from being relatable, that it has driven art to be only obtainable and understood to those who exist within its sphere.
So is art criticism an essential part of this world? It has certainly had an impact on it, and has shaped the way art is approached. And while the role of a critic in this visual arts sphere, which they have created, is in a state constant flux as the art world changes around it, the critics have engrained themselves into this world for better or worse.