Criticism without Judgment?

Is there such a thing as Non-Judgmental Criticism? I believe that there is no way for a Criticism to be non-judgmental. To criticize something is to review an object or work and to add a judgment call or place a value to such a work. Barbara Roses states that the “act of criticism is a value judgment and the rest is art writing”. Though this statement does hold truth, it is also false in my eyes. Art writing could be considered one writing a review on a show, that is to say they are not criticizing it but is simply describing what is in the show. This review is not obviously stating a judgement of the exhibit or of the works but it is applying a hidden judgment and placing a hidden value. By choosing to write about certain works that will be seen the writer is applying a sort of unconscious value to those works. This could be seen as the placement of value that may be their personal opinion that that particular work is the one that the audience will come see, thus placing a higher value on that piece, in turn adding a judgement.

Saying there is a non-judgmental criticism is almost as if you are saying there is just a thing as an innocent judgment or critic. If an opinion is formed based off what a person knows, then a critique can’t be innocent or pure from something else related. Just the same as to a Criticism cannot exist without a judgment not only to be based on what the Critic previously knows but how the critic also will place it

-Krista Kelly


One comment

  1. I agree with knowing that having a judgment free critique is not possible by any means. Even if one was to have zero bias on a particular subject; take for example that of an art show. If someone has never seen any art shows before, they will not judge based on the variants of other shows, but rather they will draw from their own personal experience or outside things to form an opinion. Every person does this non-intentionally, because our brains are designed to work in a way. Our memory in general takes up what it has learned to see to figure out meanings and images to perhaps relate it to something new we see now. The brain already tries to dissect and create meaning out of everything, so it’s not to down on anybody, but it is physically and inherently impossible to create a judgement free critique.

    -Kendall Mealey


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