Home » John Bentley Mays on Art Criticism

John Bentley Mays on Art Criticism

Here are some nice thoughts from one of Toronto’s most respected critical writers, John Bentley Mays, on his website.  Click right HERE to read his thoughts.

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The writer and critic John Bentley Mays, putting the intimidation back into art criticism.
Image: kings.uwo.ca

He brings up Baudelaire’s famous quote: “To be just, that is to say, to justify its existence, criticism should be partial, passionate and political, that is to say, written from an exclusive point of view, but a point of view that opens up the widest horizons.”

Click HERE for John Bentley Mays’ website.

7 Responses to “John Bentley Mays on Art Criticism”

  1. Hey Andrea,

    Is the caption under Mays’ photo attributable to you?

  2. Andrea says:

    Well I put it in because I think he looks kind of intimidating. It’s a great shot, though don’t you think?

  3. Yes, I do think it’s an excellent and well chosen photo. I wonder though, how do you reconcile “nice thoughts” and some Baudelaire with “putting the intimidation back into art criticism”?

  4. I mean, by Mays’ own account, he attended the forum out of curiosity as to what young critics are thinking. Hardly an intimidating stance. Then he followed up with his own responses on his blog. That is interested and generous. Where’s the intimidation? How or why was it missing in the first place and how has Mays restored it?

  5. Andrea says:

    I just thought he looked kind of intimidating in the photograph, that’s all.

    I’m not saying he’s some big intimidating person, or that his writing, or his point of view is intimidating.

    Just that he looks intimidating in the photo. Apologies if you found the caption confusing.

  6. Re: “I just thought he looked kind of intimidating in the photograph, that’s all.”

    agreed, crossed arms’ll do that.

    Re: “I’m not saying he’s some big intimidating person, or that his writing, or his point of view is intimidating.”

    I get that too. You wrote “The writer and critic John Bentley Mays, putting the intimidation back into art criticism.”

    Re: “Apologies if you found the caption confusing.”

    Absolutely no apology required – the caption is very clear.

  7. Bill says:

    ANYWAY…I really like his comment about picking one person you know to write for and then writing with them in mind instead of thinking of something as vague as “a general audience”. Very good advice.

    Also, he’s posted something new already on his homepage, so you have to click over to Notebook from his homepage to find his thoughts on art criticism.

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