Over the last few weeks, there's been a rash of reviews, apparently by students enrolled in a contextual studies course at a tertiary institution (going by the Wellington skew, I'd guess Massey).
There's been grumbling from Artbash regulars over the quality of the writing and thinking in these reviews - and fair cop to, in some cases. A review of Richard Serra's Tilted Arc, describing it as a ineffectual public sculpture about the Vietnam War, drew particular ire. (One site regular plausibly suggests that the writer was actually reviewing Maya Lin's Vietnam memorial, and got a bit confused).
In response to the criticism, one of the students posted this comment:
You wanna know the hilarious things Alibi... you're right, we are here completing projects that we have to do for our contextual studies -- and yes, some of our writing might be garbage as you and John have pointed out in some other comments.(we're obviously not as intelligent as you appear to be!)
None of us want to post on here because the environment is completely negative and does not inspire me to want to engage with any of you and learn anything from you at all. While I agree with what it says on this page about criticism being good (and therefore encouraged)-- there's a difference, I think the criticism we're looking for is 'constructive'.
So, don't worry, we are all meeting with our 'teacher' to get our 'homework' marked today, so you can be glad that many of us will probably disappear and you can have your elitist website back.
To which John Hurrell replied:
The site is hardly 'elitist', Jabby, and hardly 'negative' when regulars mutter about the site being bombarded by contributors who lack the conviction to stand their ground and argue their point of view.
If you write when you don't want to and say things you don't mean, what use is that? The result is clutter with no substance.
The review and its comment thread have now been moved to the trash section of the site. Which is one way of arguing your point of view.