What happens now in professional criticism is that you start where you like, write about the object under study in any order and at any depth you fancy, and perhaps don't even give a single material fact about it. In other words, the idea of the critic today is not more modest but more arrogant - almost messianic - in its freewheeling claim to subjective authority. No wonder people don't like us! We're just loudmouths giving our opinions, at least unless we escape this arid play of free critical expression.
Meanwhile, John Hurrell asks - when reviewing a group show, are you assessing the curator's work or the individual artist's work? To which my short answer is - both, surely?
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE
Last night I went to my first Montana Book Awards. One of the things I regret about my directional changes in the last few years is that I don't get to work on books like I used to - and I loved working on books.
It was kind of fascinating, being dropped neck deep in another cultural community and seeing people rumble and seethe (and, occasionally, whoop and holler) over matters I didn't fully understand.
And it was really pleasing to see the finalists in the Illustrative section get due recognition. All friendships and biases aside, the competition between Aberhart, Bill Hammond: Jingle Jangle Morning and comma dot dogma [Tom Kreisler] saw three of my favourite designers pitted against each other. Wholehearted congratulations to Aaron Beehre for his multi-award winning design for Jingle Jangle Morning: he's a helluva designer.