Air Guitar by Dave Hickey

I had this idea of an art made for the living, you see— of an art that might flourish that might flourish in the crazy zone between the priests of institutional virtue and the bottom feeder of commercial predation— of an art that might embody the marriage of desire and esteem (which is, of course, what marriage is.)

He later goes on to say, “Art ain’t rocket science.” He says this in response to the degradation of selling objects to people whom, “know nothing about art.”

He speaks about the hackneyed response he gives to those who would come into his shop already “understanding” all that was artistic and hip.

In a way this minimization of art and its intellectual capacities, he removes himself of the obligation to explain art to those who are ill informed.

This sardonic sense of superiority is the essence of why I think there is so much cynicism of a critic and their role in the art world.

Although, in some ways this false superiority is a necessary evil for a critic to gain credibility in his or her writing and gain authority in the field of artistic review.

Hickey goes on to talk about money and the cost of art, almost tangentially to switch gears with subtlety.

“Bad taste is real taste, of course, and good taste is the residue of someone else’s privilege.”

AIR GUITAR is a pretentious yet ambitious personal essay, and perhaps that is why his words on the art of criticism are a bit too personal to find commonality.

Author bio:

David Hickey is an American art and cultural critic. He has written for many American publications including Rolling Stone, Art News, Art in America, Artforum, Harper’s Magazine, and Vanity Fair.

“If there is no art, no culture, then what the fuck are we going to talk about? These are our stories and our stories are all we got!” Hickey

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