The curse of our time

February 22, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Jonathan Jones, writing on the Guardian‘s art blog:

Real criticism is not about distinguishing good from bad; it is about distinguishing good from great. There’s plenty of terrible art around, but it usually finds its level in the end. The curse of our time, in the arts, is mediocrity and ordinariness: the quite good film that gets an Oscar, the OK artist who becomes a megastar. Truly remarkable art is rare and to see it when it comes, to fight for it, to hold it up as an example for the rest – that is the critic’s true task.

Couldn’t have said it better.


2 Responses to “The curse of our time”
  1. Alex says:


    What does it mean to say that terrible art finds its level “in the end”? When is that? Perhaps well after a great deal of cultural damage has been done.

    Is Jones really saying mediocrity and the ordinary are the curse of our time, or their celebration? These are two very different things.

    As for his final point, why does he take it for granted that truly remarkable art will need to be fought for and defended by critics? Is he saying no one else will be capable of recognizing it?