Waldemar Januszczak
Waldemar Januszczak

LONDON | The British art critic Waldemar Januszczak rails against curators in today’s Letters Page of the Guardian:

In her account of Grayson Perry‘s Reith lecture about the workings of the art world, Deborah Orr (21 September) describes how the art market operates as a “formidable cartel”, and advises us to recognise it as a “gargantuan practical refutation” of the idea that only free markets create economic growth. She’s probably right. But by bringing money into it, as usual, she is once again pointing a finger at the wrong bad guys.

The real problem with the art world is not the money men scavenging in its wake – they’ve always been there – but the pirates who’ve taken over the ship. I am thinking of course of that awful art world species: the curator. When I started writing about art, there were no curators. Now they are everywhere. They go to the same biennales; speak the same meaningless art language; and control the art world from within by privileging their creativity ahead of the artist’s. For 5,000 years art survived perfectly well without curators. Now they are its gate keepers.

What we need is a revolution, akin to the impressionist revolution in 19th-century France. Just as the impressionists overthrew the salon and put artists back at the centre of the art world, so someone out there needs to overthrow the Tate empire. Come on Hackney. Rise up.

Waldemar Januszczak

Formerly the art critic of The Guardian, Waldemar Januszczak now writes for The Sunday Times, and has twice won the Critic of the Year award. This note, entitled “Why the art world needs to rise up against curators,” was sent in response to a writer’s complaint about the art market being a cartel.

  • Letters: Why the art world needs to rise up against curators (theguardian.com)
  • Critic Vs Curator (picassoandpints.wordpress.com)
  • Grayson Perry shows us how the art world works - as a formidable cartel | Deborah Orr (theguardian.com)
  • Dull, provincial ‘cascade of diarrhoea’ (theage.com.au)
  • Grayson Perry inspired by art on The Archers (standard.co.uk)
  • Brit Crit Says Australian Art Is A Cascade Of Liquid Diarrhoea (businessinsider.com)
  • Modern art is so mainstream it’s even in the Archers, Grayson Perry says in first Reith Lecture (telegraph.co.uk)
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