Art Critic's Statement
I think criticism is important for the practitioners of any art or craft. Whether it's customer feedback for a plumber or an art critic's essay for a painter, criticism helps improve the state of the art while providing a gateway, an introduction, for anyone just starting out. Good criticism lets us know where we've been and where we're going. It helps us figure out where we want to visit and what stops to bypass. Good criticism is a guide and an overview, a list of suggestions and a catalogue of hopes. Good criticism is vital to producing good art.
I've seen a number of photography books and articles lately which feature some beautiful woman being photographed by some guy and the text claims that this woman is the guy's "muse." But a muse is not some skinny chick who takes her clothes off for a mope behind a lens. A muse is a spirit who guides an artist, who provides direction and acts as someone to reflect ideas and conceptions. Every true artist has a muse, whether it's a wife or husband, or a patron, or some internal or spiritual voice.
Good art criticism is a muse once removed, a muse for the wider culture.