“Thank you guys for coming,” Alexis Clements said last Thursday night to a small crowd at the Brooklyn Museum largely comprised of women. “Actually, I shouldn’t say ‘guys,’” she interrupted herself, “Thank you all for coming.” That introduction set the tone for a panel that the playwright, performer, and Hyperallergic contributor moderated, called “The Art of Feeling: Contemporary Arts Writing and the Internet.”
At one point, Arts & Labor member Blithe Riley, who was in the audience at the round table, made a comment about “freaking out a little.” This highlighted the disconnect between the political and social aspirations of Arts & Labor and the general role of art critics for me.
Last Thursday night at Housing Works Bookstore, Occupy Wall Street affinity group Arts & Labor organized a panel of New York art writers to discuss the labor of art criticism. Village Voice and New York Times critic Martha Schwendener opened the round table with the question, “What is the labor of writing?” Schwendener and Arts and Labor proposed a discussion about the working conditions of art criticism in an effort to dispel some prevailing myths, which she framed as power, authority, and allure. She then started things off with an open question to the panel about how they became art critics.