Download Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, by A. O. Scott PDF

By A. O. Scott

The New York occasions film critic exhibits why we'd like feedback now greater than ever

Few may perhaps clarify, not to mention hunt down, a occupation in feedback. but what A.O. Scott indicates in Better residing via Criticism is that we're, in reality, all critics: simply because severe considering informs virtually each element of inventive construction, of civil motion, of interpersonal lifestyles. With penetrating perception and hot humor, Scott exhibits that whereas person critics--himself included--can make blunders and locate flaws the place they shouldn't, feedback as a self-discipline is among the noblest, such a lot inventive, and pressing actions of contemporary existence.

Using his personal movie feedback as a beginning point--everything from his notorious dismissal of the overseas blockbuster The Avengers to his excessive affection for Pixar's lively Ratatouille--Scott expands outward, simply guiding readers in the course of the complexities of Rilke and Shelley, the origins of Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones, the ability of Marina Abramovich and 'Ode on a Grecian Urn.' Drawing at the lengthy culture of feedback from Aristotle to Susan Sontag, Scott exhibits that genuine feedback was once and constantly may be the breath of unpolluted air that enables precise creativity to thrive. "The time for feedback is usually now," Scott explains, "because the critical to imagine essentially, to insist at the useful stability of cause and keenness, by no means is going away."

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Extra resources for Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth

Sample text

Of course, architecture is not like investing and buildings are not like stocks. Nevertheless a building, like an investment, performs. We can measure that performance in a variety of ways, be it in terms of assessed value or leasing rates or worker productivity or retail sales. The main difference between our field and that of brokerage is that brokers know not only how particular stocks have performed, but also how the industry as a whole has performed over time. Brokers can demonstrate that investing in the market is, in the long term, better than, say, putting one's money in a savings account or under the mattress.

Such products have increasingly become fetishized as well. When manufacturers start advertising urinals in "designer" colors or doorknobs silhouetted against a softly lighted backdrop, you know that you are in the presence of "a very queer thing," as Marx put it. This has also diminished what we do. As building products have become more technically uniform, we find ourselves making product choices based on appearance, or taste, which places us in a vulnerable position in the public eye. When architects become consumers of commodities, it raises the obvious question of what expertise we bring to our selection.

In some cases that is true. The best-known architects, even though they, too, must now work hard to get commissions, generally seem to command adequate fees and to do a fairly wide range of work. But they have not escaped commodification of a different sort. Among certain clients or within the architectural community, fetishes tend to develop around well-known architects' work: the press attends to almost everything they build, schools continually pursue them for lectures and exhibitions, and clients who care about architectural quality arrive at their doorstep.

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