Special Issue "Reconsidering the State(s) of Criticism"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752). This special issue belongs to the section "Visual Arts".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 13 September 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Stephen Moonie

Lecturer in Art History, Department of Fine Art, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: modernist painting; modernist criticism; post-war art in the U.S.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ten years ago, James Elkins and Michael Newman's The State of Criticism was published. Despite the richness of the discussion provided by its contributors over two roundtables—and in the collection's numerous postscripts—the most striking aspect of the anthology was the complete lack of consensus upon fundamental notions around criticism. Those included: its function; its proper object of attention; its relationship to art history; its own history (or lack of it); and the perennial problem of 'neutrality' and the critic's complicities.

One might conclude from this rancour and dissension that criticism is a lost cause: although like painting, its death has been announced on a number of occasions. Some commentators claim that criticism has been superseded by 'theory', by 'art-writing', or by 'critical art'; others claim that criticism is compromised by its parochialism, or by its relationship to the market. Others have noted that critical prestige has been usurped by curators and collectors.

This Special Issue proposes that confusion over the role of criticism is a problem worthy of much more careful consideration, and that claims made for its demise can no longer be taken for granted. The appearance of Elkins' and Newman's anthology coincided with the 2007–08 Financial Crisis. Since then, the global cultural and political climate has changed significantly, requiring that we reconsider the place of criticism anew. Notions of judgment, voice, and critical discrimination may be more, not less pertinent in an age of 'big data', artificial intelligence, the widespread proliferation of culture, and the contentious notion of 'post-truth'. In what ways might criticism be re-considered in the current context? What kind of knowledge does it provide?

The issue invites essays that include, but are not limited to, the issues sketched above. The issue welcomes contributions which proceed from particular moments, or acts of criticism which open out onto to the broader issues at stake.  

Dr. Stephen Moonie
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • criticism
  • judgement
  • modernism
  • post-modernism
  • contemporary art

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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