September 3, 2008

Art criticism crit: Paddy Johnson on Tim Griffin

Paddy Johnson at Art Fag City writes that ArtForum’s Editor in Chief Tim Griffin "offers up more art speak and over quoted scholarship in the first paragraph of this month’s Editor’s Letter, than should ever be necessary in a 1000 word summary of what’s in the magazine. 'A corollary of Marshall McLuhan’s famous adage that art is a 'radar environment' uniquely suited for making clear the effects of media in culture' Griffin begins, 'is his lesser known analogy between those effects and the sound waves that become visible along an airplane’s wings just before it breaks the sound barrier.'

"In other words McLuhan cited a physical phenomena that parallels mechanical and artistic methods of visualizing, tracking, and decoding the unseen, all of which he deems particularly effective in the field of media criticism. Art as a tool for effective media critique, is of course, only as powerful as the skills of those who use it, which makes a lot of McCluhan’s thoughts on the subject fairly idealized. But as Griffin notes, they are not without relevance. To the editor’s credit, he builds upon the original reference, even if he does fall into overwrought prose." Read more.

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