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The main task of art criticism today is to reconnect with the reader. Our profession no longer inspires confidence. Nobody believes critics have much authority anymore, or that these characters regularly exercise their abilities to question the powers that be, never mind look out for the public interest. How is it possible that so many minor artworks cost so much money today? Are there alternate ways of valuing art that should be promoted and discussed? Why does the best art often take years to garner applause?

The critics you will read in this space are endorsed by their own trajectories, by the solidity of their opinions, and by the courage they use in expressing them. They speak honestly and directly, but also with a view to always growing access to the visual arts. For them boldface names and lesser-known artists exist on equal footing, the better to be assayed and evaluated by criticism of the first rank. In closing I leave you with the words of the great film critic Pauline Kael, which we brandish as an editorial mantra: “In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising.”

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