Prize for a full house is a cover feature in Frieze magazine! Filling a line only gets you a mailout via e-artnow. Sorry about that.
Bad grammar, egregious typos, tortured syntax or misused words. Foreign or jargon words used where there are acceptable plain English alternatives (especially long strings of the aforementioned), general gabble, or unreadable, unparseable sentences.
DOESN’T UNDERSTAND SCIENCE
Pseudoscientific claptrap, misunderstanding of basic technical concepts, inappropriate or erroneous conclusions from misreading of scientific material. You are not a scientist, nor are you a detective. You are not “investigating” or “interrogating” anyone or anything. You are not solving problems. Solving genuine real world problems is one of the things that art does least well, incidentally, and to pretend otherwise is ridiculous. See also “artists are more [superlative adjective] than people who are actually [adjective].”
TELLING ME WHAT TO SEE OR THINK
… or what I should see or think.This includes reviews or critical texts that merely recount what we would see if we were there– like a seven year old’s “what I did this weekend” report– without providing any kind of context, critique or opinion. Telling me my assumptions/understandings/etc are being “challenged” or “inverted” or whatever is far worse, though.
i.e. unverified, unsupported or demonstrably false statements presented as facts or obvious conclusions, without evidence or citation. Includes anecdata, i.e. pseudo-factual “evidence” derived from hearsay, personal experience, or subjective prejudice.
BECAUSE ART HISTORY
Spurious appeals to art history, e.g. art that bears no resemblance to the previous art work or type of art cited, or art whose only justification and sole origin is as a reaction to or compliance with a school of art or philosophical theory.
ART WORLD JARGON
e.g. “the space”, “performative”, “oscillating” or “activating”.
ARTIST IS UNIQUE
Pretending artists are more [superlative adjective] than people who are actually [adjective]. Implying or stating that no other artist has done anything similar. NB: the latter claim is invariably made by those artists or galleries whose work does owe most to other artists and is either a repetition of or outright plagiarism of another artist’s work.
Weak, desperate justifications for nothingness or lack of work. Minimalism or conceptual art are fine, if that’s what the artist intends. These are different things from the artist proposing big and delivering little, leaving the gallery or curator to hastily pretend the artist isn’t a lazy charlatan.
[GENDER, SEXUAL IDENTITY, MOTHERHOOD, MINORITY STATUS, ETHNICITY, NATIONALITY OF THE ARTIST] IS MAGIC
i.e. We’re supposed to be interested because of what the artist is and less so or not at all because of what the artist has done. In other words, the art work fails the “would you still like it, understand it or value it if you didn’t know anything about the artist, including their name?” test. Note to artists, especially aspiring ones: portfolios, proposals and prize entries are judged blindly or anonymously exceedingly rarely; so for better or for worse you’re almost always being judged not just on your work but also– at the very least– on what a bunch of tired strangers assume about your gender, age and ethnicity.
NORMAL THING IS AMAZING BECAUSE ARTIST DID IT
Everyday object, technology or phenomenon presented as if the artist is a virtuoso for being able to use it. Examples include sitting still, counting things, plaster casts, or painting anywhere that isn’t a canvas.
BETWEEN [RANDOM NOUN 1] AND [RANDOM NOUN 2]
Often preceded by the widespread and heinous “oscillates” or “oscillating”.
Cutters, shitters, pissers, wankers and oh-yes-I-put-it-in-me cases included. Neither your body nor the fluids that come out of it are unique or inherently fascinating. Making yourself look deformed or ugly is not the same as being disabled, because you can take the costume off, not to mention the fact that your assumptions, associations and condescension are grossly offensive to the hardships of genuinely disabled people. Deal with your body dysmorphia or the fact that your parents don’t approve of your lifestyle in therapy.