LECTURES by Thijs Lijster: From the “Crisis of Criticism” towards an “Espacement” of Criticism


Together with the SCCA-Ljubljana and Department of Art History of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana we cordially invite you to attend two public lectures by Thijs Lijster (in English) that are part of the programme How Critical Is the Condition of Critical Writing?  This year, our point of departure is last year’s conclusion that it makes more sense to talk, not about the crisis of criticism, which manifest in criticism that has drifted significantly from its traditional format, but rather about new forms and spaces of critique.

Thijs Lijster: The Crisis of Criticism
Tuesday, 29 March 2016, 2.40–4.20 p.m., Faculty of Arts (room 343), Aškerčeva 2, Ljubljana

What is the “crisis of criticism”, which has been the subject of so many debates during the past decade, and what are its origins? Can we even speak of a crisis, if criticism is virtually omnipresent? This lecture will begin with a brief historical overview of art criticism, followed by discussions on the function of the critic (e. g. interpretation, judgment, connecting the work to the socio-historical context), the use and misuse of criticism, and ways out of the crisis. I will argue that the critic has still an important role to play in the democratic public sphere.

Thijs Lijster: Towards an “Espacement” of Criticism
Wednesday, 30 March 2016, 6 p.m., Project Room, SCCA–Ljubljana, Metelkova 6, Ljubljana

In this lecture I will relate contemporary developments in art criticism to the “time-space compression” that characterizes modernity. The shift from modern to contemporary art in the 1980s comes with both a de-historicization and de-territorialisation of criticism. Although I consider this development critically, I argue that new theoretical sources might generate a discourse that allows us to step out of the expert field of traditional criticism, thus creating a new space for criticism.

Thijs Lijster is assistant professor of philosophy of art and culture at the University of Groningen. He studied in Groningen and New York, and in 2012 received his PhD for his dissertation on Benjamin’s and Adorno’s concepts of art criticism. He has contributed to books such as Conceptions of Critique in Modern and Contemporary Philosophy (2012), Institutional Attitudes (2012), and No Culture, No Europe (2015), and coedited Spaces for Criticism. Shifts in Contemporary Art Discourses (2015). In 2010 Lijster won the Dutch/Flemish Prize for Young Art Criticism, and in 2015 the NWO/Boekman dissertation award.

Organized by: SCCA–Ljubljana/World of Art, Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory, and the Department of Art History, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana.
Supported by: City of Ljubljana – Department for Culture and ERSTE Foundation.