Thomas Crow on pages 168-9 of Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Artworld:

“I just try to keep myself out of the text. Half the battle is in the description. If your material is vivid enough, you don’t need to adopt an ego-driven voice where you’re always reflecting on your own formative experiences or your own complexity of mind.”

“I don’t like cults of personality, even minor cults. It gets in the way of observation and learning. Your material should be out in front, carrying the weight.”

“Many of the artists who are ruling the roost at the moment – Jeff Koons, Maurizio Cattelan, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin – exploit constructed personae. Cults of personality are realities, people are attracted to that, but there has to be a space between you and the people that you’re writing about, so you’re not just echoing the situation that you’re trying to analyze.”

Thornton comments: “Although art historians are always making judgments about what is worth their time, Crow believes that ‘severe attitudes and extreme judgments are a bit out of place.’ For weekly columnists who are read for the consistent taste, ‘their readers enter into a regular relationship with them. They want to know whether they thought it was phony or great.’ However, ‘If you’re an art historian, you can’t just decide that you like this little piece of history because it appeals to your self-regard. A real historian doesn’t do that.'”


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