I wrote this a few days ago but was kind of sitting on it just in case.
My difficulty with Baynard’s criticism is not that he has acknowledged my piece as conceptual, I might agree with his statement actually. But I am not okay with the definition of conceptual art as a “mere illustration of an idea.” I am also not okay with the work being labeled as conceptual, but not being reviewed as a conceptual piece. His writing seems to dismiss conceptual art as some lesser form of pictorial art that is inaccessible to criticism, which is not the case.
As a conceptual work of art, was the piece uninviting? What is the idea behind the work? Where can you find gaps in the artist’s thought process? Is the concept antiquated? Whether the feedback is positive or negative, these are basic questions to be asked, and to all art. The abbreviated critique is destructive, it seems to say “boring image, disregard.” Relying on a brief quote from the curator to explain the concept doesn’t help either. Past being “interested in how the scanner sees,” the specific installation of each print (placing them where clocks are normally hung) is also an important aspect of the piece. If a reader is relying on a description so brief, I doubt that the work is “more interesting to hear about than to see.”
Context can be a lot to talk about, but is worth the time and investment. If a critic has a preference to a specific type of art, it makes sense to avoid discrediting other types by reviewing them (briefly) under entirely the same criteria. Maybe for a conceptual piece, switch “illustration” with “demonstration” and the art won’t seem so “mere.”
This being said, I really enjoyed working on the show, meeting some amazing artists and being able to contribute to the community. The time spent — on the part of everyone involved — is something I really respect, that deserves a higher standard of criticism.