Woolly ‘artspeak’ is nothing new, but who will stem the flow?
Rummage through a few critiques, blogs and press releases about contemporary art, and you see the same rhetorical tics and patterns, writes David Thompson. The word ‘strategies’ crops up a lot, along with ‘tackle’ and ‘interrogate’, often with an air of non-specific contradiction. It’s remarkable just how many art projects manage to do one vague, abstracted thing and – simultaneously – its equally vague, abstracted opposite. Works ‘hover’ between something and something else, while ‘exploring’ issues of pressing social import. Cryptic yet confident assertions seem obligatory.