Dismissal or criticism?
Letter from Christopher Wilson
I write in response to David Blamey’s list of ‘errors’ (Eye no. 47, vol. 12) in my review of Here, There, Elsewhere (Eye no. 45, vol. 12):
• Gallery appearances aside, the description of Colectivo Cambalache’s ‘artistic practice’ could double as an overblown account of the activities of any mobile street market.
• Blamey writes that Markus Vater’s ‘Artists are humans kissed by Gods’ statement ‘was not a part of the book’s content but rather a comment made in passing’. If it is not part of the book’s content, then the book should not contain it.
• The accompanying image was indeed miscaptioned, but this was not my doing. Eye should have admitted as much.
• Blamey decontextualises from my review the words ‘lightweight’, ‘dull’ and ‘unhelpful’, along with two terms which do not appear in it at all (‘sloppy’ and ‘lacking a message’). He states that ‘dismissal is not a form of criticism’ while simultaneously disregarding my praise for contributions by Jane Rendell, Laura Ruggeri, Roger Begrich and Andrea Mühlebach. I was ‘unable to articulate anything that was insightful or constructive’, except my suggestions on levels both micro (the coloured strip along the book’s fore-edge; Terris Nguyen Temple’s text; the lesser known titles on the ‘Reading further’ list) and macro (‘a specific directional route’ through the ‘potentially all-inclusive subject’).
I would have had nothing to gain from any imaginary ‘dismissal’ of the book. Tellingly, Blamey offers no counter to the review’s main criticism: that ‘the editorial policy of this book fails its occasionally excellent contents.’
First published in Eye no. 48 vol 12 2003
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