Friday, July 01, 2005

Reading Frank Kermode's review (the article is not on-line) of John Carey's What Good Are the Arts? in the London Review of Books, I came across this:

A long final chapter on literature proclaims its superiority over all other arts. It is the only one capable of reasoning and the only one that can ‘criticise itself’ or indeed criticise anything; it is also the only art capable of moralising.

Is this true? Granted, I haven't read the book, and this paraphrase may depend on missing context, but as it stands it seems outrageously false. Most visual art from the post-war period to the present has been engaged in an ongoing critique of its own practices and assumptions (viz. minimalism, institutional critique, conceptual art), and one could make a case that Jean-Luc Godard's entire oeuvre is critical of other films as well as the medium of film itself.

No comments: