In this conversation, Tairone Bastien and Jas M. Morgan discuss the role criticism plays in aesthetic gatekeeping. Particularly, they consider how practices of art criticism determine not only what constitutes “good” or “bad” art, but also what constitutes contemporary art at all. In doing so, they make space for a diversity of ideas, forms, tones, visual languages, and styles of writing. Which works receive attention through art criticism and which continue to go under-recognized or under-covered? What exactly constitutes “good art” versus “bad art,” “ugly art,” “kitsch art,” “outsider art,” and how does criticism play into this? What impacts do equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives have on aesthetic gatekeeping? What are some of the ways that writers and critics can push against and expand out beyond limiting conceptions of what constitutes art and aesthetics? And how can galleries, museums, journals, magazines, subscribers, and granting bodies support such an expansive conception? This conversation focuses primarily on contemporary Indigenous art, while also looking to the broader contexts of contemporary art practices on the stolen, colonized lands of so-called Canada. Both Bastien and Morgan will consider their own practices and experiences as part of the conversation.
The conversation will run for approximately 45 minutes, followed by 15 mins for Q&A.