Writer and critic Brian Droitcour presents “Vernacular Criticism,” a talk that looks to writing about art outside the established channels of professional media as a potential source of ideas for reinvigorating critical writing. Drawing on moments in the history of criticism and art’s other institutions, as well as his own experience reviewing galleries and museums on Yelp, Droitcour discusses how the modern concepts of art, museums, and criticism developed in tandem with the public sphere, and argues that the widespread use of social media—a new kind of public space, where expertise, objectivity, and reason yield to emotion, immediacy, and subjective experience—calls for a revision of institutional and critical practices.
As a writer and critic, Droitcour has contributed to Artforum, the New Inquiry, Rhizome, and other publications. He has reviewed some sixty art venues on Yelp, and his reviews have received over 350 votes for being useful, funny, and cool. “Vernacular Criticism” is organized in conjunction with “Fifteen Stars,” Droitcour’s digital project for the New Museum’s First Look series.