The Meta Young Art Critics´ Award is the first award scheme set up specifically to recognize the contribution made by art critics and art writers, and to encourage them at an early stage of their careers.
The contemporary scene of art production has long operated as a zone of indistinction, where entrepreneurial impulses reign and disciplinary boundaries become just another (post-)medium. Discursive practices such as writing and publishing are embraced by artists, while multi-tasking art critics curate exhibitions and develop performative sidelines to their textual habitus. The recent codification of ´art writing´ likewise signals an admission that a ´third rail´ has emerged, neither descriptive or prescriptive, neither academic or journalistic, between the art critic and the art historian. And of course the imprimatur of the art critic has been noted as in decline ever since the curator and the consultant came to dominate an ever-more globalised and market-driven art world.
Keeping this in our sights, the aim of the Meta Young Art Critics´ Award is to focus on the imperative which rightly belongs to the critic and to the activity of criticism: to situate itself not simply above or beside the current field of production, but within it in order to grasp its conditions of possibility. The immanent role of the critic is in that sense less to interpret and more to reconstruct, in the words of Adorno, an ´exact imagination´ that inhabits and extracts the principle of a work, wherever it starts and ends. We are establishing this award also out of curiosity: what is art criticism when it isn´t operating at the service of something, be it institutional canons or marketing drives? How do we envision the act of judgement with relation to contemporary art practice, an act deprived of power and profit? Does it simply become a more intensely textual art practice among others and accompanying others, or does it have its own, cognitive, affective resources to structure the experience of art?
Submissions should be in English and can discuss one work, several works, a whole ouevre, or a field of practice. Submissions should be no longer than 10,000 signs or 1400 words.
The author of the prize-winning essay will receive 1000 CHF in prize money and essay will be published in the Spring 2012 issue of Parkett, which is represented in the jury for the Meta Award.
Please send your text to the e-mail address below.