New Book by AICA-USA member Richard Kalina
Martín Ramírez. Untitled (Train and Tunnel), ca. 1960-63. Gouache and graphite on pieced paper. 16 1/2 x 32 in (41.9 x81.3 cm). © Estate of Martín Ramírez Courtesy Ricco/Maresca Gallery, NY
Martín Ramírez. Untitled (Train and Tunnel), ca. 1960-63. Gouache and graphite on pieced paper. 16 1/2 x 32 in (41.9 x81.3 cm). © Estate of Martín Ramírez Courtesy Ricco/Maresca Gallery, NY

AICA-USA member Richard Kalina's new book The Changing Boundaries and Nature of the Modern Art World, The Art Object and the Object of Art examines the shifting boundaries and definition of art over the last 30 years. His focus is on the ongoing development of concepts, the transformation of art worlds and the social matrices in which they are created.

Merging an examination of animating philosophies and context - political, social, and personal—with a sharply focused look at the works of art themselves, Kalina brings us closer to understanding the social matrices in which art is embedded and responds to bigger questions about the object nature of the work of art in today's world.

In the book's introduction, Kalina says of art criticism,

"The boundaries of the modern artworld have historically been set not just by artists but also by critics. The critical framework for contemporary art regularly shifts and adjusts. The first evaluator is of course the artist him or herself, followed by the artist’s family, friends, and social circle (who are often fellow artists.) Radiating out from that are dealers, collectors, curators, art and cultural historians, and the general interested public. Each circle adds a voice and helps shape the form and expectations of the art of the time and place. Set at varying points in this diagram is that peculiar profession, the art critic. Of particular interest has been the influence on American art (and to a lesser extent, British art) of Clement Greenberg, Harold Rosenberg, and Lawrence Alloway from the 1940s through the 1970s. These rival and outspoken critics were not art historians, artists, or philosophers, but rather free-floating intellectuals deeply engaged with the artworld and with artists. They set up an ongoing dialectical debate between inclusion and exclusion that was a fascinating mélange of philosophy, rhetoric, taste, formal analysis, and sociological musings. Their influence, along with a number of other critics, who taught but did not see themselves primarily as academics, such as the New York-based Irish polymath Brian O’Doherty, helped set in place a reasonably coherent early to mid-postwar artworld. This has changed, and a more protean and changeable artworld has been paralleled by the diminution of traditional critical influence and persuasiveness. As contemporary artworlds have grown in size and economic power the direction and fate of art rests more in the hands of museums, auction houses, dealers, and collectors than with artists and critics. To understand this situation, and possibly remedy it, it is helpful to explore the circumstances that have led to the creation of the artworlds that nurtured these critics and the artists about whom they wrote." (p. 4-5)

AICA supports art writers around the world through public programs and membership that includes free access to museums across the globe. Since its formation in 1950, AICA has been committed to elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.
Join now

About AICA

AICA supports arts writers around the world through public programs and membership that offers free access to museums across the globe. AICA-USA represents the largest national section of AICA International with over 450 distinguished critics, curators, scholars, and art historians working throughout the United States. As part of the international organization, we benefit from a global reach in presence. AICA-USA is intent on international communication, elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.

Learn More
Membership Benefits

AICA's membership card is recognized for entrance to museums around the world. Members are invited to attend the annual AICA International Congress, hosted each year by a different member nation, and the AICA-USA annual meeting, which is held every year in May.

Apply now
Featured Programs

Organized in collaboration with CUE Art Foundation, this program matches emerging critics with experienced AICA-USA members who guide them through the process of writing a catalogue essay.

A partnership between The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and AICA-USA that gives art writers the opportunity to strengthen their work through one-on-one consultations with leading art critics.

Every fall, in cooperation with the New School's Vera List Center for Art and Politics, AICA-USA presents a Distinguished Critic Lecture.

Learn More