Writing for writing's sake

Liam Julian

I was just chatting about this after a recent and jolting visit to some of New York's Chelsea galleries--today's art is not judged by how it looks or the skill of the artist who produced it. It's all about ideology, which is a shame.

But to bring it back to k-12, the article's larger point is that writing about art has become inscrutable. An example from the Whitney Biennial:

Bove's "settings" draw on the style, and substance, of certain time-specific materials to resuscitate their referential possibilities, to pull them out of historical stasis and return them to active symbolic duty, where new adjacencies might reactivate latent meanings.

That's bad. But this tripe isn't limited to the art world; lousy writing is prevalent in all subjects because it's what students are taught (when they're taught). Just today, one finds yet another article (this one's from the U.K.) in which corporate bosses complain that their work-forces lack basic skills, including writing. Seventy-two percent are concerned about the quality of written English. A dose of Strunk & White??("Make every word tell," "Be obscure clearly") in our schools would do everyone--managers, employees,??museum patrons--a lot of good.

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