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21 February 2014

Robert Storr: Most theory has little bearing on art

First published October 17, 2009
 "People who have real theoretical minds read widely, they read selectively and they read for use."

Robert Storr: Most theory has little bearing on art:The critic and curator speaks to The Art Newspaper, and article by Helen Stoilas.

Robert Storr, US critic, curator and dean of the Yale School of Art, is visiting Frieze Art Fair for the first time, to take part in "Scenes from a Marriage: Have Art and Theory Drifted Apart?", a panel discussion today at 12pm with artist Barbara Bloom and philosophy professor Simon Critchley. He spoke to The Art Newspaper about the role of art theory, and what advice he is giving to his students in today's artistic climate.

The Art Newspaper: The topic of the Frieze panel is "Have Art and Theory Drifted Apart?" What are your thoughts?

Robert Storr: I'm not sure that art and theory were ever that close to begin with. There are some artists who read theory seriously but not all that many. And some of the theoretical writing that was done about artists was very important, but what people now call theory is a vast field and a relatively small amount of it bears directly on art, or at least on art production.

Continue reading here.


Mr. Storr makes some poignant points in this interview beyond discussion of the relevance of art theory to art practice. Perhaps, for the working artist, theory is always a work in progress, integral with vision. The eye is nothing without the brain, and questions are almost always more interesting than the dogma of answers. Storr's comments about youth and late bloomers are of particular relevance in cities like Chicago, where most artists will work an entire career with little or no critical or market acclaim. Ten such Chicago artists will participate in a one day only studio exhibition on Nov. 8. See details at

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