Don’t fear the reviewer

In Ursula Gullow's very good interview with Heinz Kossler, the artist laments that when "you guys write about [art] shows," meaning Mountain Xpress and presumably the Asheville Citizen-Times, "there's no real critical discussion about the work" [“Auf Wiedersehen, Heinz Kossler,” March 13 Xpress].

When Gullow asks if there needs to be more critical discourse, Kossler says, "I think there has to be. What is gonna separate the artists?" Kossler may have put his finger on one of the reasons there is little serious discussion: "I don't know many artists that can take really hard-core criticism, especially since we've lived in the South so long, we're really not used to it."  Many working in the visual arts and in theater in Asheville have said similar things.

Mountain Xpress' theater reviews, under the admirable editorship of Rebecca Sulock, have tried to address this, earning some brickbats along the way. It's not just a local problem, of course, with many newspapers across the country shedding their arts critics. Are there any remedies for the problem Heinz Kossler raises?

— Arnold Wengrow

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