Ali G With an MFA: Hennessy Youngman and the New Face of Art Criticism

It goes without saying that, unless you went to art school, you probably shy away from the complicated theories of art criticism in your perusal of a museum. However, diverse schools of thought and fields wrapped up in byzantine academic discourse don’t have to keep you from adding your own two cents while walking a gallery.

This is the message of Hennessy Youngman, a recent figure who exploded onto the scene as an art critic you never heard of in art school.

Youngman (or Jayson Musson), who has been dubbed the “Ali G with an MFA,” runs a video blog called Art Thoughtz. In these short clips, he sits before the camera, “waxin’ poetic” about issues in the art world, bringing the knowledge down to street level with his sharp wit.

His recent success gave him a feature interview on the Huffington Post and Art in America, and he has even lectured at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (video posted below).
What’s great is the seamless way he combines heady concepts like ‘Relational Aesthetics’ with language that flows to a rhythm and personal beat. He utilizes pop-cultural references from video games to fast food, combining his opinions of the high brow with the everyday in authentic, informative, and frequently hilarious ways.

[lquote]there is more than enough evidence that Hennessy’s own critical methods are in themselves performance pieces[/lquote]Youngman most fiercely questions the institutionalized nature of the art world, those organs that decide what will be on display to the public, what objects are deemed worthy of the label “art.” Several videos also discuss the field of performance art, and there is more than enough evidence that Hennessy’s own critical methods are in themselves performance pieces. All in all, as he describes himself on his YouTube account, “I just be noticing things.”

The power of Henessy Youngman’s “lectures” are in their spontaneous creativity and constant positive support of the artistic community, to those fantastic artists we love to see here at Talenthouse. Talenthouse hopes these videos will inspire your own unexpected and fresh combinations in whatever medium you choose.
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