Can Some Artists Become Immune to Serious Criticism?

by Evan Sawdey and Brice Ezell

14 April 2015

In the eyes of critics, can David Lynch ever make a bad film? Or Kanye West a bad album?

Everyone has their favorites. That general rule holds true even for critics, with all their high-minded ideas about what art can be and their five-dollar words. Over time, it’s natural that some artists become Great Artists, those who never fail to get critics riled up every time they announce a new release. In the present day, artists such as Kanye West and David Lynch have culled rabidly devoted fanbases that will seemingly praise whatever they put out for the world to see or hear.
This leads to an interesting situation: can someone in an artistically unassailable position, like Lynch, ever make a “bad” movie in the eyes of critics and fans? Will West be embraced on the whole no matter how many stylistic divergences he takes? Is it possible ever to mount a serious critiques of artists with this status without being dismissed as a knee-jerk contrarian? In the newest PopTalk podcast, Evan Sawdey and Brice Ezell analyze this artistic position of high regard, focusing on how this position informs the ways in which people, fans and critics alike, view these artists.

The Kid A piece referenced in the podcast is “Is Everything in Its Right Place? A (Polite) Dissent to Kid A”, which ran as part of PopMatters’ Best of the ‘00s music special section. You can read the article here.

Splash and thumbnail images of David Lynch from his official Facebook page.

Evan Sawdey is the Interviews Editor at PopMatters and Brice Ezell is the Assistant Editor.

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

READ the article