Can art stand alone without any support? can art cut ties with the environment it was created in?
Not only do I think it's impossible to critique art in a vacuum, I also think it does everyone a disservice. I am not saying there isn't room to discuss an artwork's formal qualities: how the artist handled the brush, the quality of materials used. . . etc. I'm saying every work of art is fused with the environment it was created in and a critique will be greatly lacking if it does not acknowledge and include these connections.