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The pleasures of reading "Object Lesson" by Teju Cole, or some characteristics of meaningful criticism

A title that intrigues, that doesn't quite prepare me for what is to come, yet feels just right 
Nuance, not ambiguity, in the handling of a serious subject 
Elegant turns of phrase, deliberately poetic to make the next point: Is it news? Is it art? Is it someone’s pain? 
— “Organized disorder", "backdrops of smoke, fog or falling snow" 
Finds a way to reach out through familiarity before presenting the new and unfamiliar 
Situates works within history, contemporaneity, criticism, collective consciousness 
Asks questions that evoke engagement and wonder 
— "Who bought those tomatoes?" "Whose blood is that?" 
Holds images, editors, curators accountable, not just the artist 
Walks the line between sharing an opinion and leaving room for interpretation 
Describes artworks through a perspective, rather than objectively 
— "It is a still life, but it is in utter disarray" 
Offers space for learning, sources, artworks, contexts 
Explores larger philosophical or emotional questions 
Presents a problem but shows another way (a quieter way) 
...Cares, and thus is memorable. 

This piece was written for an art criticism class that I took in April-May 2022. It references this article by Teju Cole, which has stayed with me since I read it in 2015.