In a strange twist of events Jonathan Jones has written an article responding to the criticism he faces on the web. He doesn’t mention any blogs in particular, however I’d like to imagine he had mine in mind.

Jones recognises criticism is not longer the simple imposition and acceptance of one person’s thoughts. The days when the art writer could dress opinion as fact are gone,  they face a better informed and more vociferous readership due to the ease of communication afforded by the Internet. What is needed now is for critics and writers to assess themselves and the institutions they stand for. Only then can the high walls of art be broken down. Jones claims to share a similar goal, criticising the experts who ring-fence art despite the existence of the web and other technologies which mean art is less exclusive, less sacred, and more meaningful than ever before. About this, he is not wrong.

The Guardian writer Jonathan Jones is often wrong. Currently he is wrong about the future of art - read, painting and sculpture. Despite earlier fallacies he still rejects the idea that the Internet, illustration software, 3d printers, or digital cameras have changed the production and reception of art.

He makes three huge mistakes in this article, first to suggest that ebooks (whose knowledge of he has derived solely from the Apple Market) will destroy academic writing. Second, that art will conversely not be affected by electronic reproduction. Third, to assume that change hasn’t already occurred.

Jones begins by admitting he was mistaken in his earlier belief that ebooks will not replace analogue books. He then praises Penguin for selling ebooks at ‘reasonable and real prices’ and creating a ‘responsible market’, in doing so he criticises those publishers who recognise that it doesn’t cost £15 to transfer some bytes. He describes these publishers as being ‘sucked into a logic that pushes towards the consumer spending nothing at all’. That would of course be the logic of market economics and the increasing organic composition of capital. Jones appears to be set against the idea of accessible cheap books, much preferring his knowledge to be dog-eared, heavy, and slowly turning piss yellow as it crumbles on a dusty shelf.

Jones sees the avaliability of ebooks leading to a rise in amateur authors - something I agree with. But he also sees a decline in quality of writing, even a point where all academic writing on art ceases, presumably to be replaced by illiterate prole babble in horribly provincial dialects. He fails to recognise that opening access to publishing and reading (through blogs, ebooks, etc.) will result in greater critical evaluation of the arts, and the art critics.

Jones then states that though publishing is a lost cause, the production of Art is not. His logic is that art must be unique, unique objects are valuable, and only that which has exchange value is art. This reasoning is leading him into a head on collision with the modern world. Where as we know, the artwork need not even be an object at all, let alone unique, or expensive.

If Jones is so convinced that the Internet won’t bankrupt artists such as Damien Hirst, then perhaps I should take a camera to his upcoming retrospective. I’ll explain to the gallery assistants, Hirst, and the lawyers why the several hundred high quality images and videos I took and uploaded actually aren’t affecting the uniqueness of the art.

The whole article is a fantastic example of what happens when technological development threatens an established order. Jones is worried for the future of his profession. Ebooks present a problem to writers such as himself, because their cheap production means Jones’ uniquely enlightened opinion (and pay) will be diluted amongst many others. When he tells of a dystopian future with no art books, he means no art books written by him.

Furthermore in his support of the ‘unique’ art object and the artists’ mysterious aura he is setting himself up as the greatest reactionary. Jones has forgotten his elementary art history. Since Duchamp the art object has not needed to be unique nor has it required skill in its production. It has been nearly 100 years since the first readymade, and Jonathan Jones hasn’t realised.

The irony of the article featuring a digital reproduction of Hirst’s jewelled skull should not be lost on anyone.

Last week an argument flared up on Twitter between a couple of people I follow as to whether Plan B's new song Ill Manors could be seen positively as an expression of class war or whether the message is indelibly marked by his rampant sexism. (In my own opinion, the song is simply bad, and looks suspiciously like a cynical attempt to exploit a market; hardly a ‘genuine’ expression of class anger.)

The issue though, was effectively reduced to the questions of ‘can art be considered separate from the artist’. I have found myself asking this question many times, where art that I appreciate has been made by objectionable people.

Consider Egon Schiele, one of my favourite artists, and all round disturbed individual (almost certainly incestuous and paedophilic). Is it possible to look at his sexually explicit drawings without considering the thought process of the man who made them?

It is possible to argue that, no, as the work is ultimately guided by the artists hand it is linked directly to their ideology, their way of thinking and acting: To appreciate a female nude is to appreciate the patriarchy that leads to the creation of that artwork.

With Schiele, and other long-dead artists, it is always easier to excuse yourself, time provides a buffer. Historical context must be considered with all artists; whether it was acceptable or unremarkable at the time. The clock cannot be turned back and it is not possible to prevent what happened, nor are you perpetuating abuse by appreciating their work. Problems arise though when injustices are being perpetrated by contemporary artists, such as Roman Polanski.

Roman Polanski raped a child, he was convicted but fled before sentencing, and yet many people refuse to condemn this, or, if they do they excuse him on the grounds that his artwork makes up for this ‘transgression’. I find it quite difficult to see how people can appreciate his films knowing that this man remains at large and unrepentant. In this case it is possible to punish this criminal, and appreciating his artwork does benefit him; economically, and it works as justification for keeping him a free man. There is a much more direct link between enjoying his art and supporting the artist.

The idea though that every single viewer of artwork perceives the art in the same way as the artist - thus appreciating their viewpoint - is however complicated by the proliferation of reproductions. A single clear reading of any art is simply impossible in a world where that artwork is continually recontextualised. Through reinterpretation and appropriation it is inevitable that the artwork becomes separated from its original artist and their objectionable character or intentions.

A further problem is that is would be intractable to reject all art that has been made by any and every objectionable person. Critics should focus less on what art is ‘good’ or not, and instead seek to explain why such art exists, how it is received, and what it says about contemporary society - with the ultimate aim of changing that society.