Critical Futures II: Going Negative, with Tobi Haslett, Ruth Franklin, Laura Kipnis, and Pete Wells (PRINCE STREET)

Bad reviews, takedowns, hatchet jobs: there are plenty of names for the times when a critic decides to go negative, and they all have their storied histories and styles. How has going negative changed in the present, and does the art of the bad review have a future? Do bad reviews sting as much as they once did, and what does their afterlife look like in the age of social media? Join us to talk about the context of bad reviews and what it says about the practice of criticism today.

Critical Futures is a series of panels cosponsored with the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, focusing on the critical landscape today across a range of media, particularly the contemporary challenges changing the face of reviewing. 


Ruth Franklin is the author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. Her criticism has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Review of Books, and Harper’s.

Tobi Haslett is a writer and critic based in New York. His work has appeared in n+1, the New YorkerArtforum, and elsewhere.

Laura Kipnis is a cultural critic who writes on sexual politics, emotion, acting out, bad behavior, and various other crevices of the American psyche. Her latest book is Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus. She has contributed essays and reviews to the New York Review of Books, The GuardianSlateAtlantic,  Harper’sPlayboy, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book ReviewBookforum and elsewhere.

Pete Wells has served as restaurant critic for The New York Times since 2012. He’s received five James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards for his writing about eating and drinking. 

Eric Banks is the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. Banks is the past president of the National Book Critics Circle. He was formerly editor in chief of Bookforum, which he relaunched in 2003, and a former senior editor of Artforum. His essays and reviews have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers.