There's an old saying, "Those who can -- do. Those who can't -- criticize."
Earlier today a friend, and fellow artist, opened up a discussion and dialogue on twitter on the topic of art critiquing (alluding to a blog post on the same subject). I thought I'd expand a little on my thoughts, shared earlier today.
In my opinion, the saying at the top of this post holds true for the most part. However, there are those offering criticism who actually know what they're talking about. The important thing to remember is not to allow these "judgments" to be the final word in determining the direction and remaining development of a piece.
The artist should always have the final say. After all, it's his/her vision that's being realized. No one else could possibly be better suited in determining its outcome. I will always consider the merits of solid constructive criticism regarding any bit of my work. Hell, I may even adopt and apply some of it. I also know there can be a thousand different opinions, each valid in its own right.
And no artist, or any work, is immune. As audacious as this may sound, I have looked upon several paintings done by some of my art heroes (Picasso, Pollock, Matisse, to name a few), imagined these works being my own, and proceeded to determine what I would change or "fix" about them.... essentially, critiquing.
As long as artists are true to their vision, and take constructive criticism for what it may be worth, there is no reason for any judgment to derail them. It should only spur them along.