This article considers affinities between artistic and scientific evaluations. Objectivity has been widely studied, as it is thought the foundation for legitimate judgments of truth. Yet we know comparatively little about subjectivity apart from its characterization as the obstacle to objective knowledge. In this article, I examine how subjectivity operates as an epistemic virtue in artistic evaluation, which is an especially interesting field for study given the accepted relativism of taste. Data are taken from interviews with 30 book reviewers drawn from major American newspapers including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and others. The data reveal that critics invest in a set of strategies to effectively ‘objectivize’ the subjectivity intrinsic to artistic evaluation, which I refer to collectively as strategies for maintaining critical distance. I argue that the concrete procedures for producing legitimate judgment in the world of art can be usefully compared to the norms for legitimate judgment in science.