After Jerry Saltz torched Frieze magazine for allowing Rob Storr to review a show curated by a protege with whom Storr has a long and close professional association, MAN asked a source at Frieze if there were other examples of rampant cronyism in the magazine. The source gave me these examples…
1.) The magazine assigned part-time TV soap opera actor and MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch to review a particular episode of the television program “General Hospital.” From Deitch’s review: “I wish Michelangelo were here to see ‘General Hospital.’ Mike would have been so enthusiastic. As you know, Mike was famously collegial and supportive of other artists, so I’m sure he would have particularly appreciated the star turn by a young, double-breasted, bespectacled actor from New York.” In response to criticism from MAN, the magazine tweeted that the haters were “in a bad mood” and that they were probably “Guiding Light” fans.
2.) The magazine asked Robert Storr to review a painting by Philip Pearlstein. The painting is a portrait of Rob Storr. The magazine tweeted its response: “OMG you guys! R face is sooo red!! Didn’t realize it was the same person!!!!! “Ignorance breeds contempt, but in this case we still love Rob(ert).”
3.) “The Philippe de Montebello Years,” a 2008 Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition of acquisitions made during de Montebello’s tenure as Met director, was reviewed by a critic Frieze identified as “former Museum of Fine Arts, Houston director Philippe de Montebello.” UPDATE: Jennifer Higgie, the magazine’s co-editor, just sent me a note saying that de Montebello’s review of de Montebello was perfectly legit, but that if it wasn’t that it was de Montebello’s fault. “It isn’t a review, in the conventional sense,” Higgie said. “It’s part of his regular column, ‘View from the Met’s Staircase,’ in which he has carte blanche to express his enthusiasms and bug-bears about shows/writers/artists/ideas that are engaging him at this point in time. That and we didn’t know he was director of the damn museum and had been for 31 years, OK? Now stop being a big meanie, you big meanie.”
4.) The magazine reviewed the last Frieze art fair with a full-page review, reproduced here in its entirety: “Fuck yeah, motherfucker, this was the bloody AWESOMEST art fair ever! I met Urs Fischer!!!! Hey Michelle Kuo, your magazine’s fair in Berlin sucks. Yeah, that’s right: I SAID IT.” When MAN criticized the review and noted that the German fair has nothing to do with the American magazine, Frieze tweeted: “I like nonsense — it wakes up the brain cells — Dr. Seuss.” It was not clear if the magazine was referring to MAN’s criticism or to its own coverage.
5.) The forthcoming book, “September: A History Painting by Gerhard Richter,” by Rob Storr will be reviewed in Frieze by Rob Storr. The source leaked to MAN a pre-publication version of Storr’s review, which ends: “If I were young, how would I want to begin my authorial life? With a book like this – because there’s never been one like it before.”