Tyler Green
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Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

More bad news for American art criticism

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The Washington Post has found art critic Blake Gopnik’s replacement: Current Post culture and architecture critic Philip Kennicott.

The problem isn’t Kennicott, who is the most thoughtful writer on the Post’s Style section staff. This is bad news because the Post is downgrading its art critic’s duties to a part-time responsibility. According to a Washington Post memo, Kennicott will serve as the paper’s art critic,  its “lead writer” on architecture and he’ll contribute “other pieces” as well. The Post’s halving of the job (or worse) continues a recent trend: Newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Diego Union-Tribune have all either laid off or lessened their art critics’ duties. [Note, 4/25: When I used the word “halving” I meant that Kennicott was now responsible for three areas — art, architecture and cultural criticism — not that the Post was halving the hours it was devoting to any one area.]

While those are all good art cities, none is Washington (America’s No. 3 art city) and none of those papers is as widely admired as the Washington Post. (True: The Post’s visual art coverage has long been lacking, as most recently evidenced by this.)

The Washington City Paper’s Jonathan Fischer has the Post’s memo here.

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  1. I lived a long time in the Hartford area, where they have nothing but art journalism. Shows were ‘reviewed’ by having their press releases sumarized.

  2. John Lenting says:

    It’s of no suprise to me, just look at the way this country has been sinking not only culturally but economically. The most frequently heard are the anti-art media outlets like “Fox” and many others on the main stream media who are funded by the quacks and loony fringe moneyed tasteless idiots.

    You can compare that to the eroding flossie, dummy down wasteful art like “Koons”,”Warhol”,”Hirst” etc. etc. and there you have it. Simply an art world out of touch much like the mainstream media, newspapers cutting financial corners eliminating art journalism and a general public just disinterested in good fine art because they are too busy watching sports and reality crap from the very people who destroyed the “Wall Street Journal” and “Investors Daily” the “Rupport Murdoch” syndrome.

  3. American art criticism as a separate entity from American art — the people who know instead of the people who make, is entirely too in love with itself, and less so with art. Do horses need to follow when carts go off cliffs?

  4. Peteykins says:

    Wait, are you saying that San Diego is a “good art city”?

    That’s hilarious.

  5. Tyler Green says:

    It is home to one of the world’s two best Spanish still-life paintings and to America’s best Goya portrait. Pretty good start.

  6. […] newspaper-of-record decided that art isn’t worth a single full-time staffer. As I noted here last week, the Washington Post replaced Blake Gopnik with the super-smart Philip Kennicott, who in addition […]

  7. […] mightily earlier this year when I noted that they had downgraded their art critic position to a part-time responsibility. Well, in yesterday’s paper, there were the traditional top ten lists for lots of  arts […]

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