The audio from the conversation Washington Post art/architecture critic Philip Kennicott, Architect magazine senior editor and Washington CityPaper contributor Kriston Capps and I had last night about the Corcoran-National Gallery of Art-George Washington University situation is now online.
Three quick takeaways:
- For many years, the legacy media in Washington have treated the National Gallery of Art with great deference, as if it was an institution to be honored rather than examined. Well, not any more. For the first time in the 15-plus years I’ve been in Washington, the city’s critical community substantially agrees on something: That the NGA is no longer beyond probative criticism. The panel unloaded on the NGA, and nearly every criticism of the institution was met with nods and even Sunday-at-church-style that’s rights from the audience. (Nor was the surprising critical near-consensus on the NGA limited to issues related to the NGA’s proposed takeover of the Corcoran). NGA leaders would be wise to listen closely, to take the community’s criticisms seriously — and then to make meaningful changes in how it operates.
- The panelists were in agreement at the District of Columbia attorney general may be able to impact the presumed Corcoran/NGA/GWU deal. Ace Post reporter David Montgomery suggested he’ll be looking into how the AG could play a role.
- Washington takes seriously the Corcoran’s long-standing role as the custodian of the city’s art history. The NGA must find a way to address that issue.