Arts Coverage in Present Tense
As more an arts editor than a writer, I am curious why we're not seeing arts coverage that more fully reflects the present economic . . . slump, crisis, crash. It's as if the reviews and features I'm reading were written a year or a decade ago.
Where's the effect of the market drop and resulting semidemipanic on institutional portfolios and philanthropic support; on sales, of artwork or tickets, in big places and small; on content, which is a powerful topic for critics of all kinds that's rarely touched? (There's a whole school of art crit that actually turns up its collective nose whenever the word content is uttered.)
Do critics and arts reporters think that their editors imagine their coverage and commentary as a relief from the world, instead of a crucial part of it? My answer: yup, especially the editors who decide what moves and what sits. I'd be glad to read anyone's thoughts.
And a quick note about something my ARTicles colleague John Rockwell just filed below. He writes that reading the Sunday NYT made him "nostalgic for the good old days, meaning the days when there was more I wanted to read in the paper and less commercial pop-culture dross (by which I am careful to make a distinction from real criticism about real pop culture)."
Me, I read quite a lot of commercial "dross" about that other culture, the high-rent stuff, too. It's plenty commercial, with lots of bucks involved, especially in museums. Just thought I'd mention.
Actually, I've never bought into the high-low distinction, from a critical POV, anyway.