What About Artists? Open Thread
| The New Yorker profile on Tobias Meyer I wrote about a while back has caused a bit of a storm with two prominent art writers (both of whom I greatly admire, both personally and professionally) ...uh, I should clarify...they're upset with The New Yorker, not my post. The writers are the esteemed Jerry Saltz and Tyler Green. First Tyler responded to the profile, commenting on how "gushy" the weekly has gone lately:|
Then Jerry commented (quoted by Tyler on his blog):
I'm not the only one who has noticed that three recent New Yorker big-deal profiles of art people have had nothing whatsoever to do with, uh, hmmm, well.... artists. Village Voice critic Jerry Saltz also thinks that the New Yorker's recent coverage, the Meyer piece in particular, is strange. We've got a Big NYC Media Smackdown: Saltz sent this letter to both MAN and The New Yorker:And then Tyler followed up with:The New Yorker really drank the Kool-Aid in John Colapinto's wet-kiss to big-money fast-action art-heroes who sell art works to the highest bidder. How can someone conscientiously write an entire profile on Tobias Meyer, the chief auctioneer and worldwide head of contemporary art at Sotheby's, and not mention, even in passing, that contemporary art auctions are bizarre combinations of slave market, trading floor, theater, and brothel? They are rarefied entertainments where speculation, spin, and trophy hunting merge as an insular caste enacts a highly structured ritual in which the codes of consumption and peerage are manipulated in plain sight. Auctions are altars to the disconnect between the inner life of art and the outer life of acquisition, places where artists are cut off from their art. At auctions desire is fetishized, buying and selling become a sort of sacrament, art plays the role of sacrificial lamb, and the Ponzi scheme that surrounds it all rolls on. For The New Yorker to publish an article like this and not raise one discouraging word about auctions is more than a little discouraging; it is a sickening.
Aside: Several emailers have written in to defend the Leo Koenig piece in the New Yorker. Yes, it certainly had more backbone than the Meyer or Weinberg stories. But I think my underlying point stands: What about artists?
OK, so I subscribed to The New Yorker only earlier this year, but I'd read it fairly regularly before then, and although I agree with Jerry and Tyler that the profiles in question were "gushy," I'm not sure the charge that The New Yorker is ignoring "artists," per se, is entirely fair to the magazine. Not in general, at least.
UPDATE: Mr. Meyer will be speaking March 30th. If we weren't having an opening you should really attend instead that night, I'd recommend you find out for yourself whether The New Yorker piece was hyperbole or fair and balanced journalism.