Trib Lays off Alan Artner

April 24, 2009 · Print This Article

Can we talk about this?

I just read (via Meg’s Twitter– I’ve been away from my computer for almost a full day, so this is fresh news to me) that the Chicago Tribune laid off its sole art critic, Alan Artner (sources: Time Out Chicago; Chicago Reader blog). Wow. I don’t know Mr. Artner personally but I am really sorry to hear about this. He seems to have been widely respected — a few detractors, of course, but my sense is that he did his job very well and has made a major contribution to art coverage in this city during his decades at the Tribune.

When I moved to Chicago last year I was really surprised at the lack of, let’s call it “mainstream press” art criticism in Chicago, including at the Tribune. I don’t think a major city daily should have only one art critic on staff like the Trib did (look at the L.A.Times–at least for now, they have chief art critic Christopher Knight plus David Pagel and several other longstanding freelance art critics who’ve made names for themselves over the years), but at least they had someone.  I was shocked that the Chicago Reader, this supposedly nationally recognized alternative weekly, doesn’t do regular art reviews and only occasionally covers the business end of what’s happening in art here. And relieved to discover New City‘s extensive coverage of Chicago art – that thin little weekly entertainment rag does a hell of a lot for the art scene in this city, no? But I’m blown away to learn that the city’s most prominent newspaper critic has been cut. We all know the Trib is bankrupt (and whither the Trib goes, so too the LA Times?). But this decision has symbolic ramifications too.

Since I’m new to Chicago, with not a lot of personal history with the art scene behind me to fully contextualize this news (or to allow me to feel cynical about it, frankly), I’d like to hear your thoughts and comments on this development.  How will the absence of regular, critical art coverage in the city’s major daily paper impact Chicago’s visual arts community (if at all)? Are there outlets in this city big enough to absorb someone with Artner’s experience and talents, or will he be forced to go elsewhere?

This is indeed sad news for the visual arts in Chicago; especially as we are gearing up for the Version and Art Chicago/Artropolis events taking place here over the next few weeks, when more eyes than usual will be upon us. Just not any from the Tribune.

44 thoughts on “Trib Lays off Alan Artner”

  1. Kathryn says:

    I think the significance of this story is exaggerated. I know of a young art critic that just got hired by the Trib. Now maybe they’ll do reviews and maybe they won’t, but it goes to show that it’s not a 100% financial issue.

    Also, Artner did one review a week, and it’s not like he was trucking around the West Loop and apartment galleries, finding new local talent, he would cover the Art Institute’s big shows.

    And yes, New City does 7 reviews a week, and ArtSlant does about 20 a month, and they’re looking for writers. There are sites that list sites of Chicago art websites, they are so numerous, so I wouldn’t cry in your beer just yet.

    “If your business model involves selling water in the desert, and then it starts to rain, look for a new business model.”
    – Said about the music industry trying to crush music downloading in the 1990’s


  2. Claudine Ise says:

    I don’t think it’s an ‘exaggeration’ to note the fact that the art critic for Chicago’s biggest daily paper has been let go. BaS is based in Chicago, if we’re going to talk about the art scene in this city then Artner’s situation is worthy of mention — the guy lost his job, I’m not going to be flip about it, or his contributions to the art scene here, whatever you may think of them. Blogs that feature art reviews can’t compare (yet anyway) to a newspaper’s ability to cover an art scene. The websites you are talking about aren’t really comparable to a major daily newspaper. There may be tons of art sites out there but you have to hunt for them and the writing can be uneven. Plus–these sites don’t have editors overseeing the writers, which can be a huge problem. I could go on and on. My larger point is that you can’t substitute blogs and sites like Art Slant for what, ideally, a major daily can and should be covering. Not that Artner was necessarily achieving all that he could have, but the fact that there now are no major newspaper art critics in Chicago says something about the art scene here to people looking at the city from outside. Edited to add: I forgot to say thank you for your comment Kathryn. Upon re-reading what you say I should concede that you do have a point in that the online world and bloggers can achieve a broader *reach* in terms of how they cover a city’s art scene — through sheer (low paid) numbers, if nothing else. But what’s still lacking, and what good newspaper criticism can offer, is well-reasoned and well thought out coverage of a scene that has years of experience behind it and, as I said above, editors to fact-check things, which bloggers don’t have.

  3. Kathryn says:

    Well, I write for Time Out and they edit plenty, fact check plenty, pay decently and publish art reviews every week. And they’re new.

    I’m just saying that we all hit the ceiling because we automatically assume that he’s been cut and not replaced. Well, someone just got hired at the Trib, someone who writes art reviews all over the city. So I’m just saying you can’t assume that Artner isn’t being replaced.

    As for the other stuff, I don’t know what to say, it’s a longer discussion that’s been said a million times. But I do feel strongly that newspapers are dying in their current form because the world is changing, not because things are falling to hell.

    Okey dokey, Claudine, nice to see you posting. Hopefully I’ll catch you at a BAS Gold Star thing-a-ma-gig.

  4. I put the lay-off up on Sharkforum too and on Facebook and we have had a ton of discussion. It is indeed important as indicative — of something — I don’t really know exactly what. I never really liked Artner’s criticism. well written, but rather vacuous.

    Time Out and BaS and SF and many others are doing a fine job, they are great places and people — although the coverage any of the “biggies” (such as Art in America, my “home”) give to Chicago is far too little. l particularly like Michelle Grabner’s and Pedro Velez’s stuff, but to be a real large city you need tough but often supportive local, regular, criticism. LA has it. Chicago needs it and much more.

    As Deven Golden said so well, ” It’s about supporting the community that does exist.” As I am one of the “leavers,” I think I see it clearly, and find it very sad — the loss of the position, not AA himself, — one of many positions that needed to be expanded, not eliminated.

  5. John Q. Public says:


    So you are applauding that the Tribune booted an experienced full-time critic and replaced them with a young jobber who they are paying a fraction of what she should be paid, contributing to the extinction of full time critics?

    Good job Tribune!

  6. duncan. says:

    It seems redundant to point out but the major advantage of the “News Paper” coverage is that people don’t have to “seek it out,” it finds them and opens up/reminds audiences of what is going on in their city. No one happens upon BaS, Sharkforum, ArtSlant, or the New City Art Blog. They find it because they already care. It is amazing what you find as you thumb through the Trib or the Reader and it generates new possibilities and for the Art Scene here that means people who might check something out because it looks interesting. That doesn’t denigrate the work that Time Out has done but my experience of Time Out is as something I read by section. I flip over the things I’m not interested in. For me that is almost always everything but Art but I have to think that for a lot of folks that is the art section.

    Many of us who have lived here for years lamented Artner’s reign at the Trib but he represented an active and full experience of this regional art scene for several decades. That might have left him out of touch with the hipper parts of our contemporary art world but he brought an appreciation of how this place developed and how its players have shaped it for the last 30 years. There are very few writers and Critics in Chicago that can make that kind of claim.

    I personally wanted to see less Artner and more progressive voices but I doubt his departure is a good thing.

    It strikes me a little bit like people feeling joy at the market down turn because it is going to get rid of “the crappy fashionable trinkets” and leave us with the “good” work. Being joyful or pleased with the loss of anything in our art world seems strange to me. Why would we celebrate someone else losing a pay check? That check isn’t going to us it is just gone as is the attention it assured and represented.

    Maybe Artner is a dinosaur but being around that long insured that he knows more about Chicago’s art world then most of us ever will and the loss of that should and will sting.

  7. Neil Goodman says:

    Shame on them. This a sad day for art in Chicago. His criticism was important to generations of artists. He was fair, honest, and insightful.

  8. david jones says:

    I think this is a very sad thing for Chicago and for culture in general in the city. Artner, though opinionated, was a real professional. I did not always agree with him, but he was a real thoughtful voice in a city where the modern was invented. It makes clear that the arts are not important to the paper and that is extremely short sighted. The arts are big business for a community and its resonance outside. One only need to look at the importance of the new Art institute building. Sadly, they don’t have a professional to review it, and I hate to say it, but some young buck that works for a buck is not the same thing as a seasoned cultural veteran.

  9. Mark says:

    Sure there are a lot of people who WANT to write about art, and are more than capable of regurgitating press releases. Losing a real, formally trained critic, however, sucks. I’m sure they’ll move someone over from the calendar section to just do little write-ups on whatever exhibit is coming to town. Everyone’s happy, right?

    The saddest part about the situation is that many don’t even recognize the difference between a real critic and the very common instinct to simply want to write about something.

  10. The Shark says:

    Alan covered the professional, serious art world here -be that as it may. One need look no further than the Chicago Tribune Magazines ‘Art’ issue during the fair recently-to ascertain the direction: same as Modern Painters -which now has nothing to do with modern painting -and is all about lifestyle fluff- the same decline, the same species of trendy junk.

    Look at New City -which more and more is becoming an off campus SAIC newspaper..having little to do with the serious art world here, what there is of it, or serious coverage-… a few paragraphs, you can hear the bubblegum snapping.

    Alan Arter, having been both lionized and villified by him over the years- he was probably somewhat correct in both positions…..I think the sentiment here expressed by most is correct -whatever your opinion of the man, he is a real critic -an argument can be made that in Chicago we are now down to zero in that department…..

  11. The Shark says:

    I should add, Jim Yood also qualifies as a real critic -but, where is Jim to be seen on a regular basis?

  12. Yes, WK! Calling on Jim! He can write strong articles and essays of real substance when he wants to! Jim, my friend who helped assist me with getting into Switzerland, and from whom I learned a lot when writing for NAE — where are you? There should be more of you in print. You shouldn’t be satisfied with the short diddies allowed at ArtForum, a political publication of no critical importance at all. Create a regular, tough, criticism gig similar to Artner’s ex. You would even be better in my opinion.

  13. The Shark says:

    Mark -we have kind of been having this debate over the direction sharkforum should take…my views on the scene here are actually becoming more negative….the narrowness ROBERTA SMITH noted in James Rondeau’s selection of contemporary art can bee seen throughout the Chicago art world -even right here on Bas I quote,

    “Perhaps in keeping with the Minimal-Conceptual stranglehold that has so dominated views of the art of the late ’60s and ’70s, the ’80s are now to be seen only in terms of the strictly photo-based appropriation of the Pictures Generation. I hope not.

    It is dismaying to see modernism’s linear thinking — falsely narrow to begin with — persist.

    And it does persist here in Chicago -Rondeau being to quote an art world figure “Judith Kirchner’s lapdog” -and it doesnt stop with Rondeau -this institutional stanglehold described above BY THE TOP CRITIC IN THE WORLD, happens to permeate and, to have transformed Chicago into a collegiate, conformist backwater…..I don’t see this changing -I don’t think Jim Yood should bother -its not worth it.

  14. The Shark says:

    Or has Holland Cotter notes in his exploration of political corruption/ history in the ‘making’ in todays NYTimes excellent joint review of The Pictures Generation /Younger Than Jesus;

    “Surprisingly, considering its programmed nowness, this exhibition, like the one at the Met, gives the impression of being an artifact. It comes across as a kind of classic demonstration of the youth-for-youth’s-sake impulse that has for some time now dominated the art industry, ostensibly supplying transfusions of fresh blood, but in fact promoting academicism and conformity.”

  15. I’m having that feeling about the artworld in general, Wesley, too, not just Chicago. Endless narrowness, it appears.

    I keep hoping for some breakout approaches, some of which we are instituting in the Art Academy where I teach, but I see little to none in the general artworld at present.

    I’m dreading the Basel Art Fair I’ll be at next week. I’d like to see SF, BaS and other things be more positive, but I am having trouble seeing WHERE or how or what.

  16. The Shark says:

    You have powerful people like Roberta Smith, Jerry Saltz, Holland Cotter speaking out against it, (Conceptual Cloneism) article after article, and yet as one can witness right here in Chicago, the neo-conformists are entrenched UIC the ‘Ren’ barf…..the ‘new wing party room’, (with small ancillary climate controlled galleries off to the side 64,000 sq ft exhibition space, 201,000 sq ft weddings! bar mitvahs! woohooo! with our very own Ellsworth Touhy at the helm…..

  17. Gyro Shark says:

    Sharkforum is a great outlet as long as Wesley and Mark agree with what you have to say. Otherwise expect to have the piece pulled.

  18. The Shark says:

    btw Claudine -its nice to see you becoming more aware, taking some stock/assessment of your surroundings: yes its shocking that the Reader doesn’t cover art -but, it was equally shocking when they did, offering up the unfortunate Fred Camper as art critic- New City….SAIC student rag is what I see, I have been involved in exhibitions -the Ah Decadence show for instance where the coverage bordered upon corruption in its slant -they do have one truly great critic there -movie critic as he would want to be called -the brilliant Ray Pride.

    As I noted on another thread , when it comes to ‘CACA’ -go meet these people Claudine -its a joke.

    You are correct in your view that Alan’s departure is a loss…Alan never was what he could have been -someone who galvanized the community and lent it direction and vision -but, he did provide a real sense of legitimate authority -a tangible that the Kathyrn Borns of the art world here are incapable of offering -no offense meant, just the truth.

    Its interesting to note how effective the theater critics are here -both Hedy Weiss and Chris Jones having international stature…….one could ask, is it them or, the community they write about. Art criticism began its long decline here when New Art Examiner under Hixon became a consensus club UIC mouthpiece… the same time criticism declined under this academic stranglehold, so did the art.

    Bottom line Claudine, yes, it is amazing that we have not a single critic working for a major publication, writing on a regular basis here. I hear the Tribune is going to start an art blog -from what I glean in terms of the people involved, we will see more decline into further stupidity.

  19. The Shark says:

    Gyro Shark you are absolutely correct about sharkforum: its not a democracy, deal with it. When I see something go up on sharkforum that kisses the same tired asses with the same tired lips -I do yank it, with relish.

  20. Jason Foumberg says:

    in May, of 53 total reviews, profiles and features, 11 had a strong SAIC focus. That’s 20%, which is likely a properly skewed representation of SAIC’s influence in this city. Newcity also covers graffiti artists, artists unrepresented by galleries, artists who didn’t go to art school, artists from all regions of Chicago and from other art centers.

  21. The Shark says:

    And of the 53 total reviews, profiles and features, how many of them were written by students still at SAIC, employees of SAIC or the Art Institute…….I believe that was my point.

  22. Jason Foumberg says:

    about 12 of 53

  23. The Shark says:

    ….and where would you be texting/emailing from Mr Foumberg?

    I think New City given its limitations, does do a better job than anyone else here in covering culture ( at least art and film) -but lets face it, considering Chicago, thats like being the leper with the most fingers-

  24. Jason Foumberg says:

    thanks for the half compliment.

  25. The Shark says:

    Jason -I would suggest to you that you be more vigilant in assessing the professionalism of the writing coming from quarters where conflicts of interest could occur. I have watched and experienced that happening with the arts coverage at New City -I am sure it is difficult to keep tabs on everything-and perhaps a public blog is not the best place to say heads up -but, heads up.

    as for the half compliment…sorry, thats about as good as gets from me considering the subject.

  26. kathryn says:

    Look, I’ve always been the first to say that me writing about art is a sure sign that the apocalypse is quickly on its way. But it’s a free country, people are welcome to write criticism, post it to a site, get a couple ads and take pay pal donations. How quickly could that generate a few thousand dollars a month and be an equivalent to the usual crappy salary? Pretty quick.

    Of course I think Artner was a loss, but newspapers falling apart is really a loss. Someday online journalism will take its place, but it’s not there yet. Blogs are not journalism, blogs are short pieces and bloggers are expected to churn out content. There is no time to edit, let alone research. It’s a short, casual, op-ed form, one form among many.

    Right now the entire information distribution system is in chaos. Each partisan group is pumping out cherry-picked stories that make their case. There is no fact-checking, there is fear mongering, it’s a hot mess.

    One Chicago art writer I know and like is Jeff Huebner. Huebner would spend MONTHS working on a story, he would travel to the location, do endless research. He used to have a market for his work and now there is almost none. A story that requires real research is going to be expensive, and unless we can figure out a system that values this, we’re in bad shape.

    The problem with dense art criticism is that it’s a niche audience. It’s victim of the tyranny of the majority. Unlike the European model, news is not seen as medicine, they’re not going to give people what’s good for them, they’re going to give the public what they want, and what they’re willing to pay for. So if you can find 50 people who really value seasoned critical writing, then great, they can all send in 1,000 a year and support a writer and keep the content coming.

    And I’ll defend Jason’s efforts at New City to the death. What he does, based on the budget he has, is nothing short of miraculous. I challenge anyone else to rally a group of 53 writers based on that pay scale. Jason is able to add value for his team because he guides his writers and helps them improve their craft.

    Anyway, I have to work. But I think a new system will emerge from all this, but it’s not here today. So that’s what I take issue with.

  27. Claudine Ise says:

    “…it’s a free country, people are welcome to write criticism, post it to a site, get a couple ads and take pay pal donations. How quickly could that generate a few thousand dollars a month and be an equivalent to the usual crappy salary? Pretty quick.”

    Dear lord Kathryn, if I could find a way to make a *few thousand* bucks a month blogging “art criticism” or art features or *anything* about art I would most likely jump at it. Who is making a few thousand a month blogging art criticism out here?? I always assumed that most people who write about art in Chicago at best make enough change to take the freakin’ train in to see the show they’re writing about. And maybe a Starbucks to reward themselves afterwards. Or is that just me?? I must be doing something very wrong. 🙂

  28. The Shark says:

    Huebner is good albeit plodding -but methodical (I know this from personal experience with ‘THAT ARTICLE’ as it was referred to in certain quarters he wrote for the Reader in 1998 on me -and in time I have forgiven him for the awful piece he did for Chicago Magazine concerning the death of Ed Paschke, where all of Ed’s enemies and few of his friends were asked their opinion of Ed, his work -perhaps there is an editor more responsible for that atrocity than Jeff-

    My criticism of New City is valid no matter how hard Jason is working or how much of a miracle worker you consider him to be Kathryn -and, is constructive.

    Also, I agree with Claudine at the onset of this thread. That we don’t have a serious critic at either of our newspapers is fucking unbelievable…and I appreciate her seeming to be taken aback by this….its the appropriate reaction from, a fresh perspective…..where most of us have been in this asylum too long to get how sadly corrupt and, dysfunctional things are here -hopefully Claudine will carry THIS perspective and perhaps a new and healthy apprehension- beyond Mr. Artner in her future ruminations.

  29. kathryn says:

    Yikes. Argh. I gotta work.

    Hiya Claudine, sure, absolutely, I hear ya. Zero cash…the way people blog now…. BUT, and I include BAS in this, so let me use BAS as an example.

    As an example, I think this blog could bring in 1K a month, and I’ve pitched it to Richard and Duncan. The barrier that’s unpleasant is getting on the phone and selling ads. $200 is a bargain for an ad for a targeted audience like this, like for a West Loop restaurant. 5 ads at $200 each is $1000.

    But no one at BAS, including me, wants to do that, so we don’t. But it’s possible. I think the model now of Google ads and other unnamed ad services … isn’t working, to put it mildly. Neither is the Culture Blogs network where 65 bloggers make zero, but Douglas McLenon (I’m spelling that wrong) can pay his mortgage.

    Again, monetizing online content it’s not there yet, but it will be. Right now, content has no value, I know this. And the art of advertising is a spiraling vortex of hell. All these things go hand in hand, it’s a huge systemic issue.

    I’m just saying that as the quality goes down the tubes, things will start to change and it will have value again. It’s just the Wild West now and the dust has to settle.

    All writers are screwed right now. It’s not just art. Ask any travel writer, food writer or movie critic. And why that is, is a whole separate discussion.


  30. Richard says:

    A quick note to the $1K a month. Maybe possible, I doubt that in this environment even the 5 people at $200 each a month would be possible. EVEN IF that were possible WK is right, we don’t have the time or energy to do it, and even if we did, I am not sure I think it is a good idea. Keep in mind once you start taking money in an appreciable way, responsibilities and burdens come right along. You are beholden to someone else. Right now, we hold ultimate control over editorial content, if we feel like pissing people off, we can, if we feel like wiping it all away for forever, no strings, no problem. Are there circumstances in which we would consider making BAS into a business, sure, there were even recent discussions with certain media outlets. In the end it didn’t seem like a good fit right now. Was there a point to this rambling rant, probably not.

    Carry on.

  31. Wow. WK agreeing with Claudine — I’m having a SharkHeratAttack! And I agree with those thoughts esp. WK’s: “..where most of us have been in this asylum too long to get how sadly corrupt and, dysfunctional things are here” … as a lapsed Chicagoan, with an outside perspective, let me add that many in the city have been there too long to see how dramatically incommensurate the level and amount of real critical coverage is for the quantity and quality of ARTISTS in Chicago. Something overwhelmingly clear to Europeans and NYers who are cognizant of Chicago and with whom I have spoken.

  32. kathryn says:

    Richard, totally, I was just using BAS as an example. BAS has a strong brand, and I think that brand has value. That was the reason I used it as an example.

    And you’re points hit the issue on the head. In order to monetize, as with everything in life, “money changes everything”.

    For arguments sake, I used to do sales and lots of cold-calling. I think 5 ads at $200 is cheap… but to your point.. we could sell an audio commercial on the show. I mean, look at what a mess that would be. That would never happen, please don’t think I’m suggesting it. I’m just saying that’s the possibility and problem of becoming a business, rather than something that’s done out of a love for the subject matter.

    My premise though, is if internet endeavors put themselves in a monetary model, it’s more possible. BUT it’s a monetary model, it’s business.


  33. Claudine Ise says:

    I also agree with Richard. I like being able to do my own thing without anyone poking their nose over my shoulder. In this case, working for free = my own freedom, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to set up my little card table a couple of times a week over here at BaS. But what seems more relevant than what BaS could or could not be doing at the moment, is what one of our own big-city newspapers is doing right now. I’m particularly interested in the whole issue of ‘aggregated content’ and what that means for writers/bloggers and their labor. Who profits, who doesn’t, who sinks, who swims. This all speaks to those burgeoning economic models that you mentioned earlier, Kathryn. I don’t know enough about the economics of the situation to rant with authority (ah but then again, do I ever??), but I’m trying to parse it all out and am watching how things unfold for Chicago bloggers with great interest.

  34. kathryn says:

    My prediction is that the pay-per-click model will go the way of the dodo bird. For a CNN site, that makes sense. But for Artletter, it will never work. It’s local, gets under 100,000 hits a month probably. Again, another great brand, but another site that’s too small for the pay-per-click model. And right now, for a site of BAS and Artletters size, all the current systems that feed ads, I don’t hear any good reports.

    And that’s a crying shame, because it really could work if the ads were local, and focused on the right demographic.

    I also think we’re being a little hard on advertisers. No restaurant owner is going to care what show is praised or panned.

    That’s my 2 cents. Back to work, stop being so thought-provoking, Claudine.


  35. duncan. says:

    I wish we wouldn’t call BAS a brand. It is just an idea that is worked on by people who believe in it. It is not a cleaning product and it always “bums me out” to hear it referred to that way.

    Opps. I’m an idealist again. Fuck.

  36. kathryn says:

    Take the girl out of marketing, but can’t take the marketing out of the girl.

    Find and replace “brand” with “BAS name is known for”

    For the viewers at home, no one, I repeat, no one but me, has ever used the term “the bad at sports brand”. I however, use that word, along with the word “viscosity” at every possible opportunity.


  37. You Americans sure do talk funny.

  38. Richard says:

    Fuck that, I’m calling it a brand, soon we will have BAS shirts, condoms, our own perfume, the BAS edition Hummer. Hell Yeah!

    Claudine, impressive way to pull it back on topic!

  39. Not to bring this discussion back on topic or anything, but . . .

    Duncan says:

    “It seems redundant to point out but the major advantage of the “News Paper” coverage is that people don’t have to “seek it out,” it finds them and opens up/reminds audiences of what is going on in their city. No one happens upon BaS, Sharkforum, ArtSlant, or the New City Art Blog. They find it because they already care. It is amazing what you find as you thumb through the Trib or the Reader and it generates new possibilities and for the Art Scene here that means people who might check something out because it looks interesting.”

    This is true, though we at ArtSlant want to reach as large an audience as possible, Duncan is right, there’s no replacement for a daily newspaper in a massive city like Chicago. There’s a undeniable physical presence that the paper has in the city, in a way it represents the city itself. It’s on all the major corners, we read it on the daily commute etc. The elimination of art from the paper is in a sense an elimination of art from the Chicago that the Chicago Tribune represents and is supposed to cover and serve.

    The real issue is that the Tribune is in a total mess, it seems to me. Do people remember when Artner started giving “stars” to his reviews of shows? They seemed to have no idea of how to cover art other than a movie-type of format. If the paper made a real commitment to covering visual arts, like the NYTimes does, then they might see some attention from the public and the galleries. As it is, no one thinks of the Trib as having an arts commitment. They used to have Artner, but now they don’t even have him anymore. In my mind, NewCity stepped up and has been fulfilling the arts coverage role (I should mention I do write for them) and people have been noticing, I think, I hear some definite buzz around town.

    The problem was the Tribune failed to understand how to present visual arts coverage, commit to it, and most importantly present a diversity of viewpoints about a wide-range of art.

  40. Hudgens says:

    Oh Richard you have started trouble now. I would like to announce the first official “Bad at Sports” merchandise. Billy BaS “The Talking Art Fish” He sings Rush and pontificates on the conceptual impact work will have on the practices of pedagogues throughout the world.

  41. Hudgens says:

    To actually say something on topic: Right now the tribune and the industry as a whole is in a Business Model shift so massive that to them just printing something with the Masthead on it is hard enough let alone covering anything. No matter how this turns out it will not be anything like it was and until it turns the corner Art is going to be near the bottom of executives list for quite some time. I think “Free and Warm Body” is their hiring practices now.

    This is an opportunity for new groups to pick up the flag if they can figure out the solution to the financing problem without all the overhead costs that a big paper has. Art does not appeal to the mainstream sadly and the activities of the last 30+ years has only ghettoized it more. We rank somewhere below Theater and above Lacrosse in General consumption coverage. If we wait till we get back on radar it could be quite some time. What we have now with BaS, Shark, Newcity and others is good kindling that if people can come to any consensus and group focus on could grow to replace the Tribunes coverage but till then the major papers will only continue to trim back their coverage, even the NYT isn’t going to be immune to this in the long run. I could easily imagine a paper that hits the high points of General News, Sports, Poli/Finance & Culture and that’s it. Culture will be made of up Theater, Cinema, Art, and Fashion that has maybe 1 article representing each category. Until they can shed the cost of production and subscription bleed Newspapers will only get simpler.

  42. Paul Germanos says:

    The Bad at Sports podcast [Episode 168] featuring Derek Guthrie was remarkable in the large number of comments that it provoked.

    Too, it [Episode 168] appeared to have moved Kathryn to respond with Episode 177: Art Journalism, featuring Jason Foumberg.

    And the comments on Episode 177 contained a link to a News article [Jerry Saltz on Frieze] published here on October 27, 2008.

    + + +

    Claudine’s article above, and the comments that follow, are, almost entirely, a restatement of content already existing on-site in those three places cited: Derek Guthrie, Jason Foumberg, and Jerry Saltz.

  43. Hudgens says:

    Well lets go out with a song.

  44. Richard says:

    CH, I would buy a fish that sang Rush!

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