Over the last year is been pretty easy to focus on the big and catastrophic as we move through a pandemic, the push for real social justice and societal reform, a failing American presidency, and the most significant US presidential election most of us will ever know.
It is with gratitude that we want to amplify the work of our cultural colleague, Rachel Cohen. She reached out last week with a note that should concern us all. It was a note about the continual downsizing at the Chicago Tribune our home cities “paper of record” and a long time friend of the show, Lori Waxman, who was let go during a pandemic related layer of cuts.
Lori Waxman is without a doubt one of the brightest lights in the Midwest Art criticism community but beyond the loss of a brilliant voice is the concern that Chicago’s mainstream media no longer will cover (with any significant depth or engagement) the visual and contemporary arts. Which removes one of the most important ways people learn about what goes on within our city. It removes the opportunity for “chance encounters” and will further isolate one of the most vibrant and engaged artistic communities in the United States. Below we share what Prof. Cohen sent to us in the hopes that you will take the time to sign on to this open letter to reinstate Lori Waxman but beyond that, to affirm the value of contemporary arts discourse and the role it plays in civic life.
Greetings. I write to let you know about an open letter that you might wish to sign. You will know that the wonderful art critic Lori Waxman was let go from her free-lance position at the Chicago Tribune during the pandemic. I have written a letter to the editors protesting this decision, asking that she be reinstated and that the Tribune recommit itself to serious visual arts criticism. The letter has many distinguished signatories. It would be wonderful if you wanted to sign also, and to circulate the link to others.The link is below. Please do not edit the letter beyond adding your signature and information.Thank you so much.With best wishes,Rachel Cohen
Professor of Practice in the Arts
University of Chicago