[ Home | Comment | Next | Previous | Up ]

More Frieze dirt

From: gasplank
Date: 30 Oct 2010
Time: 13:57:52 -0500


Jerry Saltz writes in extract from article on Saatchi Online: Still, something caught my attention in the current issue of Frieze. Robert Storr gives a rave review to Sarah Lewis’s “Site Santa Fe” show in the September–October issue of the magazine. The review is subtitled: “Site Santa Fe’s Eighth International Biennial is as inspiring as it is original.” (Actually, the magazine misspells the name of the city as “Sante Fe.”) The first line of Mr. Storr’s review is, “Sometimes someone gets it right.” The last lines of Mr. Storr’s review are, “If I were young, how would I want to begin my curatorial life? With an exhibition like this — because there’s never been one like it before.” It’s absolutely fine that Mr. Storr loves Ms. Lewis and this show so much (while in the same review lambasting previous “Site” curator Dave Hickey as a “Michel Foucault–quoting … all-around all-American Tea Party aesthete, Slim Pickens impersonator … “). Storr neglects to mention, however, that Ms. Lewis was his student at Harvard. Ms. Lewis worked with him at the Museum of Modern Art. Ms. Lewis is now employed with him at Yale University, where she is a PhD student, and listed as a “critic of painting and printmaking” in the School of Art, where Storr is dean and also a professor of painting and printmaking. The four questions I would ask are: 1. Why would Frieze ask this person to review this show? 2. Why would Frieze publish this without mentioning the writer’s special long-term relationship with the curator? 3. If Frieze was unaware of these facts, why? 4. How did this come to pass? I’m sure all critics have done some of these things. I am sure that I have written on former students. I’m not sure, however, that all of these unstated overlaps have appeared at the same time in the same review about such a high-profile biennial in such a high-profile magazine by such a high-profile critic/curator/art-school dean/former curator of a “Site Santa Fe Biennial.” Update: Frieze co-editor Jennifer Higgie responds to Saltz’s comments on Robert Storr: Dear Jerry, I hope this finds you well. We would like to respond to the allegations of cronyism in your column, which we take very seriously: I can assure you that Frieze is scrupulous about impartiality in regards to reviews. Which gets to the crux of the matter. You ask: “Why would Frieze ask this person to review this show?” There’s a simple answer. Rob Storr’s piece on Site Santa Fe (which you can read here) isn’t a review, in the conventional sense — it’s part of his regular column, ‘View from the Bridge,’ in which he has carte blanche to express his enthusiasms and bug-bears about shows/writers/artists/ideas that are engaging him at this point in time. (Our extensive international review section is to be found at the back of the magazine.) In retrospect, however, we agree it was an oversight not to mention Storr’s personal relationship with the curators, although it must be stressed that there is absolutely nothing self-serving in the piece. If Storr has committed a crime, it’s simply to be enthusiastic and supportive of the work of upcoming curators he knows professionally and whose work he admires. With best wishes, Jennifer Higgie Co-editor, Frieze magazine