Hello, all you happy people. Here’s a rambly, unedited, just-before-bedtime update on what I’ve been up to lately…
I am doing regular art criticism for OC Weekly, but I don’t post those columns here. OC Weekly has a rights policy where I need to wait for a while after an article’s printed (a month, I think) before I can post it here, and by that point the art show has probably closed. Art show reviews have a limited shelf-life. When I was reviewing movies, those reviews could be read and (theoretically) enjoyed by people all over the world, for years to come! But a review of an art show is generally only going to be relevant to locals, for a few weeks at most. So, things have been quiet, here.
I was a film critic for ten years, and it took time to get used to this new gig. Reviewing movies, I rarely had to deal with outraged directors. But fine artists are very, very tempermental! I know, that’s not exactly news, but I’ve been surprised by just how angry artists get about reviews… even the positive ones. I went through a period where I was getting these furious emails about almost every review. I suspected a lot of them were coming from the same person, but still, it got old.
It’s pretty rare that I’ll write a negative review of an art show. What would be the point of that? “Here’s an awful show at some gallery you’ve never heard of, and I hate it and you should avoid it!” As a film critic I felt like it was my job to warn people away from the crap, but as a fine art critic I feel like it’s more my job to point out the stuff that’s worth your time. Occasionally I’ll single a show out for abuse if it exemplifies something about the art world I dislike, but as a rule I don’t like to harshly criticize living artists. These people are lonesome weirdoes just trying to express themselves and make a living. I can relate.
I don’t do the OC art social scene at all, and as a result I’ve apparently developed a reputation as a rather mysterious character. The fact is, I’m just very shy. The idea of walking around at some glitzy art opening and trying to make clever small talk sounds like pure torture. I don’t want to deal with people fawning over me in hopes of getting a good review, and I don’t want to deal with people giving me the stinkeye over a bad review. I don’t go to galleries to make friends! I like to look, and I like to lurk.
All that being said, I have been toying with the idea of trying to curate a show at some point. If anybody in the OC or LA art scene would be interested in something like that, drop me a line and we’ll talk.
I do miss film criticism sometimes, but I really like being an art critic and it’s probably a better fit for my talents. I definitely plan to stick around as long as they’ll have me. Oh, and for those of you who asked, my cat is still doing fine. He’s touched that you cared.
Hopefully I’ll update this thing again sometime soon. If not… See you in 2009, the world of tomorrow.