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SCHEHERAZADE

by Charlie Finch
 
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The news that Lindsay Pollock has taken over the reins at Art in America is a mixed bag. Who can envy anyone compelled to sing market songs into the ear of Peter Brant, sultan of Brant Publications, who has gone through a serious case of andropause recently, marked by his undivorce from Stephanie Seymour, Glenn O'Brienís swift departure from Interview and the sacking of veteran editor Marcia Vetrocq, in favor of Ms. Pollock (apparently Marcia learned of the bad news via the New York Times).

The immediate take from the magpies at Artinfo was that the Lindsay hiring will turn Art in America into a "more market-oriented publication." Not going to happen. For centuries (OK, it just seems like centuries), Art in America has been the one print publication found on the desks of fine arts professors from Tallahassee to Sheboygan. Its faint steady pulse on the academic side of what's happening in the visual arts has made Art in America the last, best hope of the art world's silent majority: dedicated artists who teach to survive. I cannot tell you the number of times artist friends of mine have held out the possibility of an Art in America notice as the key to any success they may anticipate (and, since, as Roberta Smith has pointed out often, Art in America reviews are frequently published years after a show closes, this hope springs eternal!).

Peter Brant may think, andropausally, that he has hired Jackson Pollock's daughter, and Lindsay will have fun dealing with Brant's vibrant and idea-filled adult children, but, oddly, Lindsay is the perfect choice to carry on Art in America's staid and solid legacy, unchanged. She will go to any show, however obscure. She loves road trips to museums. And, Lindsay has the best attitude towards art-on-the-walls, childlike amazement.

Arguably, Ms. Pollock is at her weakest when genuflecting towards the auction houses (she's a tall drink of water, so that is one long, uncomfortable bow.) Here's hoping Brant will leave Lindsay alone and let her jazz up Art in America the way Thomas Hart Benton once jazzed up Missouri.


CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).