Thursday, September 02, 2004

I received a note from Eugene Robinson, Assistant Managing Editor for the Style section of the Washington Post in response to my rant about the lack of a Galleries review today.

Robinson (whose most recent book I am currently reading by the way) wrote:

"Sorry, Mr. Campello, but even Galleries columnists get a vacation now and then.

Eugene Robinson
Assistant Managing Editor -- Style
The Washington Post"
So I have written back:
"Dear Mr. Robinson,

Thank you for your note - I know that you are a busy man and I appreciate your time, and I am sure that their vacations are well deserved. By the way, I quite enjoyed and learned a lot from Coal to Cream and have in fact used it as an inspiration for some of my artwork. I am currently reading Last Dance in Havana. I strongly recommend that you may enjoy Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy -- by Carlos Eire.

Back to my original point.

Theater critics also deserve a vacation now and then, and there has never ever been a week in the Washington Post (at least in my memory) without a theatre review. Why? Because the Post does a wonderful job of covering our area theatres and has a good number of writers to cover our area theatres - if one or two of them go on vacation in August, there's always someone else to ensure that a review keeps the theatre scene alive and kicking in our region. A highly deserved well done for that!

There are three times as many art galleries in the Washington area as there are theatres, but in my prejudiced opinion (which has been expressed many times to John Pancake, a man that I respect and admire), the Washington Post does not view our area galleries in the same perspective as theatre, movies and performance.

Until recently you had only one critic (Jessica Dawson) to cover all the area galleries - the addition of Glenn Dixon dumfounded many of us who knew of his past disdain for DC art galleries (his column "Beneath Contempt" while he was editor of the City Paper is still infamously remembered) - but at least a second voice was added to cover our galleries and we applauded and welcomed Dixon to the column.

And thus my utter disbelief when today I open my paper and expect to read a review of a gallery show from the nearly 200 shows currently on exhibit in our region, and instead find a theatre review and a music review - thank you for those - but no "Galleries" column.

Therefore my frustration with your coverage and my note to you.

I thank you for your time and hope that I clarified the issue for you.

Warm regards,


Thursday is supposed to be the day that the Washington Post reviews our area galleries. Nothing shows the Post complete apathy towards that subject as when a Thursday comes by (like today) and there's no "Galleries" column.

It is especially galling now that the paper has two freelancers (Jessica Dawson and Glenn Dixon) covering the region's gallery circuit. Why then are there still Thursdays when the only regular gallery column by the world's second most influential newspaper is simply not there?

It is such a huge show of disrespect for the Post's readers, and for the region's artists, art collectors and art galleries, made even more galling by the fact that today's Style section still managed to include a theater review of The King and I and a music review of Jesse Henry, so print space was not the reason.

If this pisses you off as much as it always does me, then drop an email on the subject to the Style Editor (Gene Robinson) at, and info the Arts Editor (John Pancake) at and the Ombudsman (Michael Getler) at

I'll be in Baltimore later today selecting the award winners for the All Media Competition that is opening tonight at Gallery International. See you at the reception tonight!