From Kriston Capps in 2005:
"It's bitchy of me to say— and I don't know the extent to which Lenny Campello of DC Art News contributes or what Cyndi Spain [the DCist Arts Editor] has to say on the subject— but I twitch whenever I see a feature with Lenny's name attached on DCist about work on display at the gallery he operates. I don't doubt the conviction Lenny clearly feels about the art he represents or enjoys, and I don't think that it's unreasonable that he writes about artists he represents on his own blog. But you really can't don the critic's cap when you're a producer in the community."Back then three years ago I didn't think that Capps was right, but just in case I quit immediately contributing gallery openings information ( which is the only data and info that I ever contributed) to DCist.
But now Washington City Paper art critic and many other outlets' contributor Kriston Capps has become a "producer" himself when he curates the current show at Project 4 in DC.
Will I twitch now or whenever I see a future Project 4 feature in the Washington City Paper or any of the other freelance outlets that Capps writes for?
I don't think so, because inside me I think that those outlets, like DCist was in 2005, and it is now, know how to separate themselves from unethical procedures. And because Project 4 is a terrific gallery in the DC art scene and deserves attention. And I sort of hoped that Capps would have had the same "inside me" feeling about the data that I was contributing to DCist back then... but he didn't and perhaps rightly so, lowered the ethical limbo pole for "art producers" who are also art critics or writers.
Inside me, I know this is not 100% the case, and that the art universe has plenty of room for critics who want to be curators and vice versa. And it is not Project 4's fault or the WCP's, or any of the other places that print Capps' eloquent words, that this unwarranted ethical attention has been brought onto to them by Capps' actions, as it wasn't DCist's faults that the unethical spotlight caused by my gallery openings contributions was focused onto them in 2005 by Capps.
But words count, and we Cubans tend to have long memories, and I recall being pointed out for something that was almost smelling unethical in Capps' words, without the courage to say so, and so I took the high road and quit contributing to DCist.
Not writing reviews for DCist -- mind you... I never wrote a review for DCist as some less than accurate bloggers erroneously reported -- but just being associated with DCist at all... just in case Capps' ethical testing strip might have a tiny chance of being right...
But now I think that it is time to throw a stone at that Kristonian ethical glasshouse, and put Kriston to the same limbo test that he put me three years ago when he was not a "producer" as he is now as a curator for a gallery show in the city where several of the freelance outlets that he writes for... ahhh... cover.
"It's bitchy of me to say — and I don't know the extent to which Kriston Capps contributes or what Mark Athitakis [the Washington City Paper Arts Editor] has to say on the subject — but I twitch whenever I see a feature in the City Paper about work on display at the gallery that employed Kriston as a curator. I don't doubt the conviction Kriston clearly feels about the art he curates or enjoys, and I don't think that it's unreasonable that he writes about artists [that] he curates on his own blog. But you really can't don the critic's cap when you're a producer in the community."I was never, ever a critic for DCist.
Thus, if it was an issue for me to contribute multi-gallery opening data to DCist while being an art "producer," then it definitely is an issue for Capps to contribute to the City Paper or his other art writing outlets that may cover the District, as a writer... while now being a commercial gallery curator, which falls neatly into the set of "producer."
And please do not try to justify it as curators are not producers.
What is the solution?
Sounds like it would make a great topic for discussion at an art panel or over a few beers.... first round on me.
DCAC? AU? AAC?