WaPo Job Posting for Art Critic
From: Jennifer CrandellInteresting that three different friends at the WaPo managed to send me this within minutes of it being sent...
Sent: 01/12/2011 05:53 PM EST
To: NEWS - All Newsroom
Subject: Job Posting: Art Critic
The Washington Post is looking for an outstanding visual art critic. This position requires a deep and ranging knowledge of art, a passion for it and an ability to convey that expertise to readers in an exciting and accessible way. The critic will be charged with reviewing the important Washington shows, and staying abreast of innovations and shifts in the arts scene nationally and in a city that treasures the arts, and has more museums than almost any other major metropolitan area. This is a high-profile, nationally recognized platform for powerful arts journalism.
Boldness, imagination and a willingness to confront controversy are requisites. This job also requires an ability to report and write news about art on deadline, as well as develop a formidable Web presence. We want a person with vision and depth of thought to carry on the Post's long tradition of brilliant art criticism. Interested candidates should please contact Rich Leiby (x 7325) or Peter Perl (x6188) by Jan. 18.
A while back I told you that there were three scenarions for the replacement of Blake Gopnik and in order of probability the three scenarios are:
1. WaPo gets a replacement for Gopnik from "in-house" by filling the position with someone already in the employment of the WaPo.
2. WaPo contracts a local DMV writer to contribute museum reviews and he/she shares the load with Dawson, already a contracted freelancer.
3. WaPo hires an outsider art critic from another newspaper below the "newspaper food chain" from the WaPo (same as they did with Gopnik).
I also told you that scenario one is the most probable because it is the least costly to the WaPo. By replacing Gopnik with a critic already in the employ of the WaPo, salary negotiations are easier, and the WaPo saves on moving expenses as well as travel expenses in interviewing applicants from outside the area. It also makes the paperwork a lot easier and in the end the payroll is one less as no one has had to be hired in order to replace Gopnik. If this scenario is the principal one, then this would be good news for the DMV art scene, as the logical replacement for Gopnik would be O'Sullivan. And he is already well-versed in the DMV art scene, knows everyone and everyone knows him, and would just have to move his desk from Weekend to Style. Cost to the WaPo?: A well-deserved pay raise bump to O'Sullivan. Cost to O'Sullivan?: He may end up writing reviews for both Style and Weekend and doubling his work load (and thus his paycheck?). Or Weekend would hire a freelancer to do some random visual art reviews every couple of months or so. An interesting twist to this scenario would be if Style got Dr. Claudia Rousseau, who (a) writes for the Gazette, which is owned by the Post and thus already within the Post financial borg, and (b) comes with a respectable and award winning provenance for critical art writing derived from many years of writing about art (in Spanish) for Latin American newspapers and locally for the Gazette, (c) she is a respected college professor on the subject of art and art history, and (d) would add some highly needed diversity to the ranks of Style critics. This internal email seems to add some meat to my guessing that the Gopnikmeister's replacement might/will come from "inside" the WaPo Borg.
Scenario two is the next most probable because it ends with a couple of freelancers (not Post employees) sharing the Gopnik load for Style. That means they save on insurance, 401(k), etc. If scenario two is the one, then one of these guys/gals is the pool of DMV art critics and artsy writers (in no particular order): Jeffry Cudlin, Claudia Rousseau, Maura Judkis, John Anderson, Kriston Capps, Kevin Mellema, John Blee, JW Mahoney, Lou Jacobson (he'd only do photography reviews), etc. and maybe some of those random names that show up once in a while in the back of the magazine reviews in the national artzines. The top two choices?: Cudlin or Rousseau. They are both award winning critics, well-known and respected in the DMV and I'm somewhat sure that they'd be interested in the job. Because of Cudlin's superb performance as a curator at the AAC, Cudlin is a double threat for moving up the food chain in the better paid curatorial food chain, and maybe he's more interested in following that line, but he'd still make an excellent Gopnik-replacement local choice (but not sure if he could do both jobs at once). Rousseau's strong points are discussed in the previous scenario, and also make her a formidable choice (if she's interested in the job). Because of Cudlin's success as a curator, I think Jeffry is probably more in tune with moving up the curatorial food chain (are you listening Hirshhorn?) and thus advantage Rousseau.
Scenario three is the least likely because it is the most expensive and time intensive for the Post. The new hire would have to be lured away from another newspaper, and be hired as a Post employee with all rights and benefits. This seems a long shot in this financially austere environment where the WaPo is early-retiring and letting go people of left and right. Four wild assed guesses: Fabiola Santiago from the Miami Herald, Alan Artner from the Chicago Tribune, Robert Pincus (formerly of the San Diego Union-Tribune) and Regina Hackett (formerly of the Seattle P.I.). My heart would be with Regina.
Comments welcomed; I am sure that I skipped some potential names in scenario two.