Friday, March 27, 2015

In defense of Jessica Dawson

Yesterday I noted the mess that former WaPo art critic Jessica Dawson is in due to her recent review of an African-American artist, where she's being accused of being a racist.

Jessica Dawson is not a racist. Her art criticism is almost always negative, often offensive, very snarky and she's unable to give an artistic positive compliment without doing it in a backhanded manner. That, unfortunately for the DC area artists whom she used to review in the Washington Post for years, is a known fact (see here for my empirical evidence). She was once even kicked out of a DC gallery and prohibited from ever entering again! 

This critic is one who, when she departed the Post, noted that over the years she "wised up and recognized that there are kinder ways of saying "shape up" than likening art to "a dental hygienist scaling your tartar with a metal pick."

I seem to also recall when she once compared someone's artwork to "looking at a fat lady's butt" ... 

DC artists will also tell you that she hates realism... She once wrote: "Anyone in the art world will tell you: Realism has been done. Remember those cave painters back in 15,000 B.C.? Could those guys render a bison or what?" 

Her Art History background and depth of knowledge was also questioned often, as a few of her reviews had jaw-dropping art history errors... But a racist? Not a chance... She's simply an equal opportunity Debbie Downer art scribe, and I will always defend, even as I may disagree, for her right to write a negative art review about anyone, regardless of race, and in this case, I think that Jillian Steinhauer is not only showing her youth, but also her formation, and unfortunately using the "race card" in the wrong place, something that she's probably learned due to the ubiquitous use of that card by nearly everyone these days.

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