Sunday, July 08, 2012

Uninformed art critic turns into misinformed opinionist

As someone who resolutely avoids the commercial side of the art world whenever possible and prefers to focus on the artwork itself, my impression of art fairs comes largely from written accounts. Fairs in places like Basel, Switzerland, Miami Beach and New York City have been represented as typically glitzy affairs in which most of the best work sells out during exclusive previews and to which the unwashed public is invited as a kind of afterthought. The idea of bringing this kind of art culture to Buffalo initially struck me, to put it nicely, as unexciting.

But judging only by a walk-through of the fair and of Larkinville Saturday morning, this sort of elitist vibe does not surface in Echo in any way. And while a typical complaint from attendees and exhibitors at other fairs is that they do not provide an ideal place to see or understand work, I found Echo to be a pretty extraordinary one.
This sort of initial misinformation/impressions - largely driven by ignorance - astounds me... how can someone be the art critic for a major city newspaper (we're talking Buffalo here; the second largest city in New York state!) and still has not been to an art fair in 2012!

He lives in New York state! A few hours away from the second largest epicenter of art fairs on the planet!

But more importantly for his readers, how can someone be a newspaper's art critic and still "resolutely avoids the commercial side of the art world whenever possible."

Yikes! And all along here we thought that Blake Gopnik was the only art critic who did that!

And where does that "typical complaint" come from? First heard for me...
Nearly everyone there... was extremely approachable and willing to talk to visitors about their work. That's something you don't get in many galleries...
 What??? Where does this gent get those impressions from? The 1990s?

There's more intellectual disservice to this Buffalo News readers in this article by  Colin Dabkowski and zero actual art review/criticism in the column... maybe I'm missing something, but his title is "Art Critic."

Makes my head hurt... Buffalo News, please send this guy down to NYC or Miami for the next cycle of art fairs so that he can open his eyes a little wider shut.