The conflict of interest plight moves on. I personally prefer passion to objectivity. But then again, I do not really believe in the latter. Because everyone has favorites. Everyone has some semblance of style or taste running through their veins and character. Consistently taking no stand or no side is not only fairly impossible, it’s also really dull.
Not to say you can’t “report” things. But even when you do, don’t tell me you’re not ever hating or loving what you report on. Don’t tell me that sometimes, well, sure it’s your job but when it comes to this show/artist/venue, you really don’t give a shit. ‘Cause it shows.
- Unless of course you very much do. Maybe you’d even like to sleep with your subject! Shit happens!
I’m thinking about this as I just read another post about it, this time on Regina Hackett’s blog. She has, for 2008, some “simple guidelines” for critics:
1. Don't be a dealer or run an art fair.
2. Don't take gifts.
3. Don't sleep with artists.
4. Don't favor friends or snub enemies.
The first sounds reasonable, but the rest will never be all that well-policed, especially the last. People snub and favor all the time. Did someone say the art world was kind? I don’t even know if it is sane half the time.
The ultimate role model for me is still Alfred Steiglitz. He wrote about artists, curated artists, published artists, was an artist – a quadruple threat (at least). And he slept with artists. He even took photographs of artists he slept with naked - which he would show, sell, publish, promote. Not just the photographs but the work of the naked artist too.
It must have been extremely difficult and messy for everyone involved, but I’m so glad no one called him out to stop any of it. Of course you could say that there is more at stake now. Even so, I don’t know what’s bigger than Steiglitz.