Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sticking together

There’s a sinking feeling I have since the RNC, and that’s that McCain might actually pull this off. Call me defeatist, perhaps.

If he actually does, I can only take solace in the fact that I’m a New Yorker and that is certainly not the same as being an American. My people are here, and I think they may be in the art world especially - as much as I despise aspects of that world.

Tribal? Yes.

So, I felt both like cheering and booing when I read Michael Kimmelman’s disdain for contemporary art in his New York Times analysis of the Met’s appointment of a new director.

Other museums these days have looked toward polished administrators or contemporary-art wheeler-dealers to raise money and deal with neophyte collectors. Since Philippe de Montebello announced his pending retirement, among the names bandied about in the art-world echo chamber for the longest time were a few lightning rods and contemporary-art favorites who, it was suggested, could provide useful connections to new money and links with living artists — so that the Met might become, as if it weren’t already, sufficiently “relevant.”

The chattering class was wrong as usual. […]

Bringing together cultures of the world for a global public is a moral undertaking and indispensable to civilization, and it must be defended on those grounds. At the same time, the last thing New York needs is another museum of contemporary art.

I can get on my high-horse too, Michael. But, these days, I'm choosing not to.

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