Dave Hickey to Art World, Via Guardian: “I Quit”

The Guardian (UK) two days ago published this article in which critic Dave Hickey recites the reasons he  is quitting the writing of criticism (being held “hostage to rich collectors,” chief among them.) Visit here.

Hickey authored The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty, curated Beau Monde: Toward A Redeemed Cosmopolitanism (the fourth SITE Santa Fe biennial, held in 2001), and used to write terrific short essays for the late and lamented Art Issues Press (which published The Invisible Dragon and Art issues magazine, from Los Angeles). He has also won a MacArthur award. He has been living in New Mexico of late, where Libby Lumpkin, the professor and critic and Hickey’s wife, teaches at University of New Mexico art department. This New Mexico posting follows on Hickey and Lumpkin both teaching at University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), where Libby Lumpkin ran the University art museum while also consulting to collectors including billionaire Steve Wynn, chiefly as advisor on his art collection for the Bellagio hotel.

Dave Hickey and Libby Lumpkin as shown in the Las Vegas Sun in 2010

No mention is made in the Guardian article of Hickey’s curating or the cost of curating the SITE 2001 Beau Monde biennial, which according to reports reached $1 million and included visually arresting rooms such as an unforgettable one in which paintings by Ellsworth Kelly and ceramic sculptures by Ken Price talked amongst themselves. A painting by Bridget Riley and a video by Jennifer Steinkamp greeted viewers entering SITE for the biennial. Alexis Smith produced an installation that included a sunset-striped carpet. And Josiah McIlheny’s all-white homage to Adolf Loos’s American bar in Vienna made its Rockies debut (for absolute sure and certain).

As a writer, Hickey will finish work on his book, Pagan America, he says. For a quick jump to the 92 comments now up accompanying The Guardian story, click here.

As to my  sense of this, I am late posting because I was attending a fantastic JAWS (Journalism and Women Symposium) Camp in Albuquerque this weekend, in which women journalists got to do a lot of peer-mentoring, listen to fantastic talks by Keesha Gaskins and Gloria Steinem and many others, and craft new-world alternatives to the notion that journalism (or, in this analogy, the art world)  is a macro-power and monolith. More on this later.

The power lies with us to change things.



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