Fine writing outside of music but still bearing on music.
Blake Gopnik: "Not a Lotta 'Terra Cotta'"
(Washington Post, December 1, 2009)
Along with New York's Jerry Saltz, Gopnik is the smartest, most thoughtful art critic around now, using reviews to tackle larger, weightier issues that transcend not just a particular exhibit or a genre, but the whole medium of the art world itself. Online for a D.C. exhibition, Gopnik wonders why we huddle around these types of exhibits. Not only does he come up with an answer for art shows, but he might also found a reason why we savor concerts too. "...why were we so happy to be there? It has something to do with an almost primal need for evidence, authenticity and aura. We can read at length about the things we care about -- we often do, for much longer than we'd ever spend in a museum -- but there comes a moment when we want to confront the evidence behind that knowledge, even if we've barely got the skills or time to decipher it."
(Stanford GSB News, June 2009)
Why being agreeable stops us from talking about esoteric things that could broaden others, and why consensus and popularity triumph over real achievement many times. Definitely something to keep in mind when picking subjects for articles.
Emily White: "The Dumbing Down of Dailies"
(City Arts, January 2009)
What happens when papers keep firing the art scribes who have years or decades of experience? All that accumulated wisdom is then lost to the readership, not to mention the artists who gain some recognition in their columns. Instead, papers just keep trimming and trimming and not always replacing these writers, even though, as White points out, museum goers outnumber sports attendance by a wide margin. No wonder that newspapers are in such a sorry state.