Apr 10, 2009

Embedded Critics

Via Playgoer, I came across this modest proposal from Douglas MacLennan:
Lots of arts organizations have blogs on their websites. Most aren't very good, and they're difficult to maintain well. There are many out-of-work critics. And less and less arts coverage in local press. So why not critics-in-residence?

...Of course there are big ethical issues. But art critics already write catalog essays for museums. Music critics write program notes. Newspapers take ads from arts organizations. Rules have been developed to define the ethics of each situation. Why couldn't there be a critic-in-residence protocol that helped promote intelligent discourse and didn't compromise the reader, the critic or the institution?

Some of my favorite people have crossed freely between making and writing about/commenting on art, and even between publicity and journalism. I mean, I guess that's a line I'm close to right now, working for TDF while hawking my wares as a freelancer. Indeed, I haven't been a full-time employee of an actual media company for nearly six years now. And though my economic situation has occasionally been better than that of many of the starving theater artists I cover, in recent years that has less frequently been the rule, and I've looked at certain nonprofit arts organizations, and the cool people who work there, with something approaching professional envy.

Of course, the ideal position for me would be some unholy hybrid of composer/music supervisor and critic/essayist. Not gonna quit the day job...

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