I’ll admit, I slacked in my museum visiting duties this week. I haven’t made it to a museum or a gallery because of a variety of reasons, but that’s my fault. So today I want to talk about the Arts and Leisure section of the New York Times. Now I’m not talking about the online newspaper, which I love looking at on an almost daily basis. I’m talking about the hard copy of the Sunday paper, what I grew up flipping through in hopes of finding the comic section while my parents read the real news.
In much the same way that I love reading from a real book and flipping physical pages, there is something in me that loves a news print and the way that the ink stains your fingers a little. That’s why when my friend picked up a copy of the New York Times today I instantly tore into the arts and leisure section. What I found, however, frustrated me as a former Art History major.
This Sunday’s Arts and Leisure section was a whopping 22 pages long, five full pages of which were ads for TV programs, theater shows, and music performances. That’s not including all of the ads that take up the extra space on a page with short articles. More frustrating for me was the actual lack of discussion on art. Of the remaining 17 pages, only one full page and a small column article focused on the fine arts. Every other article discusses theater, television shows, and music.
The full page article on art was about Anthony Hernandez, a photographer based in LA who recently became the subject of a retrospective at the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art. While much of the article discusses Hernandez’s art (as it should), what I found most interesting was SFMoMA’s decision to faze out their Photography specific galleries and begin to incorporate that media with painting and sculpture. This is a bold move within the art history (and perhaps even museum world) because photography has always been seen as an art form not quite on the same level as painters and sculptors. Photography was always so drastically different from painting and sculpture that it was never seen as appropriate to combine the medium.
I have never visited SFMoMA but I would absolutely love to see how their collection and display techniques change as they begin to blend photography into the rest of their collection. If done right, this decision could really enhance the art discussion that photography tends to capture the world as it actually is. It offers another dimension to the dialog of art at any given time and will be a huge asset in the understanding of modern art.
But back to the original purpose of this blog post, as interesting as this article was and it’s implications. I was highly disappointed by NYT’s lack of discussion on visual art. I had to flip to the last page of the section to find the article on Hernandez. I understand there is so much more offered online, and maybe this was just an odd week, but I want at least a slightly more equal use of print among the arts. The NYT discusses art all over the country (and there are definitely more than just two artists worth noting this week), so why is there really only one page devoted to such a discussion? Maybe next week will be different, but I, like so many millennials, will probably just look online.