In this episode of “Criticism in Conversation”, two art critics and historians discuss “conflict of interest” in contemporary art criticism. Tyler Green, the host of the popular Modern Art Notes Podcast and Catherine G. Wagley, a critic who regularly publishes with artnet News, the LA Review of Books, and Momus, frame the stakes and risks of a critic writing on contemporary – and even historical – figures in art, especially in light of the market’s increasingly firm grip on our discourse. We can hear them debate the most ethical approach to navigating nepotism, allyship, and critical distance in contemporary art writing. And as a centerpiece to this discussion, they cite the recent example of an art historian outing two leading art publications for acquiescing to the control exercised by a leading gallery over the material published on its artists. In an artworld where conflict-of-interest is endemic and normalized, our attention should be heightened, especially regarding the powers that dictate the terms by which we critique, historicize, and debate.
Image: Nancy Spero, “The Dance,” 1993. Courtesy of Galerie Lelong.