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Traveling critic seeks art to review

By KEN GREENLEAF  |  September 16, 2010


In "60 wrd/min art critic," a performance event that has the feel of a triathlon, Lori Waxman, the Chicago Tribune art reviewer, will be coming to Portland to write short reviews for artists who wish to show her their work and get a piece written about it. The reviews will be posted at the performance site, with selections subsequently published in the Portland Phoenix, in print and online. (See below for signup times and information.)

Here’s how it works: For three days, at SPACE Gallery (538 Congress Street, Portland), Waxman will meet with every artist she can within the times set for the project, look at their work, and write the review of it. Twenty-five minutes will be allotted for each artist, with the review be written on the spot and available for people, including the artist, to see and pick up during the performance hours.

In addition, there will be a video screen that will display the review’s contents as it is being written, for the edification of interested spectators. With a couple dozen artists to write about, and 25 minutes to write each piece, it will be bravura performance indeed. It is rare for the artist, critic, artwork, and audience to occupy the same place while a review is being written. Criticism is, in general, a solitary enterprise that seems, perhaps, more mysterious than it really is. To undertake this project Waxman brings a considerable measure of both energy and nerve, and a desire to open the curtain that separates the critic from artist and readers.

And possibly performing a service. “I’m excited that Lori will be providing some feedback,” says Nat May, SPACE’s executive director. “There is little opportunity for public discourse for artists, and not a lot of critical writing. I think most artists are hungry for some sort of response.” They may not like what they get — Waxman doesn’t promise a positive review, and the nature of her enterprise doesn’t allow for much reflection.

Waxman has a Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. As well as writing regularly for the Tribune, she writes for Artforum and other publications including Modern Painters. Portland is one of the stops in a national tour for the “60 wrd/min art critic” project, funded in part by the Warhol Foundation. Other stops include Kansas City, Durham, Austin, Buffalo, Birmingham, and the Portland on the other coast.

"60 wrd/min art critic" | September 30 @ 11 am-1:30 pm & 2-5:30 pm; October 1 @ 2-4 pm & 6-8:30 pm; October 2 @ 11 am-1:30 pm & 3-5:30 pm | at SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St, Portland | reserve a 25-minute time slot by

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  Topics: This Just In , Museums, SPACE Gallery, SPACE Gallery,  More more >
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