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Here’s to the Losers: LA Times Dumps Jori Finkel; Cleveland Museum Mourns Its Scuttled Sicily Show UPDATED

Both of these late-breaking developments are hard to swallow.

Jori Finkel's Twitter avatar

Jori Finkel’s Twitter portrait

The LA Times‘ ace arts reporter, Jori Finkel, whom I called “estimable” while she was writing for the NY Times and whose reliable, informed and comprehensive reports I’ve cited repeatedly since she moved to the West Coast, has been laid off by the financially strapped Los Angeles newspaper.

In an unprecedented show of museum support for a cultural journalist, directors of 15 California museums (including the Getty’s Jim Cuno and Timothy Potts, LACMA’s Michael Govan and LA MOCA’s Jeffrey Deitch) have signed a letter calling for Finkel’s reinstatement. This missive has now been reproduced in full on a Change.org petition to Davan Maharaj, the LA Times’ editor. It was posted late this afternoon by the Hammer Museum’s Ann Philbin and, at this writing, has been signed by 245 (and growing) Finkel aficionados.

UPDATE: At the rate it’s going (570 supporters as of 7:46 p.m., LA time),  “rehire Jori” petition should achieve its goal of 1,000 signatories and then some. I’ve signed it, but have mixed feelings about doing so: I believe (wishful thinking?) that Finkel may be destined for equal or better gigs.

The letter goes into great detail as to why “Jori is the go-to source here for artworld news and analysis, with articles that are consistently insightful and accessible and a byline that is read around the world.”

She’s always been a “go-to source’ for me.

If nothing else, the laudatory letter should boost Jori’s morale and will make a great attachment for her revamped résumé. I hope this turns out to be the start of even bigger and better things for this very talented journalist.

And in other lamentable California news, the also estimable (and thankfully, still employed) Steven Litt of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Sicily has canceled not just the loan of two star objects, but the entire Cleveland showing of Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome, that was to travel from the Getty Museum to the Cleveland Museum, where it was to open on Sept. 29. According to Litt’s follow-up report, the Getty will now have to bear the entire cost for this show, which was to be shared with Cleveland.

So much for the mutually beneficial, collegial relationships (at least with Sicily) that former Getty Museum director Michael Brand had hoped to forge by his repatriation of 40 objects to the Italian state. Sicily has proved to be an unreliable partner.

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