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May 15, 2006

A podium in the press


Following up on Terry's last posting, I would be curious to know to what extent arts editors these days actually do "encourage artists to write for their publications as much as possible." That's a dandy idea. I don't see that happening in New York.

It used to be that when people like Harold Clurman and George Gershwin had something important to say, their most conspicuous and useful podium -- a spur to constructive public dialogue -- was the Times' Arts and Leisure section. (Gershwin, eg, wrote a long and now-famous piece defending "Porgy and Bess" vs. various criticisms in the press.) You don't see that any more. And I would go so far as to speculate that the people who edit Arts and Leisure aren't aware that this was once completely uncontroversial.

Posted by at May 15, 2006 8:49 PM


Indeed, one might put together a hugely stimulating anthology out of the many pieces written for the Times over the years by artists: composers, playwrights, directors, novelists, performers. So far as I know, no one's ever considered editing such a book (which in and of itself speaks volumes).

Posted by: Terry Teachout at May 15, 2006 8:53 PM

So, here's an interesting question:

Where are the arts editors, who are presumably reading this?

Posted by: George Hunka at May 15, 2006 9:37 PM

Yes, I've noticed those Clurman columns. The Times practically let him use the paper as his platform for not only promoting, but explaining the Group Theatre.

Leafing through those old Arts sections, you get the sense of such lively debate.

Nowadays, the Times clearly sees such debate as a threat. If an artist wants to respond to a Times review, they have to take it to a fringe publication.
Or, of course, to the internet...

Posted by: Playgoer at May 16, 2006 8:43 AM

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