"I do not judge, I only chronicle."
John Singer Sargent
Some treasured news moments from the past:
May 2012: I made several multimedia projects and videos with the New York Times. This is the one I'm proudest of, created with the photographer Marcus Yam when we visited Walter Reed hospital with the illustrators of the Joe Bonham Project, who were drawing our wounded service members for posterity. It was created to go with my 2012 A&L Memorial Day cover story, "Portraits of War."
I started out in the early 1990s, writing a column on New York for Modern Painters, then based in London. Although I'd spent countless happy hours in museums since childhood, I knew almost nothing about the contemporary art world, so it was a trial by fire. Happily, I proved to have the proverbial "eye," as well as the ability to write about what I saw for a general-interest audience – a rare combination at the time.
Soon I was also writing for The Atlantic Monthly, where my subjects usually had a political or pop-cultural angle, then for the brand-new Time Out New York. To make sure I was up to speed on the art side of things, I began contributing to art magazines, including Artnews, Art in America, and Art + Auction – then known as the "art world bible" – where I was named a Contributing Editor in 2001.
Some of the places I'm proud to have written for since then include Slate, where I created the first slide show (on Surrealism); the "Review" section of the National, an English-language newspaper in Abu Dhabi, which began publishing great long-form cultural journalism just as opportunities elsewhere dried up; and the New York Times Arts & Leisure section, to which I contributed regularly for ten years.
Today, I'm probably best known for my writing in WSJ. magazine, as well as the The New York Times and its style magazine, T. My work can also be seen in 1stdibs Introspective, Departures, Art Basel Miami Beach, and ArtDesk, an up-and-coming biannual published by Oklahoma's Kirkpatrick Foundation. My work has appeared in many other places, too, including Town & Country, Vogue, Domino, New York, Bloomberg Muse, and Art & Antiques. I've also been a two-time USC Annenberg / Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, in 2007 and 2011.
Early on, I prided myself on being an "outsider" art critic. These days, I can't claim that status, but I still try to retain that perspective.
A few of my favorite stories:
Eastern Standards: Why do so many Arabs love Orientalist art? • May 8, 2002
Drop your narrow-minded Western preconceptions: 19th Century Orientalism is back, and some of its most avid collectors are Arabs.
Trading Places: Cultural property disputes are reshaping the art world – but how? • Slate, July 28, 2003
Everything you ever wanted to know about the laws pertaining to the repatriation of cultural property, in 1200 words with sidebars. I heard that museum directors passed this one around for years (including one who ended up in a notorious lawsuit).
Sketches From the Front: An Artist's Dispatches, Rendered in Ink and Paint • NYT, Dec. 13, 2004 • Arts cover story, reefered on A1
The story of Steve Mumford, a New York painter, who suddenly left for Iraq to cover the war – just like Winslow Homer.
Trendy Artists Pick Up an Old-Fashioned Habit • NYT, April 17, 2005, A&L cover story
This story about weekly life drawing sessions held in Will Cotton's studio boasted such a captivating combination – hot artists and nude models – that it made the most emailed list, sparked copycat stories, and won the group so much attention that it was forced underground for years.
Real Women Have Curves • NYT, Nov. 20, 2005
A heartbreaking conversation with two of Giacometti's models, a housewife who later became a Lacanian psychoanalyst, and the notorious demimondaine Caroline.
It's Costco, but Is It Picasso? Art Sale in Doubt • NYT, March 16, 2006, referred on A1
I had expected to discuss Costco's entry into the fine art business, and talk to some of their collectors; instead, I broke the news that their Picasso "originals" were fakes.
Hockney's Long Road Home • NYT, Oct. 18, 2009, A&L cover story
I spent two enchanted days with Hockney, visiting the subject of his latest paintings – the Yorkshire hills, dales and forests he roamed as a child.
With Sketchpads and Guns, Semper Fi • NYT, July 18, 2010, A&L cover story
Who knew the Marine Corps had such terrific combat artists, and that they'd be so fond of Gerhard Richter and Jean-Michel Basquiat?
Portraits of War • NYT, May 27, 2012, A&L cover story
For Veterans' Day, I paid an unforgettable visit to Walter Reed Hospital with the Joe Bonham Project, illustrators who are making portraits of our wounded service members for posterity. This story was accompanied by a wonderful video, Drawing Warriors.
Saving Modernism in Cape Cod • WSJ., May 31, 2014
Tromping around Cape Cod to see modernist vacation homes built by architects like Marcel Breuer, Gyorky Kepes, and Serge Chermayeff – and doing it all in February in 18 inches of snow–was a fabulous adventure.
Gerhard Richter’s Brush With Greatness • WSJ., June 25, 2016
A rare interview with Gerhard Richter--aka, the world's greatest--and priciest--living painter. I believe this is also the most extensive profile written by a woman.
I love taking pictures (and having pictures taken of me), so I love Instagram. You might not see only art here, but you'll see a lot of the other things that interest me, like food, my apartment, and my friends. (If you were my Facebook friend you'd probably see a lot about politics, as well as all these Instagram pictures.)