Monday, July 20, 2009

Speaking of Art

This morning I was listening to a podcast episode of Fresh Air which aired last July 8, 2009.  This episode ended with a review of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston's exhibit "Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese:  Rivals in Renaissance Venice".  Lloyd Schwartz, classical music editor for The Boston Pheonix, presented an interesting and well described review, but I almost couldn't absorb it because my mind was dwelling on the odd occurrence it represented.  An episode of Fresh Air will typically end with a 5-10 minute review from one of  a handful of contributors which focuses on music, books or film or television.  I don't know the last time I heard a review of visual art on the program - if ever.  I listen to a couple of art specific podcasts to get my fix on the subject, and there are few of them out there, but it's no secret that the level of visual art content in broad based media is virtually null, and shrinking.  WNYC does pretty well in covering visual art in that it's not so rare to have the topic of visual art come up on one program or another, and an occasional bone is thrown by Sunday Morning on CBS.  Even our local WAMC would at one point regularly included an audio version of Beth Wilson's art reviews in Chronogram.  I imagine they may still do the same for her replacement, and they do give coverage to regional art happenings (although I must say, I simply can't stomach most of the station's original programming...I can appreciated what they're aiming to do - I just have a hard time listening to it.)  
Is the subject of visual art really so moribund, of such marginal interest that it doesn't make the cut on a NPR program, like Fresh Air, that regularly covers other aspects of "culture"?  Schwartz's segment was very listenable and well presented, and I appreciate the turn of his gaze   I encourage the program to include more such reviews in its rotation, and propigate a manner of speaking about visual art in an intellegent way just as it does with other disciplines.  There's certainly a bevy of capable art reviewers all around the country who've got more free time on their hands these days.

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