In the third change at the top in little more than as many years, Brant Publications today named respected art market journalist Lindsay Pollock its new Editor-in-Chief.
The author of an authorized biography of art dealer Edith Halpert, The Girl with the Gallery (2006), Pollock covered the arts at Bloomberg News since 2005, and had hitherto reported on the art world for the New York Sun and for The Art Newspaper. In August 2009 she launched what fast became a highly authoritative blog, Art Market Views.
Pollock replaces Marcia Vetrocq after a brief tenure; Vetrocq, formerly a senior editor at the publication, in turn succeeded the redoubtable Elizabeth C. (Betsy) Baker, a protégé of veteran Art News editor Thomas B. Hess . Baker steered Art in America for 34 years until she was let go in 2008 shortly after Peter Brant resumed direction of Brant Publications after acquiring the 50% share of his co-owner and ex-wife, Sandra Brant. At the same time Ingrid Sischy also departed from Interview magazine, the Andy Warhol creation and Art in America’s sister publication. With Peter Brant’s reentry as publisher, Fabien Baron and Glenn O’Brien were entrusted with “editorial direction” above the heads of the named editors of both titles, a shake-up role that proved short-lived.
Under Baker, Art in America secured a place for itself as a thorough, scholarly yet accessible journal devoted, despite its name, to art of broad geographical and historical scope. That said, back-of-the-book reviews gave emphasis to contemporary art in New York City. Art world news and market reporting were succinctly confined to opening and closing pages of the publication. Despite changes signaled by a new design, editorially much remained the same under Vetrocq with the exception of the introduction of more interviews and a named column for celebrated critic Dave Hickey.
David Cohen, publisher and editor of artcritical.com, comments on Lindsay Pollock’s appointment:
I have been a huge fan of Lindsay Pollock since serving alongside her at the New York Sun. She is an exceptional reporter. On the other hand, her appointment is a surprise. Had she been given the top spot at, say, The Art Newspaper I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. But this signals a determination to change the nature of Art in America by its publishers.
Of the big three art magazines in the US, Art in America, Artforum and ArtNews, Art in America is positioned in the middle in editorial tone and market share alike. It contrasted with Artforum, which recently also appointed a young editor in Michelle Kuo, in its broader spectrum of coverage, being less obsessed than Artforum with ideas of what is hip or avantgarde; and it takes less interest than Art News in the “trade” aspects of art dealing and collecting.
Pollock’s appointment is bound to unsettle that status quo, or at least, in view of her qualifications, indicates a desire to do so by Brant Publications. If Lindsay has aesthetic or creative interests in art they have been well hidden, so far in her young career, behind overriding concerns with personalities, prices and art world politics. As such it is impossible not to fear a Gradgrindian future for Art in America.print