A Tilted Review: Will the Real Artist Please Stand Up


The great thing about writing is that it allows almost anyone to express their views. The problem of course is that many times good writing can encompass erroneous information. Enter Martha Schwendener’s review of Richard Serra’s recent show at Gagosian.

As Donn Zaretsky rightly points out, Schwendener is entitled to her aesthetic opinion, but she’s way off on the facts. Let me just say that the Tilted Arc controversy not only produced numerous artistic, historical and legal documents that spawned a few art movements and exhibitions, such as Lauren van Haaften-Schick’s Canceled: Alternative Manifestations & Productive Failures, a documentary, Clara Weyergraf-Serra and Martha Buskirk’s seminal book, “The Destruction of Tilted Arc: Documents,” and another book. Tilted Arc was also a major reason for my interest in law, attending law school, and focusing in the area of art & law.

Greg Allen points out how Schwendener went off the rails, but he doesn’t go far enough. Mr. Allen and many in the so-called “art world” are quick to rise to the defense of well-known and blue chip artists (Richard Prince comes to mind), but where are they when other artists take up Serra’s artists’ rights torch? Think of Christoph Büchel against Mass MoCA and Patrick Cariou’s battle against Richard Prince (and these are just two).

It’s easy to be a bully’s friend or cheer for the Yankees by buying and wearing their garb. It’s another thing to have fought the bully or played the game, at whatever level. Let’s not forget that.

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