Thursday, October 16, 2008
CARMEL CLOUDS… There’s trouble in paradise over at the Center for Photographic Art, the venerable institution originally established as the Friends of Photography by the likes of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Here’s the scoop: According to a Members Letter sent out by CFPA board president Chuck Davis on Aug. 21, it was “discovered that previously-substantial resources had been spent to the point that remaining funds would only keep the center’s doors open through the summer, unless serious changes were made.’’ Those changes began with offering the center’s long-time Executive Director Dennis High “a part-time consulting position– which was all the center could afford– in lieu of his prior full-time employment while the center rebuilt itself financially.’’
The letter goes on to say, euphemistically, that “Dennis chose to not accept the Board’s offer and no longer works with the Center.’’
As a result of the crunch, the center is now an all-volunteer organization. While board members and supporters work overtime– and gratis– to repair the damage from this situation, outreach continues to expand the base of donor and supporters to keep this historic institution moving forward. Squid hopes it will work. It’s too important an institution– to this area and to the international photographic community– to be allowed to fail, regardless of what has gone on in the past.
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT… The Monterey Museum of Art/La Mirada busted a move with its new show of works by photographer Angela Strassheim. Strassheim is a major artist and the Monterey museum’s chief curator, Marcelle Polednik, is to be commended for organizing the first solo museum show of the Minnesota-born shooter, who now lives in New York and trained as a forensic photographer.
All the more unfortunate, then, that two, count ’em, identical pieces on Strassheim’s work appeared in two, count ’em, local publications: the Herald and the Californian. Both were under the byline of Lisa Crawford Watson, who doubles as a publicist for the Museum (her name appears as press contact on the releases for the show.)
The appraisals (accurately) describe Strassheim as a “rising star on the national stage of contemporary art’’ and quote museum executive director Michael Whittington– without mentioning that Whittington also happens to be Watson’s boss. Squid wonders what they were thinking.
“One of the things that attracts me to any art form is ambiguity,” Watson quotes Whittington as saying. But this violation of Journalism 101 conflict of interest rules by the dailies seems pretty clear.