Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Snobby New York Art Critic Scowls on St. Louis; Taxpayer-Funded Trip Wasn't Good Enough

Posted By on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge THE NEW WING OF THE SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM | RFT PHOTO
  • The new wing of the Saint Louis Art Museum | RFT photo

Close your eyes for a moment and picture the snobbiest art critic possible. Got it? Good. Now somehow make that person ten times douchier than you imagined, and you still won't arrive at anyone quite as pretentious as Michael Wilson.

A freelance art critic from New York, Wilson hires himself out -- according to his website -- for "appropriate writing and editing projects." And last month Wilson must have thought he landed just such an assignment when the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission paid to bring him to town to witness the city's art scene and the unveiling of the new wing of the Saint Louis Art Museum.

The trip, Wilson will have you know, disappointed.

See also: -Top 10 Reasons Transplants Criticize St. Louis - Rebuttal: 10 Reasons St. Louis Hates Outsiders

"Ah, the regional junket," Wilson merrily begins his review of St. Louis art and culture for Artforum magazine. "The prospect -- free room and board for a couple of nights in a novel location, a spot of local sightseeing (art-world and otherwise), an exhibition or opening or event devoid of the usual suspects -- is always so appealing. And yet..."

So, what are Wilson's complaints about his free trip ($317 in airfare and $218 in hotel expenses) courtesy of the tax-supported CVC? We've boiled them down to the following six gripes:

1. The weather.

We imagine Michael Wilson as Dan Aykroyd's "bad art" critic, Leonard Pinth-Garnell. - IMAGE VIA VIMEO
  • Image via Vimeo
  • We imagine Michael Wilson as Dan Aykroyd's "bad art" critic, Leonard Pinth-Garnell.

Wilson's initial flight to St. Louis got canceled because of thunderstorms, which totally "scuppered" his privilege of being wined and dined. He writes:

"A tidy plan to leave New York just before Friday teatime and arrive in Saint Louis for early evening cocktails at Laumeier Sculpture Park was scuppered by wild weather that necessitated a later departure and a frantic transfer in Dallas. Landing closer to midnight, I found my driver, headed for the hotel, checked in, and checked out."
2. The Cheshire will not do for Michael Wilson.

click to enlarge LARS KAPSER ON FLICKR
  • Lars Kapser on Flickr

So, what did Wilson think of The Cheshire, where the CVC paid $109 per night to house him for two days?

Not much. In his review for Artforum, he faults the hotel for the tiniest of grammatical errors found in its brochure and suggests the newly remodeled lodge is slightly better than a flophouse. He writes:

"Dodgy grammar and ill-advised nomenclature notwithstanding, the mock-Tudor facility had apparently been designated officially historic, a reward for having survived unnumbered stag parties and family getaways since as far back as the mid-1950s."

OK, well, surely his trip will get better, right?

Wrong.

Continue for Wilson's thoughts regarding other St. Louis institutions. Spoiler alert: He is not impressed.

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