A few more quick responses to NYMagazine’s head critic Jerry Saltz, who generally holds more sympathy than most towards the New Museum’s rather complex web of insider relationships. He breaks those down as follows:
[Dakis] Joannou, a New Museum trustee, is friendly with Lisa Phillips, the museum's director. Her curator, Massimiliano Gioni, has worked previously with Joannou, and he oversaw the current three-floor Urs Fischer show. [Editor’s note: Gioni is also apparently close with Joannou and they speak weekly]. Urs Fischer has curated shows for Joannou; Joannou also owns a good deal of Fischer's work. Fischer's art dealer is Gavin Brown, who also represents Elizabeth Peyton, Jeremy Deller, and Steven Shearer, all four of whom have had solo shows at the New Museum since it re-opened less than two years ago.
Let’s face it, that doesn’t look great for the museum. It’s not a great idea to be so closely associated with one commercial gallery. I don’t find single collection shows particularly problematic, mind you — I liked Sensations at The Brooklyn Museum nine years ago and was glad I had a chance to see it — but all these ties to one collector who is also a trustee make me nervous. That’s a lot of control over curatorial direction.
In any event, both former New Museum curator Dan Cameron and Jerry Saltz seem to find Jeff Koons’ slated curation of Dakis Joannou’s collection the most egregious problem. I haven’t been working in the art world as long as either of them — what do they know that I don’t?