Earlier today I posted the news that Robert Pincus, the Union-Tribune’s former longtime art critic, will start work at the end of the month fundraising and writing grant proposals for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. I was curious whether this marked a departure from art journalism or whether he’d still write for national publications.
I caught him on the phone for a few minutes this afternoon. The jobs are obviously very different: Working full-time for one museum instead of roving the county as an autonomous observer of art.
“My feeling is, I’ll take a hiatus from doing the art journalism and just figure out, as time goes on, what I can and can’t do,” he said.
But his new duties, including writing grants for the museum, will allow him to exercise his writing muscles: “I still see myself as someone who is an arts writer. You never lose the passion or the interest.”
Pincus has also spoken publicly about his passion for the journalistic ideals of art criticism: A writer with artistic education and credentials interpreting, appraising and analyzing the art that is produced here. Some of those ideals he shared in this comment thread. A few local universities had talked about putting some money together to host a combined regional art critic and teacher’s position, but that hypothetical setup seems a long way down the road, Pincus said.
I asked him if he was sad to leave journalism, even for the time being.
“I don’t feel sad because I feel like it’s a wonderful opportunity to work at a museum that I have always admired,” he said.
But he hasn’t changed his mind about what he thinks San Diego County needs.
“I still think there’s a vacuum here in terms of art criticism that needs to be filled. That remains,” he said.