The Los Angeles Times lost someone valuable n June 28. The publication laid off its only full time art reporter, Jori Finkel. After she was let go, The Hammer Museum and fifteen museum directors wrote a letter to L.A. Times, who is currently facing financial problems. The letter requested that the publication reinstate Finkel because of the importance the arts has on the publication's health.
William Powhida tweeted a link yesterday leading to a petition that has already been backed by 800 supporters. Even John Baldessari signed the petition, saying, ”She offers the only art reportage in L.A. It’s a gigantic loss.”
We have included an excerpt from the petition, which is written to towards Mr. Davan Maharaj, current Editor of the Los Angeles Times:
Jori is the go-to source here for art-world news and analysis, with articles that are consistently insightful and accessible and a byline that is read around the world. Her early coverage in 2011 of the Getty’s ambitious $10-million Pacific Standard Time initiative and the many collaborating museum exhibitions helped to shape much of the national and international coverage that followed … Jori’s work and that of the critics go hand-in-hand to provide a sophisticated and robust picture of Los Angeles’s ever-expanding art scene.
It is especially unfortunate to see you dismiss your only staff reporter specializing in art now that Los Angeles is increasingly recognized worldwide as the most influential center for contemporary art and culture. For instance, just as she was being laid off, the New York Times dedicated nearly three full pages to L.A.’s significance within the international art world. Without a dedicated art reporter the competitive positioning of the paper is seriously undermined.