New LA Weekly editor Drex Heikes poised to dumb-down art crit

Critic Christopher Miles had his first solo show of 16 oversize �Noggins,� glazed stoneware heads mounted on stainless steel poles (all 2010), at Acme in Los Angeles

According to Jori Finkel at the LA Times, critics Doug Harvey and Christopher Miles, both known for a lively sort of intellectual brinksmanship in their writing (and for curating and making art on the side)will no longer be writing for the LA Weekly. “Miles, who has written for the Weekly for five years (and has also contributed to the Los Angeles Times), says he had been on hiatus for a few months to pursue other projects but ‘had plans with (former editor) Tom Christie  to start publishing regularly again in December. After his departure, I attempted to contact the publishers of the Weekly and haven’t heard back. I don’t take it to be a good sign.’

“Harvey, who freelanced for the Weekly for 13 years and served as its lead art critic for much of that time, says his situation is clear:  He will not be writing for the paper. ‘They don’t want me,’ he says, explaining that his last article — a review of the William Eggleston exhibition at LACMA that had been greenlighted by Christie — was not accepted for publication by new Weekly editor Drex Heikes.

“‘Drex wanted me to completely rewrite it in a simplified fashion,’ says Harvey. ‘He was pretty dismissive of it — said it was academic and ‘rough sledding.’ After responding that he hadn’t budgeted the time for a rehaul and suggesting that the piece be run more or less as is, Harvey received an e-mail from Heikes saying: This seems like a good time, with Tom’s departure, to end the relationship with the Weekly.’

‘Tom was a terrific editor and a great wordsmith with a deep knowledge of the art scene in town,’ says Heikes. “But he�s no longer here, so we�re looking to go in a little different direction. We want to bring in new writers. We want critics who are accessible, not academic at all. That’s a key thing for me….Both Doug and Chris Miles are brilliant,’ he adds. �There are other writers who write well but have far less to say.'”

Revisiting some of Doug Harvey’s reviews:

John Baldessari’s Pure Beauty: In LA through Sept. 12, then NYC in October

Reassessing Mercedes Matter

Saul, Brown, and Shaw: Invoking creative craftsmanship over formulaic novelty

Doug Harvey’s untidy whatever

Revisiting some of Christopher Miles’s reviews:

Christopher Miles: The onslaught of everyday life

Lari Pittman: Addressing, redressing and undressing

Mark Grotjahn’s personal code

Heather Brown: Cartoonish, but carefully observant

Tomory Dodge turns viscous brushwork into levitating clutter


  1. A cautionary word to Dex,

    Karma is an �evil bitch�, and it is my promise as a seer, that you will taste her bitter, heated wrath some long forgotten day�

  2. Dumbing down and Drux Heikis are redundant concepts.

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