May 24 2011 12:38 PM

Bob Pincus on artist Ai Weiwei, the 'criticism drought' and more

Sitting in Solidarity: Bob Pincus (right) and Kinsee Morlan

Last Friday from 11 a.m to noon, I sat in a chair next to longtime San Diego art critic Bob Pincus in the Sitting in Solidarity protest at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD).

I figured, while we were there protesting the detainment of Chinese artist Ai Weiei, I'd pull out my mic and record a conversation with Pincus, whom I consider a walking, talking encyclopedia when it comes to the San Diego art scene. ---

Pincus covered art and books for the Union-Tribune for decades until he was laid off last year. He's currently on staff at MCASD as the senior grants and art writer. While seated in the wooden chairs set up near the entryway at the museum's downtown gallery, Pincus and I chatted about Ai and how the Chinese government's attempt to silence the artist has only brought him even more attention.

We went on to discuss the current state of art criticism in San Diego. I mentioned that I've been taking some heat lately from artists who feel like no one's doing any art criticism anymore. Arts reporting/blogging is important, Pincus said, but we both agreed that there are very few people out there offering up their opinion on local art these days.

"I think we're in a criticism drought right now," he said.

We wrapped things up with a little mini review of the Jennifer Steinkamp installation currently showing at MCASD and a mention of the upcoming High Fidelity exhibition, opening at MCASD's La Jolla location this week.

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