Last week the New York Times ran a piece calling KCRW's Russian-accented art critic Edward Goldman highly influential and barely mentioned that in addition to teaching beginners how to collect he is also a corporate art consultant. Tyler Green of Modern Art Notes followed up with a blog post criticizing Goldman's dual role, writing "If you're going to be a critic, get out of the art market. If you're active in the art market, don't present yourself as a disinterested critic." Now today, Green posts that an unnamed gallery owner is steamed that after one of Goldman's students bought a piece, the critic called to demand a 25% commission on the sale. Green posts:
This gallery told me that there was no prior agreement with Goldman and that the standard elements of the consultant-dealer relationship were absent. Goldman did not handle billing or relations between the gallery and the collector. Instead, Goldman inserted himself only after the transaction was complete, essentially demanding a kickback for having brought the collector to the gallery as a part of his 'class.'
I tried to ask Goldman about this, but he failed to respond to several emails. KCRW general manager Ruth Seymour refused to talk to me (and thus did not know of this gallerist's allegation). She issued this statment through a spokesperson:
KCRW's policy for all its programmers is that if a DJ, commentator or critic benefits financially from the record or the subject that that he/she is playing or discussing --then the programmer must reveal that relationship on the air.
Edward Goldman has been KCRW's art critic for 20 years, speaking about the dynamic art scene that exists in Southern California. In all that time, KCRW has never received any information or complaint about impropriety or conflict of interest.
Edward is known to the galleries, the museums and the artists. His directness and frankness have at times ticked off the most powerful institutions, but he has been undeterred from speaking frankly and with passion in his reviews.
Edward is regarded -- justly, we believe -- as someone who not only loves art but has the ability to communicate his understanding and dedication to an audience.
Green says the gallery owner couldn't deny Goldman the payment "for fear of angering the critic."
* Seymour responds to LA Observed: "I don't respond to anonymous allegations, which could just as easily be made by someone who is angry about a bad review or about not being reviewed at all."