Lauren Smart and the Rise of the Fame Whore

In case you didn’t get a chance to read the article earlier this week in the Dallas Observer regarding Loris Gréaud and Lauren Smart, it went something like this: Art critic insults artist. Artist insults art critic. Art critic cries “sexism” publishing bits of the artist’s private emails in a paper, scandalous headline included, launching an all-out public smear campaign against the artist and passing the story on to other newspapers for republishing.

What may seem like a trivial spat between two disgruntled parties in one middle-American city that everyone will probably forget about in a few days’ time, I believe represents many of the greater problems plaguing society today. The conflict extends beyond the art world and into the realm of a digitized, feminist culture, where privacy, protection from cyberbullying, and personal responsibility all but cease to exist.

Whether or not you like Loris Gréaud’s exhibit, The Unplayed Notes Museum at the Dallas Contemporary, is not the point in this case. His opinions in those private emails may seem rude to some & hilarious to others, but what he writes nonetheless raises the question: Why did the Dallas Observer send such an inexperienced, “bored,” and apparently ill-informed art critic to review the exhibit of a renowned artist who has had installations at Palais de Tokyo, solo exhibitions at the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and worked with the likes of David Lynch, Sonic Youth, and Charlotte Rampling? It makes no sense.

Don’t we respect our artists enough here in Dallas to at least send someone with as equal or greater talent, expertise, & qualifications as the artist himself? When I read an art critique, I want to be educated and informed and enlightened. Lauren Smart’s “review” sounds like just another temperamental, self-entitled, adolescent Gen-Y/Millennial, b*tching about art not giving her as much instant gratification as her Facebook or Twitter news feeds. There are no well-informed points, no cultural references, no merit.. just a chip on her shoulder directed at the most convenient scapegoat. It’s lazy writing at best, immature at its worst, and frankly she seems lost. It’s so poorly written & drenched in cliché, in fact, that I am almost positive Gréaud would have unleashed an equal amount of rage on a male reviewer had he written the same elementary rubbish as she.

There is such a thing as a good bad review. Unfortunately, Smart misses the mark.

Her “review,” in a sense is written from the same childish mindset that Gréaud, whether consciously or unconsciously, so accurately reflects back onto her with his emails. His emails, in the end, are a mirror to Lauren Smart’s own ignorance. Which makes me wonder; was this all part of his plan?

The fact that Lauren Smart goes on to publicly slam him for his spelling errors that were sent in a private email in his second language is equally disheartening, disturbing, & xenophobic. Do you speak a second language, Lauren Smart? Even worse, after her feelings are hurt by Gréaud’s email rant, she does what any hot-blooded working woman under duress should do, right? She plays the sexism card. She turns a simple, uncomfortable, work-email exchange into a male/female issue in the press all because she can’t take criticism. Ironic.

What type of precedent is this setting for young women in this country? That we can’t fight our own battles? That we have to air our dirty laundry and get the public to fight them for us? That any time we get a work email from someone that hurts our feelings and it’s a man, that we should pick out whatever we can in the writing that we can take out of context and call it misogyny, and then make it public, with a sensational headline of course, so that the world can validate us while we simultaneously attempt to destroy his reputation?

Gréaud’s emails said much more than, “go get laid,” but Lauren Smart doesn’t want you to know that. She wants to turn it around and make herself the victim, so she can feel validated for writing a lackluster article. Sorry Smart, you may have fooled your friends and fellow bloggers of the world, but you don’t fool me. Your desperate, self-indulgent tactics to get attention are an insult to the real female victims of the world, as well as a complete disregard for the principles of journalism. And that’s what this is about.

Onwards and upwards. Lauren Smart is not the first fame whore there ever was (ie. Taylor Lianne Chandler, Jackie the infamous UVA student who cried rape, V. Stiviano, the list could go on and on), and she certainly won’t be the last, just as Loris Gréaud is not the first artist to retaliate against a bad review, and certainly won’t be the last. But I hope that people who read or publish this nonsense can at least try to stop taking everything at face value and do a little research before snapping to quick judgements based on a hyped-up headline and that good old adrenaline rush that comes from cyberbullying celebrities.

Stop encouraging strong, intelligent, able-bodied women to act like victims for the sake of attention, validation, and retaliation. Stop condoning disgruntled journalist internet trolls who publish screen shots of private emails for a cheap shot at their own fifteen minutes of fame. Stop blindly jumping on the “sexism” bandwagon & consider first that some women take advantage of this trend in popular culture simply to further their own self-interest. Think first.

“Too often feminism relies upon heated rhetoric, stemming from invalid interpretations of events, fueled by pious emotion.”

In the end, while I can understand Gréaud’s emotional response to Lauren Smart’s haphazard, underwhelming, and largely unfounded dismissal of his life’s work, I agree that it may have been a lapse of judgement on his part to bother emailing her about it. Or was it? Because, in fact, that is exactly how I discovered him. So I’m happy 🙂

“Art advances by self-mutilation of the artist.” -Camille Paglia

“Contemporary feminism with its sanctimoniousness and its moral superiority, has deformed the proper mission of feminism by its hysteria over these issues.”

“Feminism has become a catch-all vegetable drawer where bunches of clingy sob sisters can store their moldy neuroses.”

“The dignity and freedom of women will not be achieved by overprotection of women. It will be achieved by women taking personal responsibility for themselves.”

“Current feminism is victim-centered & victim-obsessed. It sees history as nothing but this panorama of male oppression and female victimization.”

“Adopting victimization as the arena of choice for disputing the moral high ground is not the answer.”

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4 Comments

Filed under Art

4 responses to “Lauren Smart and the Rise of the Fame Whore

  1. Bill Davenport

    If there’s a Fame Whore in the room, it’s Gréaud. Smart’s review wasn’t too smart, but it was honest. Gréaud’s replies weren’t too honest, but they were surely smart.

  2. John

    Bravery that is more interested in art than controversy.

    It is at the very least ironic that some art critics in dallas have proved to be more destructive than the artist himself and in so doing… may have been co-opted into the work.

    Some, NOT ALL, but some Dallas journalists are focused on personalities and not art. I’m trying to understand why they are so critical of an institution for bringing to our community one of the few living artists ever to have simultaneous exhibitions at the Louvre and the Pompidao. Is that a bad thing ?

    Further to expect the museum and it’s director to foresee this kerfuffle seems bizarre.

    I thought it was a striking exhibition.

    It would be wonderful to see a critique with the kind of information we heard from the artist himself at the “chit-chat” Sunday following the opening. Information that could have informed readers in a way that intelligent critics bring to their reviews everyday. The why’s and where for’s, the “concepts” and “contemporary” issues the work engages. Well explained and then commented on.

    For example topics that could interest Dallas readers:

    1) Use of infrared equipment . Equipment created and employed to target and kill during combat is instead utilized to show people making love. An extra layer, the artist’s engagement of “pornographic actors” not to “do their job” but instead to truly try to make love. What a moving, layered and conceptual work. Asking us which is the more pornographic act?

    2) Paintings created in the same techniques and with the same materials that Da Vinci used to create his backgrounds. Work created through painstaking research that were both contemporary “modern” works, aesthetically pleasing and part of the “Natural History” of Art.

    3) Hands created for the exhibition by the foundry workers who cast much of the work. (The hand of the artist and yet not if you will) All workers were shown two examples of a hand, one in a defiant pose (think French Revolution) and another in a meditative relaxed position. Each was asked to make their own hand gesture. What we see is a result of these castings. Lots to mine on the significance of the hand in art history me thinks.

    There is a lot here to be discussed in a thoughtful way. Then like it or don’t that’s cool. But our community deserves, at the very least, to be better informed about the work in addition to (or preferably in lieu of) all the falderal.

    As a lifelong Dallasite of over 50 years I have witnessed our aspirations to be at that “international level”. We ask our city to be respected to be “on par” with the great cities of the world… we “deserve it”. Then, sadly, when we reach that international level it seems that sometimes we are not the best of hosts.

    I prefer to appreciate and focus on the enthusiasm the artist showed for Dallas and the Contemporary during his “chit-chat”. He was thrilled and told those gathered that what the dallas contemporary helped him to do could never have been done in Europe. Beyond the destruction and the issues of safety for the actors and patrons, beyond the concept of destroying the work, beyond all of that was something he was thrilled to find… that Dallas was a truly contemporary city with a museum director brave enough to embrace something very daring.

    If the work failed… so be it. I think it was a triumph. Regardless I am forever grateful to visionaries like the dallas contemporary and it’s director for trying. Grateful that they are willing to engage with an artist and face all the challenges of time, language barriers, shipping, potential failure, safety, installation, parties, fundraising and all the rest so that we might have something thought provoking and brave.

    We risk settling for a contemporary of “road-shows” and safe shows if we don’t ride the razors edge. But we are lucky… instead we have bravery.

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