Friday, February 5, 2016

Tory Dent



The last two posts are titled after art critics. The first critic, R.M. Vaughan, was in the news recently for art-bashing a historical exhibition at the Nova Scotia Art Gallery. The second critic, Jerry Saltzer, is always in the news because Jerry is that kind of critic.

To address the gender imbalance, I decided to post something from an art critic who is a woman.

I have in my head a list of woman who are art critics. But rather than rely on what is in my head, I thought I would test my knowledge against Google's inevitable inventory. After entering "woman art critic," I was presented with ranker.com's list of "Famous Female Art Critics". Of the 24 names given, I knew roughly half of them. Rosalind E. Krauss came in at #1, which is no surprise (she is, to my mind, the world's leading English language art critic), while Tory Dent came in at #2, which is.

How had I not heard of Tory Dent? Like me, she is a writer with a broad practice. Unlike me, she is no longer among the living.

Here is a poem Dent wrote called "The Moon and the Yew Tree", an intertextual work that uses (italicized) lines from Sylvia Plath's 1961 poem of the same name. Here is another.

Tory Dent was diagnosed with HIV in 1988 and died of an AIDS-related illness in 2005.

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