While it may seem a bit meta to write a criticism about an art critic … well, let's just call it postmodern and leave it at that. Other than picking up a copy of Campus Circle , one should not try to navigate the trenches of the Los Angeles artisan scene without tuning into “Art Talk” at 6:44 p.m. on Tuesdays or subscribing to its Podcast.
In under five minutes, Goldman, in a handsome Russian accent, spotlights exhibits, shares art news and adds his own dry-wit commentary on Los Angeles museums, LACMA to Billy Shire, as well as his travels to oversea galleries. Emigrating to the U.S. after working as an art educator for the Hermitage Museum, Goldman, in L.A. now for 25 years, still manages to bring an outsider perspective to the works he critiques. That Goldman can still create infectious enthusiasm for art – you'd think he'd have seen it all by now – is a testament to his insight.
Other than Goldman's encyclopedic knowledge of art, which never comes off as didactic or inaccessible, his strength lies in his knowledge of Art Talk's limitations. In his broadcast “The Tenth Muse,” Goldman quotes performance artist Laurie Anderson “Talking about art is like dancing about architecture” then explains that “unless one tries to experience a work of art firsthand … then forget about it. I believe that words, even at their most eloquent, can only try to convey the physical appearance of the work of art, the artist's intention and the context in which the artwork or building can be experienced and understood.”
Though Goldman never tries too hard to make you see the art he's describing, he does something even more incredible – he makes you see it in a different way. Go to the gallery, see the work for yourself. Then, listen to “Art Talk,” head to the same address at the same time, yet now see a completely different exhibition.
In Los Angeles, the 10th Muse isn't, as Goldman posited, “the muse of digital technology,” it is Goldman himself.
Listen to “Art Talk” every Tuesday at 6:44 p.m. on KCRW 89.9 FM or via Podcast at www.kcrw.com.