Fort Worth-born, TCU-educated Dave Hickey is a one-of-a-kind figure in the world of art. He has a brilliant, but approachable intellect, full of wit, energy, fresh insight and scorn. Hickey famously “quit” the art world some time back, a gesture that has proven something of a rhetorical stunt. After all, he accepted an invitation by Texas online art mag Glasstire to speak to a bunch of art hounds at Rice University down in Houston.
What makes Hickey’s commentary on art, life, and culture bristle is that he asks the simple, almost obvious questions that cut to the heart of things. In the Glasstire talk, he opens with one such question: “Why should art be popular?” Then he takes square aim at the National Endowment for the Arts and universities, wondering where all the great art is that our investments in art centers, programs, funding etc. were supposed to create. Art professors are part of the problem, he says (though he is quick to exclude UNT’s Vernon Fisher from such guilt), but more so is a conception of what it means to be “in” the art world in the first place. Before he heads deep into his inquiry of the question (which includes cameos like Lou Reed talking “white magic” at Max’s Kansas City), Hickey makes sure he gets a few quality jabs in on his home state and his host. It’s worth a watch, and you can find the first part below, and parts 2-4 here.