Lori Waxman: The 60 Words per minute critic: Bruce Adams

Visual Arts

Artwork by Bruce Adams.

Artwork by Bruce Adams.

Lori Waxman: The 60 wds/min art critic


/ Dec. 14, 2016 12am EST

For three days last month, November 11-13, art historian and critic Lori Waxman installed herself at the Burns Building on Huron Street and received local artists seeking a review of their work. Each artist’s appointment lasted 25 minutes and resulted in an instantly rendered, signed review. Thirty artists visited Waxman, who describes her 60 wrd/min art critic project as ”an exploration of short-form art writing, a work of performance art in and of itself, an experiment in role shifting between artist and critic, a democratic gesture, and a circumvention of the art review process.” Here are 10 of those reviews; we’ll publish more of them in the coming days and weeks.


Portraiture constitutes one of the great traditional categories of painting. Before the era of mechanical and now digital reproduction, it stood as a primary means for asserting the importance of a person and his or her—though mostly his—character. Bruce Adams is a portrait painter for today, proceeding with all the skill of past painters and a hell of a lot more fun. In his meticulously rendered canvases, friends and acquaintances collaborate in the creation of pictures that tap their fantasies, tastes and projections with evident pleasure. A woman in a blue bob talks on a Heinz ketchup bottle telephone against a romantic landscape of peaks and valleys; a bottle-blonde man in fishnets and heels tussles with a vacuum cleaner against maroon cliffs; a silver-lipped lady in satin gloves, star glasses and purple antennae brandishes plastic uzis against a serene grove of trees and sky. This is total portraiture: not just how we wish to be seen but how we really are, visible and not, wrinkles, fetishes and all, rendered picturesque by a capaciously generous paintbrush