Art criticism must die

And be reborn as a dynamic, interactive conversation

For 15 years, art critic Felicia Feaster was the voice of visual art criticism at Creative Loafing. For many she was the voice of visual art criticism in Atlanta. When she left the paper in 2008 to serve as senior editor at the Atlantan, many in the art community waited eagerly to see what would become of her writing at the publication.

In fact, Feaster breathed new life into the upscale glossy. For nearly three years she covered the major Atlanta art institutions. But she also became known for introducing underground staples such as photographer Stephanie Dowda and rock 'n' roll silkscreen printers Methane Studios to a readership more likely to sip Chardonnay than to swig PBR.

Recently, the sudden news of Feaster's dismissal from the magazine, along with editor-in-chief Nancy Staab, left art watchers shocked. The magazine was bought last August by Dickey Publishing, the parent company of Cumulus Media, which owns and operates Jezebel magazine. Now, the new owners are restructuring the editorial staff.

Magazines get bought out. Publishing missions change. Such personnel switcheroos occur routinely in media, and it's usually nothing personal. But Feaster's departure leaves me wondering about a much bigger issue: What's the future for Atlanta's authoritative voices in art criticism?