Artists of the South West have been lured to Penzance by the promise of short serious reviews by Chicago art critic Lori Waxman.

At the Exchange, Lori has created a believable world of desks, office clutter, plants, a familiar environment that choreographs behaviours; voices hush, forms are filled and artists wait expectantly.

Camouflaged, silent, focused, Lori Waxman moves hardly at all, leaving her seat only to tramp a path to her assistant’s desk. After a brief exchange she retrieves the stimulus for her next review, re-positions her-self, delves inside the package, opens a new file on her laptop. Her eyes swivel, she scratches her head, the ghost of a frown?

A screen perched high on a plinth draws participants gaze from the bodily Lori towards the interior of Lori’s mind. The cursor hovers, an on-line encyclopaedia pops up, Lori skim reads the artist’s info, she selects a “hook” for her review.

Lori’s discipline and focus are astonishing, the style and content of her emergent text, beautifully crafted. Her skill relies on existing knowledge of art history, contemporary practice and previous 60w/min performances, so a speed review of a far ranging work that is new, original and happening in “an out of the way” place, far from her homeland will be a test of her powers.

Her review of our DREAMING PLACE project turns out to be inaccurate, but useful as fodder for conversation, debate and further reflection. If Lori is to review adventurous and extensive work from a quick peak at a tiny fragment, she needs to take an entirely new approach and reach for a vision far beyond her habitual perspective. Perhaps too she needs to find a new writing style to allow for ambiguity and complexity, even in the terse 60 Wrd/min format.

Lori’s performance is fine, her writing beautiful, but as 60 w/min art critic she sadly trades accuracy for speed making her reviews of limited use to at least some participating artists.   

Anna Keleher