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On Covering the Arts in California

U.S.On Covering the Arts in California

Though New York is often thought of as the center of the art world, there’s plenty going on in California.

The New York Times has been covering California’s ambitious museums, top-notch art schools and adventurous galleries for years. Some of my favorite recent articles discussed how the Los Angeles art scene is eclipsing the Bay Area’s, how old San Francisco theaters are rethinking the size of their seats and how San Diego is finally getting its answer to the Hollywood Bowl.

Robin Pogrebin, a longtime arts writer for The Times, moved to Los Angeles from New York last fall to bolster the coverage, reporting on art, architecture, music, theater and cultural institutions in California.

Just this week, she published an article on the Resnicks, an L.A. couple who have made big donations to cultural organizations but have come under scrutiny for their water use, and another on the increasing recognition of Asian artists at the Frieze Art Fair, which opens today in Santa Monica.

I spoke to Robin about her impressions of the West Coast art scene. Here is our conversation, lightly edited:

In such a big state, how do you think about what to focus on?

I had always considered the West Coast an important part of our cultural coverage, given that many important museums and galleries are here and that Los Angeles has a long tradition of producing artists. Hollywood also has the potential to feed the theater and dance worlds, and classical music as well as opera have their own vibrant followings here.

Now that I’m based here, I’m exploring, discovering, learning and responding to what strikes me as newsworthy or interesting. I am out for lunches and dinners every day with people who can help me understand the cultural ecosystem here, attending events almost every night in many different arts disciplines. I’m keeping track of potential trends worth noting and individual stories worth telling.

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