Today the New York Times added an editor’s note to an item written by Carol Vogel, a longtime reporter who covers the arts beat. Placed at the foot of the item, the note states, in part, that the item about Italian Renaissance painter Piero di Cosimo “improperly used specific language and details from a Wikipedia article without attribution.”
The note came as a result of a Times investigation, triggered by a post at FishbowlNY noting the overlap between the Vogel item and Wikipedia. A tipster has alerted the Erik Wemple Blog to other issues in the work of Vogel. Have a look:
Item No. 1
Vogel, in a June 11, 2014, piece headlined “Think Big. Build Big. Sell Big. Whitney Restrospective for Jeff Koons’s Monumental Ambitions,” wrote:
More recently, his work has received considerable praise here and in Europe, where he has had several shows. And one, at the Château de Versailles in France, got considerable attention good and bad for placing a plexiglass-enclosed display of vacuum cleaners and floor polishers in front of the official portrait of Marie Antoinette and installing a bare-breasted blonde holding a pink panther in the same room with a 1729 painting of Louis XV conferring peace upon Europe.
Elaine Sciolino, in a Sept. 10, 2008, piece for the Times headlined “At the Court of the Sun King, Some All-American Art,” wrote:
VERSAILLES, France — An aluminum red lobster hangs from the ceiling alongside a crystal chandelier in the Mars Salon. A plexiglass-encased display of vacuum cleaners and floor polishers sits in front of the official portrait of Marie Antoinette. And an open-mouthed, bare-breasted blonde holding a pink panther seems to be laughing at a 1729 painting of Louis XV conferring peace upon Europe.
Item No. 2
Vogel, in a March 13, 2014, ArtsBeat post headlined “After Stay in Gramercy Park, Calder Sculpture Pops Up in Maastricht,” wrote:
The sculpture was originally commissioned by the N.K. Winston Corporation for the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, Long Island. At the time, Jane Holzer, the collector and star of many of Warhol’s films, was married to Leonard Holzer, the mall’s developer. Calder named “Janey Waney” after Ms. Holzer, because she had seen a maquette of the sculpture in his studio and suggested he make it a large outdoor work.
Sarah Douglas, in an Oct. 5, 2011, piece on Gallerist, writes:
The 1969 piece, called Janey Waney, was originally commissioned by the N.K. Winston Corporation for the Smith Haven Mall in the eastern Long Island village of Lake Grove, at the behest of “Baby Jane” Holzer, an arts supporter and onetime star of Warhol’s films. She was, at the time, married to Leonard Holzer, the mall’s developer. Calder named it for Ms. Holzer, who saw a tiny maquette of the sculpture at Calder’s studio and insisted he make it on a large scale.
Item No. 3:
Vogel, in a Feb. 11, 2014, piece headlined “In London, an Auction of Arte Povera Yields Rich Results,” writes:
The big attraction of the evening was the examples of Arte Povera, a term coined in 1967 to describe the work of 14 young Italian painters, sculptures and designers who used cheap, everyday materials as a way of blurring the lines between life and art. Created in response to the commercialism of Pop Art, the artists — Mario Merz, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alighiero Boetti and Pino Pascali, to name the most popular — used industrial, organic materials like textiles, coal and vegetables.
Colin Gleadell, in a Jan. 14 piece in The Telegraph titled “Art Sales: Are prices for Arte Povera about to explode?” writes:
As an art movement, Arte Povera, a term coined in 1967 to describe the work of a small group of 14 young Italian artists who used cheap everyday materials, has had more influence on theoretical writers and artists than wealthy collectors or investors. But then, one of its idealistic canons was to avoid getting sucked into the corrupting forces of the art market.
This was conceptual, experimental art, produced in the spirit of the student revolutions of the Sixties. In response to the slick commercialism of Pop Art, the artists – the best known of whom are Mario Merz, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alighiero Boetti and Pino Pascali – used industrial, organic and ephemeral materials such as coal, textiles and vegetables.
Not all eerie similarities are created equal. Item No. 2, for instance, has echoes in the recitation of facts and sequencing. Item No. 1 contains some similar phrasing, and it seems evident that the earlier piece was a guide for the later story. Item No. 3 shows enough parallel wording to offend not only the strict standards of the New York Times but any news outlet whatsoever. Even if you credit Vogel for tweaking things sufficiently to avoid direct copying — we do not — you cannot escape the conclusion that Vogel — an arts writer for the New York Times, no less! — hadn’t done the work of formulating her own, original abridgement of arte povera.
Following FishbowlNY’s allegation of Wikipedia lifting, the Times investigated other examples of Vogel’s work. Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the newspaper, tells the Erik Wemple Blog, “We’re not aware of any other incidents that would cause us concern.” It is unclear whether any of the items above were part of that review.