The "who's the next... Peggy Baker, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan" form is generally a trite move to force a connection. At best it might be an understanding of working in tradition and a way to contextualize new work — but really I'm just being nice to give that much credit. It's simplistic and un-useful and often damaging to everyone involved.
Chris is right on in identifying the gender trouble and disciplinary ideology in Sumi's piece and I'm glad he wrote a response.
But there's a larger thing in the wider complaining about the coverage in the mainstream press (and make no mistake — NOW is mainstream) that happens in Toronto: The mainstream press is in trouble — it's thrashing and dying and grabbing for every ad dollar out there.
And as scarcity presses down on the print media and local TV and radio — contemporary art practices are just not part of the money numbers game. Theatre has it great compared to dance and dancers can look to poets if they want to feel good about their coverage.
While I think calling out damaging articles is important — it's the other promise of Chris' Time and Space that feels more urgent, more useful.
We are not mainstream — so we need a not-mainstream "media" — and we need it to be informed and thoughtful and engaged in the practice and removed from advertising prerogative and well written (more smarts / less jargon.) And the only way we're going to get that change is by being it — sorry to get all Gandhi, but he was right.
The French New Wave invented themselves in part with Cahiers du cinéma — writing well about each other and insisting that there was something important going on* (and of course it is important that something important is going on. The cycle of bad work and bad writing about it needs to be broken at all points.)
No one is going to do it for us. And there is no longer much of a limit to distribution or word count. Only to our willingness to step up and do it. Which I acknowledge can be a big and scary limit.
This is the beginning of me trying to do it here — I'm not going to write reviews — but I am going to participate through writing that is distanced from my roles with larger entities (Small Wooden Shoe, Dancemakers...)