Identifying the Artists on Morley Safer’s Segment, One Bon Mot at a Time

Ryan McGinley video at Team Gallery at Art Basel Miami (Still from 60 Minutes)

In all the hubbub over Morley Safer’s segment on 60 Minutes in which he trashes the art world on a visit to Art Basel Miami Beach, a follow-up to his 1993 dig at the industry, one thing we haven’t heard much of, at least not from Mr. Safer, is the names of the artists he shows in his segment—like Ryan McGinley, who made the video of a scantily clad woman holding a make-shift blowtorch, or Mike Kelley, responsible for the installation of sewn stuffed animals and Jennifer Rubell, whose interactive life-size sculpture of Prince William makes an appearance. And while Mr. Safer presents these works as emblems of his confusion and dismay at what has become of the art world, we can’t help think what a thrill it is to see Paul McCarthy’s large pink sculpture of a libidinous dwarf, White Snow Dwarf (Bashful), on national broadcast television. Savoring the moment with a few more artists, here’s a breakdown of some more work we found in the segment, each one paired with one of Mr. Safer’s signature bon mots at the time of their appearance. Read More


Morley Safer Visits Art Basel Miami Beach, ‘an Upscale Flea Market, a Shopping Mall’ (Video)


Last night, nearly 20 years after he first attacked the contemporary art world on 60 Minutes, Morley Safer returned to the subject in an episode of his newsmagazine. The result was pretty underwhelming.

Mr. Safer shot the program last December at Art Basel Miami Beach. “This is where the art trade’s carefully constructed mask of Olympian high culture begins to crack, and the underside of a booming, cutthroat commodities market is revealed,” he says, and adds, “There’s very little sense of an aesthetic experience here.” Read More


Watch Morley Safer’s Original Art World Takedown on ‘60 Minutes’

Mr. Koons. (Courtesy the artist and 60 Minutes)

CBS has been kind enough to upload the the segment of 60 Minutes that Morley Safer shot about the contemporary art world back in 1993. Given how infamous the segment is, it’s amazing how low-key and almost silly many of his criticisms seem today. He becomes exasperated about a blank canvas by Robert Ryman, a text painting by Christopher Wool (Rat, Rat, Rat) and a bunch of sculptures by Jeff Koons. Read More


Morley Safer Is Coming After the Art World Again on ‘60 Minutes’

Messrs. Safer and Deitch at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2011. (Photo by Andrew Russeth)

The last time that journalist Morley Safer filmed a segment for the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes about the contemporary art world, back in 1993, Marc Glimcher, president of the Pace Gallery, declared that it “stank of anti-intellectualism.” Mr. Safer had quipped that much of today’s art was “worthless junk,” among other bon mots. It was quite a takedown.

Now Mr. Safer is returning for a sequel on 60 Minutes, which will air on Sunday. Yes, on April Fools’ Day. Read More