The article by Lauren Messman in Sunday’s Times about Carolyn Coleman, an artist who uses subway subsidy cards and completed a vocational training program, is also the artist known as Honeychild or Carolyn “HoneyChild” Coleman who, among other recent events, has toured and performed at music festivals in Europe and was a panelist at an event at the Museum of Arts and Design at 2 Columbus Circle last year.
The Times should run that, as a correction.
To write about this person and not identify her by her best known moniker is a disservice, to the artist. The article makes people like me, potential collaborators or buyers, re-read the article and look for the part about the hardship that bumped her down a notch from being on museum panels and touring. (It does say she is in four bands, but pretty low in the story).
As is, it makes people like me wonder if she is on drugs or mentally ill.
It’s true that we don’t value artists and local artists; that’s a good story, but you don’t have to tell it at the expense of the reputation of Carolyn Coleman.
It may be true that ageism and sexism have made it harder for middle-aged musicians to find work; this is true in other fields, that are less image-oriented.
Ms. Messman’s article is, as I said, in a previous post, akin to not mentioning that the B. Henry Zuckerman, 89 was the same guy who, as Buck Henry, starred on “Saturday Night Live”.
It’s like writing about Madonna in the 1980s and saying she walks around in her underwear because she cannot afford proper clothing.
Not that Carolyn Coleman — who I don’t think I had heard of, but research says she is pretty serious in her craft and known in her field — likes being poor or has chosen such.
But to further exoticize her by this glaring omission is inconsistent with the noble goals of journalism and the “neediest cases” trope.
Compare this to the recent article about Sudan Archives.By Jon Pareles: it’s a different story, but on a continuum.
I think an arts writer could have written about this. There are stories of artists who go thru rough stretches — think Mingus, think Sonny Simmons — but if the argrument is that being an artist is so tough that they are often mistaken for crazy people or the homeless, that’s not fair, or this story doesn’t say that, only cynically hints at it.
Who said there is no such thing as bad publicity? I don’t think it extends to slander. As in this case.
Messman is piling on, not lifting up.