Hickey gives UNLV a thumb in the eye

  Art critic guru and author David Hickey was his usually reserved self in an interview with Dave Berns Monday morning on “KNPR’s State of Nevada.” With Las Vegas art scene insider Libby Lumpkin at his side, Hickey clobbered much of the local scene and knocked UNLV’s system of hiring in the process.

  At Texas universities, he reasoned, the hiring is tied closely to university presidents and provosts, not to middle managers and department heads. The “top down” method ties the reputations of university bosses to the quality of character they hire.

  “Here it’s basically, ‘Get my friend from Alaska a job,’” Hickey said.

  Hickey is brilliant and funny. But he’s also been part of the machine that focused so much attention on the billionaire art collectors on Las Vegas Boulevard at the expense of a “ground up” arts movement that’s important to growing the culture in our wonderful wasteland. Those billionaires are precisely the people who aren’t actually creating art foundations that benefit the entire community. They use art for marketing and aesthetic macho positioning. And Hickey has been their go-to guy.