Two big moves from The Washington Post to report: Art critic Blake Gopnik is off to pursue a “new opportunity” here in New York, while fashion writer Robin Givhan (pictured) has, according to a Tweet from The New York Times‘ Jeremy Peters, been scooped up by Tina Brown to join Newsweek / The Daily Beast. Givhan has since confirmed her new job, saying she will cover style and culture for the recently-merged news outlets.
WaPo‘s memo to staff, via Yahoo’s The Cutline, appears after the jump.
We have two staff announcements.
Robin Givhan is leaving after 15 years at the paper. In that time, Robin has demonstrated herself as an extraordinary talent, stretching the definition of fashion beyond the discussion of trends or runway flights of fancy. Thanks to Robin’s Pulitzer awarded acuity, Washington Post readers have learned how to understand world leaders through the way they dress. A parka, a pair of stiletto boots, a pair of hiking shorts launched national debates on what political figures must have been thinking when they made such personal decisions, or whether they were thinking through their public image at all. She has not only explained the iconic status of Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown, Madeleine Albright’s patriotic pins, freshman Rep. Frederica Wilson’s Stetsons, she made Washington understand something fundamental about how every public appearance is a self-expression. No one is more in command of her own powers of self-expression than Robin, as her reasoned, elegant columns have proven each Sunday and we will miss her.
Blake Gopnik has also informed us of his intention to try something new elsewhere. Blake has given ten years of his insight and his intellect to the readers of the Washington Post, and is now taking on a new opportunity in New York, the place he has long understood and explained but will now fully inhabit. We are sorry to lose his voice on the matters of aesthetics and politics that he has interpreted in Washington’s fine arts centers, though he leaves us with one of his greatest journalistic moments, leading a team in Style who have reported on and challenged the Smithsonian’s decision to remove a provocative work of art from a provocative exhibit. His columns decrying the removal of “A Fire in My Belly,” the video piece by David Wojnarowicz, have earned national attention, and stand with the many adventurous uses of his platform, whether profiling Washington’s homegrown enigmatic sculptor Jim Sanborn, championing the electric blue splash of Yves Klein, or challenging Facebook to give its 500 million users more of a visual eyeful. He has set the bar high for his successor and leaves Washington a different cultural place than when he arrived.
The Style section wishes the best to both of these exceptional colleagues as they leave the fourth floor. We will begin looking for new voices to join the collective of cultural critics who make Style a forum for breakthrough reporting and who will challenge the way we think, in the tradition that Robin, Blake and the entire team exemplify.
Ned Kevin Lynn