Stranger, Post-Intelligencer investigate plagiarism by art critic

'Seattle P-I,' Alt-Weekly Investigate Plagiarism By Freelancer

By Mark Fitzgerald, Editor and Publisher

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the alternative weekly The Stranger say a freelance art critic they've published may have plagiarized some of his work.

Both papers have pulled articles by the critic, Nate Lippens, from their archives.

P-I Deputy Managing Editor Chris Beringer told E&P the investigation is continuing into whether Lippens lifted material for other articles that appeared in the paper.

Last week, the P-I, in an article by book critic John Marshall, reported that an art review by Lippens published last year had "striking similarities" to passages from an article that appeared in 2005 in Art in America magazine.

The Stranger also discovered similarities between reviews by Lippens and criticism that appeared earlier in the magazine Art Forum, Editor Christopher Frizzelle wrote in a blog on the weekly's Web site. He did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Lippens could not be reached. The P-I quoted an e-mail from Lippens in which he said: "I never knowingly plagiarized material. ... I'm completely mortified and ashamed for betraying the implicit trust of my colleagues, friends and readers. I know that I can't undo it or regain that trust but I do offer my sincerest apologies to everyone involved."

The P-I noted similarities between Lippens' June 15, 2007 review for the paper of a group of Canadian artists known as General Idea with a review of the same artists in the March 2005 issue of Art in America, written by Peter Gallo.

From Lippens' review: "They used the colors of the 'AIDS' logo in many works of appropriation, altering them through 'infection.' The signature red, green and blue replace the primary colors of a classic Rietveld chair in 'Infe(c)ted Rietveld' (1994). General Idea altered Duchamp's own alterations of a found chromolithograph landscape, 'Pharmacie' (1914), inserting three hovering red, green and blue capsule forms and retitled it 'Infe(c)ted Phannacie.' "

From Gallo's article: "... they altered them through 'infection.' The signature red, green and blue of the LOVE/AIDS logo were used to chromatically replace the primary colors of a classic Rietveld chair (Infe(c)ted Rietveld, 1994). ...General Idea altered Duchamp's own alterations of a found chromolithograph landscape, Pharmacie (1914), by inserting three hovering red, green and blue capsule forms (called 'placebos' by the artists), and retitled it Infe(c)ted Phannacie."

The Stranger noted similarities between an August 2004 Lippens article about the artist Trisha Donnelly and a review of her work by John Miller for Art Forum that was published in the summer of 2002.

Among the apparently plagiarized passages was this, in which Miller wrote:

"Word had it that the artist, dressed as a Napoleonic courier, rode into the gallery on a white horse, read a message of surrender, turned around and rode out. You had to be there. The rest of the show made no mention of it and the artist never photographs her performances."

In Lippens' article this passage appears:

"At her 2002 opening reception at Casey Kaplan in New York, word has it that the artist, dressed as a Napoleonic courier, rode into the gallery on a white horse, read a message of surrender, turned around, and rode out. The rest of the show made no mention of it and the artist never photographs her performances, or, as she prefers to call them, demonstrations."

"On advice from the Poynter Institute (a journalism think tank), we are rereading everything Lippens has written for The Stranger," Frizzelle wrote in the blog. "Until we finish reviewing his pieces, his author archive will be unavailable on The Stranger's Web site. We will restore individual pieces as quickly as we can."

Lippens began contributing to the Stranger in 2000, and was on its staff from 2004 to 2005, Frizzelle wrote.

article originally published at http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=....

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