Jeff Koons Killed Her Review

Koons did not reply to several requests for comment made by telephone and email to his studio and his gallery, Pace.

Golan’s criticism of the Rail over the handling of her essay is one of several recent cases in which writers have accused a publication of yielding to pressure from a subject or killing a critical story. It also may show how, after an invasion of privacy lawsuit financed by an aggrieved billionaire led Gawker Media, owner of the gossip site, into bankruptcy in 2016, smaller publishers can be wary of antagonizing famous people with deep pockets. In interviews, several art historians, critics and journalism experts said Golan’s experience raised questions about editorial independence and the prerogative of critics, who are generally afforded wide latitude in expressing opinions.

Tai Mitsuji, a critic and art historian who has written for The Guardian and taught at Harvard University, said, “Removing an informed opinion from an essay, even at the request of an artist’s studio, would reduce that writing to little more than marketing.”

Jane Kirtley, a lawyer who directs the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota, after reading Golan’s essay, said her opinions about Koons’s work would not be considered defamatory. Kirtley cited the Supreme Court’s view that “there is no such thing as a false idea” — that statements that cannot be proven true or false are opinions, and thereby protected by the First Amendment.

Referring to Koons, she wrote in an email, “It does seem ironic that someone who makes his living engaging in creative work that is protected not only under the First Amendment, but also international norms of free expression, would appear to attempt to stifle legitimate critical analysis of that work.”

Bui, the publisher, said in a telephone interview on Monday that the Rail, a nonprofit newspaper distributed for free and underwritten by art foundations, “is not a form of regular journalism,” but rather “a monthly meditation on culture.” An artist in his own right, Bui added that what Golan had written “was very disagreeable to Jeff.”

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