Dave Hickey

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For the football player of same name, see David Hickey.

David Hickey (born December 5, 1940 in Fort Worth, Texas[1]) has written for many American publications including Rolling Stone, Art News, Art in America, Artforum, Harper's Magazine, and Vanity Fair. He was formerly Professor of English at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Distinguished Professor of Criticism for the MFA Program in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of New Mexico.


Hickey graduated from Texas Christian University in 1961 and received his MA from the University of Texas two years later. In 1989, SMU Press published Prior Convictions, a volume of his short fiction. He was owner-director of 'A Clean Well-Lighted Place', an art gallery in Austin, Texas and director of 'Reese Palley Gallery' in New York. He has served as Executive Editor for Art in America magazine, as contributing editor to The Village Voice, as Staff Songwriter for Glaser Publications in Nashville and as Arts Editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

He is known for his arguments against academicism and in favor of the effects of rough-and-tumble free markets on art. His critical essays have been published in two volumes: The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty (1993) and Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy (1997). In 2009, Hickey published a revised and updated version of The Invisible Dragon, adding an introduction that addressed changes in the art world since the book's original publication, as well as a new concluding essay. He has been the subject of profiles in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, U.S. News and World Report, Texas Monthly, and elsewhere.

"I write love songs for people who live in a democracy," he has said. [2]

In 2015 Dave Hickey wrote the essay "War Is Beautiful, They Say" for the book "War is Beautiful: The New York Times Pictorial Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict" by David Shields. This essay described the painterly influences and inspirations behind several war photographs published by the New York Times.

Hickey is married to art historian Libby Lumpkin.

Awards and accolades[edit]

In 1994, Hickey received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for art criticism from the College Art Association.[3] In 2003, he was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Friends of the University of Nevada, Reno Libraries. He was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called "genius grant."


Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy[edit]

In 1997 Art Issues Press published Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy, a memoir containing 23 essays or "love songs" addressing his experiences as a music critic and an art dealer.

The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty[edit]

The Invisible Dragon was originally published in 1993 with a new revised and expanded edition published in 2012. It is a series of provocative essays that encourage readers to reconsider the role of beauty in art.

Pirates and Farmers: Essays on Taste[edit]

Pirates and Farmers was published by Ridinghouse in 2013, and featured essays by Hickey from 1999–2013. This newest body of short essays looks at contemporary phenomena including super-collectors, the trope of the biennale and the loss of looking.[4]


  1. ^ "Hickey, Dave". Current Biography Illustrated. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Hickey, Dave (1997) Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy The Foundation for Advanced Critical Studies, Inc., Los Angeles. ISBN 9780963726452
  3. ^ "Awards". The College Art Association. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Hickey, Dave. "Pirates and Farmers". Ridinghouse. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 

External links[edit]