Jeffery McNary came of age in Chicago, Illinois. After a career in public service, including service as an Economic Development advisor to then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, turned to journalism and writing. His work can be found in Newsweek, Rolling Stone, The Vineyard Gazette, the Boston Phoenix, Transition Magazine, and other outlets including Chicago Art Review. His poetry has been published in Iconoclast Magazine. Mr. McNary is currently crafting a screenplay, “Ro”, in which he captures the volatility and passion of socio-political in the 60’s and 70’. He is also currently composing a volume of poetry, “Simple Epistles”. Mr. McNary currently divides his time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Paris, France.
Neoteric Art: How did you get involved with Chicago Art Review (chicagoartreview.net)?
Jeffery McNary: The opportunity to engage visual artists while exploring and learning about their art and various techniques is both challenging and exhilarating. For me, writing for Chicago Art Review. Net has provided a vehicle for such a very rich and uncommon opportunity.
I hardly see myself an “art critic”. I’m a working writer fortunate enough to have wandered into this genre and found a fit which works for both me and Chicago Art Review. A large portion of my time has been spent crafting a work for stage which explores the relationship between two literary giants, James Baldwin and William Styron. Baldwin lived in Styron’s Connecticut guest house while he was writing, “Another Country”. Styron was beginning, “The Confessions of Nat Turner.” It’s a fascinating story, and the project, it’s off the charts. I’m enthralled by writers who meld different avenues as the subject and times demand and expand and contract….Didion, Mailer, a dose of Sartre on occasion.
Born in Chicago, I’ve spent most of my adult life in New England, a tour of the meta-spiritual with the Jesuits, Harvard, then government and campaigns and campaigns and government and back to academia. Such tides can grow rough. A significant amount of my writing had been politically geared journalism, teamed from time to time with the occasional mandatory poetry, that queen of blood sports.
As the air in the room of political writing grew thin, I sought out other options. To my surprise my first art review found a home in Harvard’s, Transition Magazine, about a year ago. High-cotton. Not at all bad company.
I met Chicago Art Review through a gallery owner who holds some respect for my work. I wanted the kind of space and mobility the outlet has provided. The deadlines bring about a smile, and the interaction with artists calls for sensitivities to the individual’s magnetic-north, influences, and media. There’s a trust factor at play when translating the visual into the written. It shouts at the writer to neither drop nor add. It’s a marvelous banquet of sorts. It’s self defining. Perspectives cannot be un-addressed.
The objective trust factor also blends over into the editor-writer relationship, a new and enriching thing for me. It’s also helpful in rounding up the stray comma. As of yet, there’s been no “Wylie Coyote” moment. I haven’t run off a cliff, yet. To quote Baldwin, “I want to be an honest man, and a good writer.”