Pulitzer Prizes Honor LA Times Art Critic And A Composer Championed By Long Beach Opera

A scene from "The Central Park Five," composed by Anthony Davis for Long Beach Opera. (Keith Ian Polakoff)

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Christopher Knight, the longtime art critic for The Los Angeles Times, won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism on Monday for his writing about the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, while the Long Beach Opera was cited for premiering music prize-winner Anthony Davis' "The Central Park Five.".

Times reporter Molly O'Toole shared in the Pulitzer for audio reporting with the staff of "This American Life" and Vice News freelancer Emily Green for "The Out Crowd," a look at Donald Trump's Mexico policy.

The Times was a finalist in three other categories, while the top Pulitzer — for public service — was awarded to the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica for a series about lawlessness in Alaska. The New York Times won the most prizes, with three.


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Knight, who had been a Pulitzer finalist three times before, was honored for his often unsparing criticism of LACMA, particularly about its troubled expansion.

In a column published a year ago, Knight wrote: "LACMA has become the Incredible Shrinking Museum. I couldn't name another art museum anywhere that has ever raised hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on reducing its collection space."

The Pulitzer jurors said that Davis' "The Central Park Five," which premiered at Long Beach Opera in June of 2019, was "a courageous operatic work, marked by powerful vocal writing and sensitive orchestration, that skillfully transforms a notorious example of contemporary injustice into something empathetic and hopeful." (Richard Wesley wrote the libretto.)

The annual awards, presented by Columbia University for excellence in journalism, books, music and drama, were revealed from the living room of administrator Dana Canedy, owing to the pandemic.

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