Award-winning journalist and author Barbara Isenberg has been writing and lecturing about arts issues and personalities for three decades. Reporting from Los Angeles, New York, London and elsewhere, she was the chief arts writer for the Los Angeles Times from 1976 to 1995 and continues to be a freelance contributor to that newspaper. A former staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, she writes regularly for Time Magazine and has published articles in such publications as Esquire, Talk, The Nation, Ms. and London’s Sunday Times.
Her books include Making It Big: The Diary of a Broadway Musical, and State of the Arts: California Artists Talk About Their Work which the Los Angeles Times said “is the single best example of how creativity inspires creativity in the hot-house environment of California." Time Magazine said State of the Art’s “probing interviews” of such people as Dave Brubeck, Joan Didion, Randy Newman and David Hockney “plumb the qualities of the Golden State.” Her new book, Conversations with Frank Gehry, reflects her interviews with the celebrated architect over the past 20 years.
She has received many honors for her writing over the years, including a Distinguished Artist Award from the Los Angeles Music Center and first prize in entertainment reporting from the Los Angeles Press Club. Associate Director of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at the University of Southern California, she has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute. She created and hosted the Getty Center’s popular Art Matters public conversations, the Skirball Cultural Center’s Spotlight interview series and UCLA Extension’s Evenings Out with the Critics program. Every winter since 1983, she has hosted British Theatre Backstage with Barbara Isenberg, a London-based theater program.