Indeed, watching her lecture for an hour without once referring to a specific work of art while combing through the rebus of her career made me think of Smith as Papillion as memorably portrayed by Steve McQueen: bars, tests, drudgery and deprivation cannot contain her.ha ha. dead link. "this video removed by user." got to be a damned good reason.
As to her own distinguished work, Roberta is both humble and jejune, saying that "she doesnít mind being a consumer guide for art" and that art criticism itself is "pure, strange and peculiar." Hard to imagine, considering the unique power that Leo Castelli famously claimed for her ("all you have to do is read Roberta Smith on Friday morning to know what shows to see"), but Roberta maintains that dealers often say to her, "Why donít you just review shows that you like?", to which she confesses to enjoying writing negative reviews as much as raves (here! here!).