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« Pics of the Day: Contempo Realism | Main | Free Views -- Jim Strickland »

January 10, 2003

Free Reads -- Jerry Saltz

Friedrich --

The Village Voice's Jerry Saltz takes a look back over his years as an art critic (here), and is frank and funny about what it has been like.

Sample passage:

Despite what people think, art critics don't have power—at least not in the bullying, Greenbergian way we did in the past. We may have some effect, or be able to turn the spotlight on an artist; we can trash or praise exhibitions, raise questions, and cast doubt, but we can't make or break careers, or close shows the way theater critics can. If I had that kind of power, a certain museum director would no longer have his job, several careers would be over that aren't, and a number of artists would be more recognized than they are. Nowadays, power is seen to be in the hands of curators, dealers, collectors, and museum execs.

Something he doesn't touch on, perhaps because he's in the thick of the weekly grind, is how your reactions are affected by the endless looking-and-searching you (as a pro) have to do for something to write about. I found that covering the arts as a pro enforced a kind of restless agitation on me, as well as constant prodding and testing of my reactions. All of which did alter the flavor of the art experience somewhat. But I don't think I've ever run across a piece on that topic. Have you?

But Saltz's piece is first-rate.



posted by Michael at January 10, 2003


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