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Jerry Saltz's Quotes

Jerry Saltz profile photo

Born: 1951-02-19
Profession: Critic
Nation: American
Biography of Jerry Saltz

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I've always said that an art critic can put aside politics around art.

Tags: Art, Politics, Put

In 1998, Artnet was the site that convinced me that if my writing didn't exist online, it didn't exist at all. It showed me criticism's future.

Tags: Criticism, Future, Writing

In art, scandal is a false narrative, a smoke screen that camouflages rather than reveals. When we don't know what we're seeing, we overreact.

Tags: Art, Rather, Seeing

In the late nineties, Katy Grannan began making haunting photographs of people who had extraordinary inner yens to be seen by strangers.

Tags: Late, Making, Seen

John Currin's exaggerated realism and his twisted women kept me off balance, never knowing if they were sincere or ironic or some new emotion.

Tags: Knowing, Off, Women

Kinkade estimated that one of his paintings hung in every twenty homes in America. Yet the art world unanimously ignores or reviles him. Me included.

Tags: America, Art, Him

Many things happened in the sixties, but the period is no more significant, better, or more 'political' than today. It's time to turn the page.

Tags: Political, Time, Today

Megacollectors suppose they can enter art history by spending astronomical amounts.

Tags: Art, History, Spending

Money is something that can be measured; art is not. It's all subjective.

Tags: Art, Measured, Money

Ofili is still a champion. It would be a huge mistake to think otherwise.

Tags: Champion, Mistake, Otherwise

Once artists are expected to shock, it's that much harder for them to do so.

Tags: Artists, Harder, Once

Our culture now wonderfully, alchemically transforms images and history into artistic material. The possibilities seem endless and wide open.

Tags: Culture, History, Open

Poor Georgia O'Keeffe. Death didn't soften the opinions of the art world toward her paintings.

Tags: Art, Death, Poor

Recessions are hard on people, but they are not hard on art.

Tags: Art, Hard, Recessions

Robert Rauschenberg was not a giant of American art; he was the giant. No American created so many aesthetic openings for so many artists.

Tags: American, Art, Artists

The art gods cooked up something special for James Ensor.

Tags: Art, Gods, Special

The art world is an all-volunteer force. No one has to be here if he or she doesn't want to be, and we should be associating with anyone we want to.

Tags: Art, Here, She

The art world is molting - some would say melting. Galleries are closing; museums are scaling back.

Tags: Art, Closing, Museums

The forties, seventies, and the nineties, when money was scarce, were great periods, when the art world retracted but it was also reborn.

Tags: Art, Great, Money

The German ueber-photographer Andreas Gursky was the perfect pre-9/11 artist.

Tags: Artist, German, Perfect

The Met is not only the finest encyclopedic museum of art in the United States; it is arguably the finest anywhere.

Tags: Anywhere, Art, United

The New York gallery scene being as incredibly overpopulated and overmoneyed as it is, deep conflicts and contradictions aren't hard to find.

Tags: Deep, Hard, York

The price of a work of art has nothing to do with what the work of art is, can do, or is worth on an existential, alchemical level.

Tags: Art, Work, Worth

The secret of food lies in memory - of thinking and then knowing what the taste of cinnamon or steak is.

Tags: Food, Secret, Thinking

Think of an abstract painting as very, very low relief - a thing, not a picture.

Tags: Painting, Picture, Relief

To me, nothing in the art world is neutral. The idea of 'disinterest' strikes me as boring, dishonest, dubious, and uninteresting.

Tags: Art, Boring, Idea
Much more quotes by Jerry Saltz below the page.

Turns out Picasso's passion for uncertainty, mystery, and the thrill of life never ended.

Tags: Life, Mystery, Passion

Venice is the perfect place for a phase of art to die. No other city on earth embraces entropy quite like this magical floating mall.

Tags: Art, Die, Perfect

When art wins, everyone wins.

Tags: Art, Everyone, Wins

Wolfgang Tillman's stunning large-scale pictures, being shown for the first time, were so offhand I failed to see them as art.

Tags: Art, Pictures, Time

Artschwager's art always involves looking closely at surfaces, questions what an object is, wants to make you forget the name of the thing you're looking at so that it might mushroom in your mind into something that triggers unexpected infinities.

Tags: Art, Forget, Mind

'Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era,' the Whitney Museum's 40th-anniversary trip down counterculture memory lane, provides moments of buzzy fun, but it'll leave you only comfortably numb. For starters, it may be the whitest, straightest, most conservative show seen in a New York museum since psychedelia was new.

Tags: Art, Fun, Love

I see artists bored by light-without-heat, irked at gigantic galleries' pushing out art-as-product, leaving behind the over determined for the undetermined, guided by interior voices and bringing us out of a long tunnel to new blueness.

Tags: Behind, Bored, Leaving

It took the Metropolitan Museum of Art nearly 50 years to wake up to Pablo Picasso. It didn't own one of his paintings until 1946, when Gertrude Stein bequeathed that indomitable quasi-Cubistic picture of herself - a portrait of the writer as a sumo Buddha - to the Met, principally because she disliked the Museum of Modern Art.

Tags: Art, She, Until

Only an artist as preternaturally acute and copacetic, as oddly visionary and just odd as Richard Artschwager, would be able to lay out the whole course of human evolution and have it make some kind of sense while also seeming like a dazzling insight.

Tags: Human, Sense, Whole

Rumors sound of galleries asking artists for upsized art and more of it. I've heard of photographers asked to print larger to increase the wall power and salability of their work. Everything winds up set to maximum in order to feed the beast.

Tags: Art, Power, Work

These days, newish art can be priced between $10,000 and $25,000. When I tell artists that a new painting by a newish artist should go for around $1,200, they look at me like I'm a flesh-eating virus.

Tags: Art, Between, Tell

To engage with art, we have to be willing to be wrong, venture outside our psychic comfort zones, suspend disbelief, and remember that art explores and alters consciousness simultaneously.

Tags: Art, Remember, Wrong

While a large segment of the art world has obsessed over a tiny number of stars and their prices, an aesthetic shift has been occurring. It's not a movement - movements are more sure of themselves. It's a change of mood or expectation, a desire for art to be more than showy effects, big numbers, and gamesmanship.

Tags: Art, Big, Change

A canon is antithetical to everything the New York art world has been about for the past 40 years, during which we went from being the center of the art world to being one of many centers.

Tags: Art, Past, York

A metaphysical tour de force of untethered meaning and involuting interlocking contrapuntal rhythms, 'The Clock' is more than a movie or even a work of art. It is so strange and other-ish that it becomes a stream-of-consciousness algorithm unto itself - something almost inhuman.

Tags: Art, Strange, Work

A saboteur in the house of art and a comedienne in the house of art theory, Lawler has spent three decades documenting the secret life of art. Functioning as a kind of one-woman CSI unit, she has photographed pictures and objects in collectors' homes, in galleries, on the walls of auction houses, and off the walls, in museum storage.

Tags: Art, Life, Off

A sad fact of life lately at the Museum of Modern Art is that when it comes to group shows of contemporary painting from the collection, the bar has been set pretty low.

Tags: Art, Life, Sad

Abstract Expressionism - the first American movement to have a worldwide influence - was remarkably short-lived: It heated up after World War II and was all but done for by 1960 (although visit any art school today and you'll find a would-be Willem de Kooning).

Tags: Art, Today, War

Abstraction brings the world into more complex, variable relations; it can extract beauty, alternative topographies, ugliness, and intense actualities from seeming nothingness.

Tags: Beauty, Complex, Intense

After 1909, Monet drastically enlarged his brushstrokes, disintegrated his images, and broke through the taming constraints and delicacy of Impressionism for good. Nineteen gnarly paintings, starting in 1909 and carrying through his final seventeen years, finish off the notion that Monet went happily ever after into lily-land.

Tags: After, Good, Off

After its hothouse incubation in the seventies, appropriation breathed important new life into art. This life flowered spectacularly over the decades - even if it's now close to aesthetic kudzu.

Tags: After, Art, Life

All of Koons's best art - the encased vacuum cleaners, the stainless-steel Rabbit (the late-twentieth century's signature work of Simulationist sculpture), the amazing gleaming Balloon Dog, and the cast-iron re-creation of a Civil War mortar exhibited last month at the Armory - has simultaneously flaunted extreme realism, idealism, and fantasy.

Tags: Best, War, Work

Although I adore the Italian High Renaissance, I'd rather look at Mannerism. The former is ordered, integrated, otherworldly, and grandiose; it leaves you feeling hungry for something flawed and of-the-flesh.

Tags: Feeling, High, Rather

Anyone who relishes art should love the extraordinary diversity and psychic magic of our art galleries. There's likely more combined square footage for the showing of art on one New York block - West 24th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues - than in all of Amsterdam's or Hamburg's galleries.

Tags: Art, Between, Love

Appropriation is the idea that ate the art world. Go to any Chelsea gallery or international biennial and you'll find it. It's there in paintings of photographs, photographs of advertising, sculpture with ready-made objects, videos using already-existing film.

Tags: Art, Film, Idea

Art is for anyone. It just isn't for everyone. Still, over the past decade, its audience has hugely grown, and that's irked those outside the art world, who get irritated at things like incomprehensibility or money.

Tags: Art, Money, Past

Artistic qualities that once seemed undeniable don't seem so now. Sometimes these fluctuations are only fickleness of taste, momentary glitches in an artist's work, or an artist getting ahead of his audience (it took me ten years to catch up to Albert Oehlen). Other times, however, these problems mean there's something wrong with the art.

Tags: Art, Mean, Work

Artists working for other artists is all about knowing, learning, unlearning, initiating long-term artistic dialogues, making connections, creating covens, and getting temporary shelter from the storm.

Tags: Learning, Storm, Working

As I made my way through 'On Line,' the austere, stridently dogmatic, sometimes revelatory exhibition 'about line' at MoMA, I found myself thinking, 'Someone please wake me when the seventies are over!' In the empire of curators, the sun never sets on the seventies. It is the undead decade.

Tags: Someone, Sun, Thinking

As I went through 'This Progress,' one of two performance pieces by Tino Sehgal that transform Frank Lloyd Wright's emptied-out spiral into a dreamy Socratic-purgatorial journey, the museum literally fell away. I was suspended in some weird nonspace.

Tags: Away, Progress, Weird

Auction houses run a rigged game. They know exactly how many people will be bidding on a work and exactly who they are. In a gallery, works of art need only one person who wants to pay for them.

Tags: Art, Game, Work

Batty as it sounds, subject and style may choose artists, through some unfathomable cosmic means. How else to explain that even artists who enjoy what they do can be perplexed or even horrified that they're doing it?

Tags: Else, Enjoy, May

Biennial culture is already almost irrelevant, because so many more people are providing so many better opportunities for artists to exhibit their work.

Tags: Almost, Culture, Work

Billions of photos are shot every year, and about the toughest thing a photographer can do is invent an original, deeply personal, instantly recognizable visual style. In the early nineties, Wolfgang Tillmans did just that, transforming himself into a new kind of artist-photographer of modern life.

Tags: Life, Personal, Year

Can space break? I mean the space of art galleries. Over the past 100 years, art galleries have gone from looking like Beaux Arts salons to simple storefronts to industrial lofts to the gleaming giant white cubes of Chelsea with their shiny concrete floors.

Tags: Art, Past, Simple

Chris Ofili's suave, stippled, visually tricked-out paintings of the nineties, with their allover fields of shimmering dots and clumps of dung, are like cave paintings of modern life. They crackle with optical cockiness, love, and massive amounts of painterly mojo.

Tags: Life, Love, Modern

Damien Hirst is the Elvis of the English art world, its ayatollah, deliverer, and big-thinking entrepreneurial potty-mouthed prophet and front man. Hirst synthesizes punk, Pop Art, Jeff Koons, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Bacon, and Catholicism.

Tags: Art, English, Punk

Decades ago, Gerhard Richter found a painterly philosopher's stone. Like Jackson Pollock before him, he discovered something that had been in painting all along, always overlooked or discounted.

Tags: Found, Him, Painting

Early-twentieth-century abstraction is art's version of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. It's the idea that changed everything everywhere: quickly, decisively, for good.

Tags: Art, Good, Idea

Every artist will one day face the moment when he or she is doing what he or she does after the style has passed and the art-world heat-seeking machine has moved on.

Tags: After, Moment, She

Every movement that slays its gods creates new ones, of course. I loathe talk of the sixties and seventies being a 'Greatest Generation' of artists, but if we're going to use such idiotic appellations, let this one also be applied to the artists, curators, and gallerists who emerged in the first half of the nineties.

Tags: Generation, Greatest, Talk

Everyone goes to the same exhibitions and the same parties, stays in the same handful of hotels, eats at the same no-star restaurants, and has almost the same opinions. I adore the art world, but this is copycat behavior in a sphere that prides itself on independent thinking.

Tags: Art, Everyone, Thinking

First let me report that the art in the Barnes Collection has never looked better. My trips to the old Barnes were always amazing, but except on the sunniest days, you could barely see the art. The building always felt pushed beyond its capacity.

Tags: Amazing, Art, Old

Galleries began growing in both number and size in the late seventies, when artists who worked in lofts wanted to exhibit their work in spaces similar to the ones the art was made in.

Tags: Art, Wanted, Work

Galleries needn't be exactly like White Columns purely because times are bad again. But the idea of this special space could - should - help shape what comes next.

Tags: Bad, Help, Special

I also take pleasure in the so-called negative power in Grotjahn's work. That is, I love his paintings for what they are not. Unlike much art of the past decade, Grotjahn isn't simply working from a prescribed checklist of academically acceptable, curator-approved 'isms' and twists.

Tags: Love, Power, Work

I don't know much about auctions. I sometimes go to previews and see art sardined into ugly rooms. I've gawked at the gaudy prices, and gaped at well-clad crowds of happy white people conspicuously spending hundreds of millions of dollars.

Tags: Art, Happy, Sometimes

I don't often go to curator or artist walk-throughs of exhibitions. For a critic, it feels like cheating. I want to see shows with my own eyes, making my own mistakes, viewing exhibitions the way most of their audience sees them.

Tags: Cheating, Eyes, Mistakes

I don't plan out my visits rigorously, but I do have a list of about 125 New York galleries, alternative spaces, museums, and so forth that I visit regularly. That's the closest thing I have to a strategy: I go to a lot of places, many that artists don't visit.

Tags: Artists, Plan, York

I like something about George W. Bush. A lot. After spending more than a decade having almost physiological-chemical reactions anytime I saw him, getting the heebie-jeebies whenever he spoke - after being sure from the start that he was a Gremlin on the wing of America - I really like the paintings of George W. Bush.

Tags: After, America, Him

I love art dealers. In some ways, they're my favorite people in the art world. Really. I love that they put their money where their taste is, create their own aesthetic universes, support artists, employ people, and do all of this while letting us see art for free. Many are visionaries.

Tags: Art, Love, Money

I love Rauschenberg. I love that he created a turning point in visual history, that he redefined the idea of beauty, that he combined painting, sculpture, photography, and everyday life with such gall, and that he was interested in, as he put it, 'the ability to conceive failure as progress.'

Tags: Beauty, Life, Love

I often find myself privately stewing about much British art, thinking that except for their tremendous gardens, that the English are not primarily visual artists, and are, in nearly unsurpassable ways, literary.

Tags: Art, Often, Thinking

I see 30 to 40 gallery shows a week, and no matter what kind of mood I'm in, no matter how bad the art is, I almost always feel better afterward. I can learn as much from bad art as from good.

Tags: Art, Bad, Good

I see around 100 shows a month, going from Niketown-size palaces where you feel like yelling, to storefronts in Bushwick. Each has to pay the bills; keep artists happy; and cope with collectors (oy!), curators (ay-yi-yi), critics (woo-hoo!), and occasionally plumbers. That their fiscal life often hangs in the balance only adds to the energy.

Tags: Energy, Happy, Life

I wish I could write about shows outside New York. I often feel like the last person to know anything, because I almost never get to leave town, and when I do, I tend to go for three days max. Seeing between 30 and 40 shows a week in 100 or so galleries and museums takes up nearly all my time.

Tags: Between, Time, Wish

I'm noticing a new approach to art making in recent museum and gallery shows. It flickered into focus at the New Museum's 'Younger Than Jesus' last year and ran through the Whitney Biennial, and I'm seeing it blossom and bear fruit at 'Greater New York,' MoMA P.S. 1's twice-a-decade extravaganza of emerging local talent.

Tags: Art, Focus, Jesus

If only we could persuade galleries to observe a fallow period in which, for two months every other year, new and old works of art could be sold in back rooms and all main galleries would be devoted to revisiting shows gone by.

Tags: Art, Old, Year

If the Frieze Art Fair catches on, I imagine at least two great things happening. First, we will once again have a huge art fair in town that isn't too annoying to go to. More importantly, Frieze may finally show New Yorkers that we can cross our own waters for visual culture. That would change everything.

Tags: Art, Change, Great

Imagine it's 1981. You're an artist, in love with art, smitten with art history. You're also a woman, with almost no mentors to look to; art history just isn't that into you. Any woman approaching art history in the early eighties was attempting to enter an almost foreign country, a restricted and exclusionary domain that spoke a private language.

Tags: Art, History, Love

In some ways Lawler is a conceptual Diane Arbus. She's a stalker who takes advantage of situations. She pulls back curtains, causing normal things to look freakish and the freakish to turn mundane.

Tags: She, Takes, Turn

In the seventies, a group of American artists seized the means not of production but of reproduction. They tore apart visual culture at a time of no money, no market, and no one paying attention except other artists. Vietnam and Watergate had happened; everything in America was being questioned.

Tags: America, Money, Time

It is not possible to overstate the influence of Paul Cezanne on twentieth-century art. He's the modern Giotto, someone who shattered one kind of picture-making and invented a new one that the world followed.

Tags: Art, Possible, Someone

It took me twenty years to get Steven Parrino's work. From the time I first saw his art, in the mid-eighties, I almost always dismissed it as mannered, Romantic, formulaic, conceptualist-formalist heavy-metal boy-art abstraction.

Tags: Art, Time, Work

It's art that pushes against psychological and social expectations, that tries to transform decay into something generative, that is replicative in a baroque way, that isn't about progress, and wants to - as Walt Whitman put it - 'contain multitudes.'

Tags: Against, Art, Put

It's great that New York has large spaces for art. But the enormous immaculate box has become a dated, even oppressive place. Many of these spaces were designed for sprawling installations, large paintings, and the Relational Aesthetics work of the past fifteen years.

Tags: Art, Great, Work

Jeffrey Deitch is the Jeff Koons of art dealers. Not because he's the biggest, best, or the richest of his kind. But because in some ways he's the weirdest (which is saying a lot when you're talking about the wonderful, wicked, lovable, and annoying creatures known as art dealers).

Tags: Art, Best, Saying

Just as Pollock used the drip to meld process and product, Richter 'found' and used the smudge and the blur to ravish the eye, creating works of psychic and physical power.

Tags: Found, Power, Used

Kinkade's paintings are worthless schmaltz, and the lamestream media that love him are wrong. However, I'd love to see a museum mount a small show of Kinkade's work. I would like the art world and the wider world to argue about him in public, out in the open.

Tags: Art, Love, Work

Koons's work has always stood apart for its one-at-a-time perfection, epic theatricality, a corrupted, almost sick drive for purification, and an obsession with traditional artistic values.

Tags: Almost, Sick, Work

Living and working for four decades in a Bologna apartment and studio he shared with his unwed sisters, Morandi painted little but bottles, boxes, jars, and vases. Yet like that of Chardin and the underappreciated William Nicholson, Morandi's work seems to slow down time and show you things you've never seen before.

Tags: Living, Time, Work

Lucian Freud's career affirms that the only thing an artist can do is remain true to whatever vision, (lack of) talent, or ideas that happened to pick them in order to be made known to the world.

Tags: Career, True, Whatever

Many art-worlders have an if-you-say-so approach to art: Everyone is so scared of missing out on the next hot artist that it's never clear whether people are liking work because they like it or because other people do. Everyone is keeping up with the Joneses, and there are more Joneses than ever.

Tags: Art, Everyone, Work

Many museums are drawing audiences with art that is ostensibly more entertaining than stuff that just sits and invites contemplation. Interactivity, gizmos, eating, hanging out, things that make noise - all are now the norm, often edging out much else.

Tags: Art, Else, Often