Jerry Saltz, perhaps the most well-known art writer working today, has been the senior art critic of New York magazine since 2006. During this interview with our host Charlotte Burns, which was recorded in the downtown offices of New York magazine, Saltz talks about a range of topics: from how he approaches viewing and reviewing art, to what he calls the “ass-holeness” of his social media persona.
Before becoming a critic, Saltz was an artist and a long-distance truck driver, and he discusses the benefits of being a late-bloomer. He defines what great art means to him and describes a recent exhibition of work by an artist who could be the “strongest to emerge this century in America”. We are, he says, “living in a crisis and it’s time to look at the art of the present. I want to see what artists say now.”
“In Other Words” is a presentation of AAP and Sotheby’s, produced by Audiation.fm.
For a full transcript, click here
“I’m a dying breed. Critics are a dying breed.”
“There’s an asshole-ness about my second self and probably my first self that I just can’t get rid of. I try to curb it, and then it pops right up. It’s a terrible thing.”
“In a period of political and environmental crisis, I want to see what bad, very bad and good artists have to say about my time.”
“I was eaten alive by this envy. Eaten alive, and now I tell young artists and writers: ‘You must make an enemy of envy today. Today. By tonight. It will eat you alive.'”
Jerry Saltz has been New York magazine’s senior art critic and columnist since 2006. Previously, Saltz was the senior art critic for The Village Voice. He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism three times, has been a visiting critic at major universities and has contributed to Art in America, Flash Art International, Frieze and Modern Painters.
Saltz uses social media platforms to communicate with a more general audience than the readers of his art criticism, discussing issues beyond art such as personal matters and the political climate. He has also served as a judge in the Bravo television series Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.
Saltz has published two books, Seeing Out Loud: The Village Voice Art Columns (2003, reprinted 2007) and Seeing Out Louder (2009).
Charlotte Burns is the editor of In Other Words, our weekly newsletters and podcasts. She was previously the US news and market editor for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular correspondent for publications such as the Guardian and Monocle. Previously, she worked with the London dealer Anthony d’Offay on special projects. For several years, she was a consultant at the cultural communications agency, Bolton & Quinn. She also worked at Hauser & Wirth in London.
Burns received a Masters degree (with Merit) from the Courtauld Institute in Art and Cultural Politics in Germany, 1890-1945, as well as a first-class B.A. honors degree in English and History of Art from Birmingham University. She moved to New York in 2010.
For More on Jerry Saltz
“LaToya Ruby Frazier’s Harrowing Photography Is Like Goya Turning His Eye Toward the Struggles and Triumphs of Black America” by Jerry Saltz in Vulture (9 February 2018)
“Imagining Trump Sitting on Maurizio Cattelan’s Solid-Gold Toilet” by Jerry Saltz in Vulture (29 January 2018)
“My Life as a Failed Artist” by Jerry Saltz in Vulture (18 April 2017)