'The Panorama' is also the last place anywhere in New York where the World Trade Center still stands, whole, as it stood in the early morning of September 11. I can also see the corner where I saw the first tower fall and howled out loud. Seeing the buildings again here is uplifting, healing.

— Jerry Saltz

The most satisfaction Jerry Saltz quotes that are free to learn and impress others

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).

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The style of ancient Egyptian art is transcendently clear, something 8-year-olds can recognize in an instant. Its consistency and codification is one of the most epic visual journeys in all art, one that lasts 30 dynasties spread over 3,000 years.

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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.

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John Baldessari, the 79-year-old conceptualist, has spent more than four decades making laconic, ironic conceptual art-about-art, both good and bad.

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Put yourself in the position of an up-and-coming artist living in early-sixteenth-century Italy. Now imagine trying to distinguish yourself from the other artists living in your town: Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, or Titian. Is it any wonder that the Italian High Renaissance lasted only 30 years?

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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.

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When people in stadiums do the Wave, it's the group-mind collective organism spontaneously organizing itself to express an emotion, pass time, and reflect the joy of seeing the rhythms of many as one, a visual rhyming or music in which everyone senses where the motion is going.

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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.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art is unsurpassed at presenting more than 50 centuries of work. I go there constantly, seeing things over and over, better than I've ever seen them before.

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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.

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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.

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All great contemporary artists, schooled or not, are essentially self-taught and are de-skilling like crazy.

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About Jerry Saltz

Quotes 204 sayings
Profession Art critic
Birthday March 19, 1951

A lot of people still think caring about clothes is a dubious, unserious, frivolous, girlie thing.

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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.

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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.

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Outside museums, in noisy public squares, people look at people.

Inside museums, we leave that realm and enter what might be called the group-mind, getting quiet to look at art.

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Where Cezanne captured and intensified shards of the eternal (every pear far more sharply defined than it could be in life), Monet portrayed the changeability and flux of every moment. 'The Water Lilies' give you a jittery, amorphous sense of a world seen at the speed of light.

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

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All great contemporary artists, schooled or not, are essentially self-taught and are de-skilling like crazy. I don't look for skill in art... skill has nothing to do with technical proficiency... I'm interested in people who rethink skill, who redefine or reimagine it: an engineer, say, who builds rockets from rocks.

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Auctions are bizarre combinations of slave market, trading floor, theatre and burlesque... a lot of people are going to be making a lot of excuses or maintaining that they were never part of this.

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Summer is a great time to visit art museums, which offer the refreshing rinse of swimming pools - only instead of cool water, you immerse yourself in art.

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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.

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'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.

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When money and hype recede from the art world, one thing I won't miss will be what curator Francesco Bonami calls the 'Eventocracy.' All this flashy 'art-fair art' and those highly produced space-eating spectacles and installations wow you for a minute until you move on to the next adrenaline event.

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Abstraction is one of the greatest visionary tools ever invented by human beings to imagine, decipher, and depict the world.

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When museums are built these days, architects, directors, and trustees seem most concerned about social space: places to have parties, eat dinner, wine-and-dine donors. Sure, these are important these days - museums have to bring in money - but they gobble up space and push the art itself far away from the entrance.

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I am all for art's finding a large audience.

But the way that's happening now, with big works filling big galleries and bigger shows, is mostly stopping statements from being made. Or heard. Or talked about. Or really examined. It's watering things down.

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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.

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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.

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To me, nothing in the art world is neutral.

The idea of 'disinterest' strikes me as boring, dishonest, dubious, and uninteresting.

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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.

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Maybe the museum [of Arts and Design ]needs to follow the advice of its acronym and not be afraid to go a little M.A.D.

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The alchemy of good curating amounts to this: Sometimes, placing one work of art near another makes one plus one equal three. Two artworks arranged alchemically leave each intact, transform both, and create a third thing.

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Elizabeth Peyton, the artist known for tiny, dazzling portraits of radiant youth, is now painting tiny, dazzling portraits of radiant middle age.

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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.

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'Untitled' is a time machine that can transport you to 1992, an edgy moment when the art world was crumbling, money was scarce, and artists like Tiravanija were in the nascent stages of combining Happenings, performance art, John Cage, Joseph Beuys, and the do-it-yourself ethos of punk. Meanwhile, a new art world was coming into being.

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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.

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Robert Rauschenberg was not a giant of American art;

he was the giant. No American created so many aesthetic openings for so many artists.

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Not to say people shouldn't get rich from art.

I adore the alchemy wherein artists who cast a complex spell make rich people give them their money. (Just writing it makes me cackle.) But too many artists have been making money without magic.

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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.

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You can't prove Rembrandt is better than Norman Rockwell - although if you actually do prefer Rockwell, I'd say you were shunning complexity, were secretly conservative, and hadn't really looked at either painter's work. Taste is a blood sport.

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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.'

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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?

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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.

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Pictures artists staged their own images or copied or cut out others already in existence. The viewer took them in separately, in sometimes paradoxical waves: an original image, then the manipulations of it, then the places where image and idea intersected. This created a crucial perceptual glitch that irony and understanding filled.

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'The Night Cafe' and 'The Starry Night' still emit such pathos, density, and intensity that they send shivers down the spine. Whether Van Gogh thought in color or felt with his intellect, the radical color, dynamic distortion, heart, soul, and part-by-part structure in these paintings make him a bridge to a new vision and the vision itself.

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Sometimes good art jumps out at me; most of the time I see bad art, or see nothing at all and just drift, feeling weird, pretending to be fine.

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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.

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The reason the art world doesn't respond to Kinkade is because none - not one - of his ideas about subject-matter, surface, color, composition, touch, scale, form, or skill is remotely original. They're all cliche and already told.

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