Thoughts by Jerry Saltz

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz:

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz About Art

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It’s art that pushes against psychological and social expectations.


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


First let me report that the art in the Barnes Collection has never looked better.


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.

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz About Critics

Frieze may finally show New Yorkers that we can cross our own waters for visual culture.


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


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


My culture-deprived, aspiration mother dragged me once a month from our northern suburb – where the word art never came up – to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz About Culture

Most of all, I love that more galleries showing more art gives more artists a shot.


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.


Calling a young artist ‘great’ these days can give one the heebie-jeebies: The word has been denatured in the past decade.

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz About Giving

Works of art often last forever, or nearly so. But exhibitions themselves, especially gallery exhibitions, are like flowers; they bloom and then they die, then exist only as memories, or pressed in magazines and books.


‘Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era,’ the Whitney Museum’s 40th-anniversary trip down counterculture memory lane, provides moments of buzzy fun.


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

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz About Memories

Mission accomplished. The Museum of Modern Art’s wide-open, tall-ceilinged, super-reinforced second floor was for all intents and purposes built to accommodate monumental installations and gigantic sculptures, should the need arise. It has arisen.


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.


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.

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz About Modern Art

You sometimes actually don’t know what your opinion is until you hear yourself trying to piece it out and have it make sense to you.


Yes, 85 percent of the art you see isn’t any good. But everyone has a different opinion about which 85 percent is bad.


Contrary to popular opinion, things don’t go stale particularly fast in the art world.


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

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz About Painting

I rage against Vincent van Gogh for needing to die at 37, after painting for only ten years.


Kinkade’s paintings are worthless schmaltz, and the lamestream media that love him are wrong.


Giorgio Morandi’s paintings make me think that artists may not totally choose, or even control, their subjects or style.


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

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz About Style

I’m not for or against video – or any medium or style, for that matter.


Art is good, bad, boring, ugly, useful to us or not. It does or doesn’t disturb optical monotony, and succeeds or fails in surmounting sterility of style or visual stereotype; it creates new beauty or it doesn’t.


Batty as it sounds, subject and style may choose artists, through some unfathomable cosmic means.


The style of ancient Egyptian art is transcendently clear, something 8-year-olds can recognize in an instant.

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz About Values

Now people look at ‘The Scream’ or Van Gogh’s ‘Irises’ or a Picasso and see its new content: money. Auction houses inherently equate capital with value.


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.

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz About Vision

‘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.


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.

Thoughts by Jerry Saltz About Writing

The same way a lot of art looks the same, a lot of writing can sound the same and quotes the same theorists.


I wish I could write about shows outside New York.


When I’m done looking and writing, I love talking to art dealers.


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.