Work of Art, Jerry Saltz’s Recap of Episode 1

Every week Jerry Saltz writes a recap of Work of Art for NYMagazine.  In case you forgot, Mr. Saltz is one of the judges on Work of Art and he is also the senior art critic for NYMagazine.  I enjoy the recaps almost more than I enjoy (or hate-enjoy) the show.  They help explain the reasoning and critiques of the judges and also de-mystify the reality show process.  For instance, the judging committee is told nothing about the contestants.  Everything they learn they learn via the critiques or by watching the television show.

I also love the recaps because of the comments section.  Mr. Saltz (okay, I’ll call him Jerry, because that’s how I talk to him in the comments), takes the time to read all of these comments and often responds to them.  He encourages his readers to talk about and write about and think about art; I love how he wants to make art and art criticism less scary and more popular.  I hope that he succeeds.

Each week I’ll be posting the link to Mr. Jerry’s recaps and I’ll also be quoting a selection from the article.  Jerry opened his recap this week by explaining why he does this show.  I don’t think he needs to explain: he enjoys it and he finds it fun, why does he need to apologize for participating in something that much of the art world deems silly and inconsequential?  He shouldn’t need to apologize, I’d like to think he’s beyond that point in his career.  I guess the art world doesn’t work like that.

So, here is the link Jerry’s recap and here is some good stuff from it:

“[L]et me say something to all those who hate this show and to the many who send me angry-e-mails, post nasty comments on my Facebook Page, tweet mean things about me, or write articles about how this TV show is destroying art: I’m not trying to hurt anything. I get mad at things in the art world too: at idiot billionaires flying mindless millionaire artists to bloated biennials to party down on private yachts; at seven-figure prices paid for derivative dreck that supposedly ‘critiques the system;’ at cuckoo collectors like Adam Lindeman opining in the New York Observer that MoMA’s de Kooning show is ‘dated,’ ‘quaint,’ ‘bland,’ and ‘predictable’ and sniffs that he didn’t read the great de Kooning bio because ‘I’m a student of the postmodern philosopher Jacques Derrida…’; at gilded auctions attended by those who get their kicks from being profligate in public; at curators flying from city to city to speak on one other’s panels about ‘The Role of the Curator’; at tenured academics who can’t turn the page from 1968. I grant that Work of Art is a light thing at a time when heavy things are afoot. But it doesn’t feel destructive, vile, or annoying like these other things do. Okay, maybe it’s annoying sometimes.

I never thought seriously of saying no to this show. It gets me out of the house, and stops me from being alone at my computer all the time. I love the free food on-set. I especially love learning how shows like this get made. And I know we’re not supposed to say this in the art world, but it’s really fun to do. On the selfish side, I’m trying to see if art-criticism can be more elastic and populist. I want to see if criticism can coherently be performed for audiences outside art-land, where we have weird ways of talking that many of us don’t actually understand. I’m trying to see if it’s possible to have what we always say we want: To have more people look at, appreciate, and be exposed to art, wherever it comes from, however it’s seen. ”

PREACH JERRY PREACH.  And seriously, if anyone ever said to me “I’m a student of the postmodern philosopher Jacques Derrida” I’d probably say something like “Study this, asshole” and then maybe punch them in the face.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s