New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz is in boiling hot water over a tweet he recently posted.
“A good critic always puts more into writing about art work than the artist put into making it.
The artist only creates. The critic must plumb that creation & also write creatively enough to deliver the full volume of the art while also creating a thing of beauty & clarity itself.”
It of course took almost no time for his Twitter followers to clap back
MTV personality Kurt Loder wrote,
“This tweet gets worse every time I re-read it…”
Another commenter wrote,
“Imagine being egotistical enough to say
‘The artist only creates’.
This is the kind of bullshit that gives critics a bad name.”
Saltz attempted to explain tweeting:
“DO I have to say it again: A good critic DOES create!
We do not ‘surpass’ a work. We create a thing in itself adjacent to another thing in itself. We ‘just create’ too. Un-knot your panties! No one said creating something is easy! So literal!
You know I love you, artists!”
An hour later, he tried again,
“Someone who writes about wine does not have to make wine. Ditto someone who writes about cooking.
Criticism does not surpass art. I am arguing that criticism creates and it is a thing in itself that is adjacent to another thing in itself. Not better or worse. x”
The issue seems to be that Jerry has begun to believe the hype about his own power and that he is the oracle. He is a good critic with a good eye and excellent writing skills. (I quote him extensively in this piece I posted about Warhol’s recent Whitney retrospective. His observations are keen and spot on.) But he is in service to the work, not vice versa.
Don’t get it twisted, Jerry.
The artist starts with a blank canvas, the gallery with an empty white room and the critic with a blank page. But without the artist and their work, the gallery and the critic haven’t got shit. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
And in the end, what stands the test of time? So, you are very welcome for giving you something to gas on about, or trash.
DO I have to say it again: A good critic DOES create! We do not "surpass" a work. We create a thing in itself adjacent to another thing in itself. We "just create" too. Un-knot your panties! No one said creating something is easy! So literal! You know I love you, artists!— Jerry Saltz (@jerrysaltz) January 25, 2021