04w31:2 Jerry Saltz and Bad Reviews – Art Criticism Part 2

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 31 number 2 (Jerry Saltz and Bad Reviews – a.c. part 2)

Learning on the Job | Jerry Saltz
“To me, theory and positions are important, but they often lead to dogmatic thinking, obscure writing and rigid taste. Knowing where you’re coming from means knowing what you like before you like it and hating what you hate before you hate it. This takes all the life out of art. Theory is about understanding. Art is about experience. Theory is neat. Art is not. My only position is to let the reader in on my feelings; try to write in straightforward, jargon-free language; not oversimplify or dumb down my responses; aim to have an idea, a judgment or a description in every sentence; not take too much for granted; explain how artists might be original or derivative and how they use techniques and materials; observe whether they’re developing or standing still; provide context; and make judgments that hopefully amount to something more than just my opinion. To do this requires more than a position or a theory. It requires something else. This something else is what art, and criticism, are all about”. Article Date 11 September 2002

A chat with Jerry Saltz, part one | Tyler Green and Jerry Saltz
“I was – and still am – sick of critics quoting from the same seven writers to support their ideas. If I read one more review that begins with a quote from Barthes or Baudrillard I’m going to slit my wrists.”

A chat with Jerry Saltz, part two | Tyler Green and Jerry Saltz
“The one thing you don’t want to be, in my eye, is a local critic who is merely a booster, someone just writing on the artists from your zip code or gender or sexuality or political base. This is very bad. Another lucky thing about New York is our bigness. However, it’s also its great disadvantage. In London, say, everybody is sleeping together, eating together, arguing with one another? If a new artist appears, everybody in the whole termite nation is aware of that on the same night more ore less. New York is so huge that ? there are lots of different parties going on at the same time. We don’t really know about one another that much. There are many parallel art worlds in New York. I think that’s pretty exciting as long as you make it your own business to get out of your own party as much possible. ”

The Art of the Bad Review | Andy Lamey
“What literature needs most is a new and abusive school of criticism. So wrote Rebecca West in 1914, in an essay called ‘The Duty of Harsh Criticism.’ Book reviewers were too kind, she argued, and literary standards debased. English departments were remarkable only for the shocking amounts of unreadable writing they produced. Then there was the ‘formidable army of Englishmen’ who had managed to become men of letters without having written anything: ‘They throw up platitudinous inaugural addresses like wormcasts, they edit the letters of the unprotected dead, and chew once more the more masticated portions of history.’ There is now no criticism in England, she concluded. ‘There is merely a chorus of weak cheers . . . a mild kindliness that neither heats to enthusiasm nor reverses to anger.’ It’s hard to believe West’s essay appeared ninety years ago; what is striking about reading it today is how familiar it sounds”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 27 July 2004 @ 10:52 PM

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