Monday, July 19, 2010


Sunday's annual Pollock-Krasner Lecture at Guild Hall featured art critic extraordinaire, Jerry Saltz. Incisive and immensely entertaining, Saltz engages in art world horseplay like the thinking person's Dane Cook. He's funny, irreverent and very smart. And, as if life wasn't complicated enough, recently Saltz embarked on a second career as a TV personality. He's now a judge on the Bravo reality-television series, "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist." 

He talked about seeking credibility as a writer, and for others, as an artist. He discussed "radical vulnerability" and "alienated majesty" -- both of which I wish I could clarify. He said "the best artists are the most self-critical," a concept that is inarguable, and he opined that as artists, we could do no better than to find our "inner Gustons" -- this, of course, referring to Guston's late stage coming-into-his-own. So excruciatingly true. 

Perhaps most poignantly, along that same line he quoted Jasper Johns who said, "I dreamed I painted the American flag." And then he pointed out the cruel dichotomy there -- the fact that the hopes of every generation to that point were hinged on the inclusiveness, equality and fairness that the American flag promised. And Johns, a homosexual, had not experienced a moment of that inclusion in his young life.
It was a provocative and thoughtful talk.                                                                  JMG

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