An often-controversial art expert will bring his well-published perspectives to East Tennessee State University for a free lecture at 6 p.m. Monday, April 15, in the Ball Hall Auditorium, room 127.
Known as “a pillar of the New York art world,” senior art critic for New York magazine Jerry Saltz is a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist in criticism and was named “Best Art Critic” by Time Out New York.
New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl says that Saltz "is the best-informed and hair-trigger liveliest of contemporary art critics.”
Saltz’s insights are uniquely powerful and cogent, says ETSU Assistant Professor of Art and Design Andrew Scott Ross, who was an advisee of Saltz’s at the Art Institute of Chicago.
“My first meeting with Jerry Saltz was possibly the most important 20 minutes of my two years seeking an M.F.A.,” Ross said. “He can get to the bottom of the subject matter extremely quickly. He’s just a very efficient viewer. He sees so much and has been around a long time, and not only (that), but he has stayed current. He’s very passionately interested in contemporary work and history. There are very few people out there with his level of expertise when it comes to analyzing artwork.
“He’s very controversial, as well. I think he’s interested in being a provocative figure, so people will find it equally important and entertaining.”
In March, ETSU’s Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and Department of Art and Design co-sponsored an artists’ panel called “Outer Regions,” which focused on creating art from disparate locales.
“It’s great timing that we have this regional symposium in March, then we bring someone who is right in the heart of what’s going on in the arts community in New York City – opposite ends of the spectrum,” said art faculty member Anita DeAngelis, director of the Martin School of the Arts, which is funding Saltz’s visit. “Jerry’s writing can be a little edgy and controversial. Of course, some of the things that happen in the art world – and in New York, in particular – are pretty edgy, but New York is very significant in contemporary art circles.”
Throughout his career, Saltz has written for a number of well-known publications, including The Village Voice, where he was senior art critic from 1998-2007; Frieze; Modern Painters; and Art in America. His Village Voice columns were compiled into a book published by Figures Press, entitled Seeing Out Loud: The Village Voice Art Columns, 1998-2003. A second volume of his criticism, Seeing Out Louder, was more recently published by Hardpress Editions. He is the co-editor of Sketchbook with Voices with Eric Fischl.
He also writes a blog and Facebook discussions that artists and art aficionados vie to be included in, Ross says.
As educational outreach accompanying his visit, Saltz will do what he does best in one-on-one sessions with ETSU Art and Design students: critiquing.
These critiques with students are one of the most important aspects of Saltz’s visit, according to Ross. “We’re hoping to have him meet with as many students as possible,” he said. “Here’s a person whose job, his lifework, is to know everything, so (students) are going to get a lot very fast. That’s a hard thing to do. The art world has become more complex, and I’m sure he’ll talk about that.”
Saltz is the founder of N.A.M.E. Gallery in his hometown of Chicago, an artist-run gallery established in 1973, for which he has curated more than 75 exhibitions. He lives in New York City with his wife, Roberta Smith, senior art critic for the New York Times.
Beyond his writing, Saltz has lectured at numerous universities and museums across America, including Harvard, Yale, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Cleveland Art Institute. In 2008, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago awarded him an honorary doctorate.
“He’s an amazing person, a very dynamic personality,” Ross said. “He’s a fun speaker. The biggest art schools and universities across the country have him as keynote speaker at commencements.”
For information about the event or the Martin School of the Arts, call (423) 439-TKTS (8587) or visit www.etsu.edu/cas/arts. “Like” ETSU Mary B. Martin School of the Arts on Facebook and follow it on Twitter at TheArtsAtETSU. To read Saltz’s recent reviews, visit http://nymag.com/author/jerry%20saltz.