Art Critic Jerry Saltz on Why It's Time to Build a New Art World


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It's not often that you find an art critic—or anyone, for that matter—who can claim upwards of 400,000 Instagram followers, a Pulitzer Prize, and appearances on an original Bravo reality series as achievements of the past decade. But Jerry Saltz can.

A look at his unlikely biography helps explain his ability to connect with a such wide audience through so many media: after leaving college without a degree, Saltz spent 10 years working as a long-haul truck driver before willing himself back into the art world by the power of the pen. From 2006 to the present day, he has held sway as senior art critic and columnist for New York magazine, where he passionately extols his belief that art can be for anyone.

In March, just before galleries, museums, and newsrooms around the world were forced to shutter for safety's sake, Saltz published his fifth book, How to Be an Artist. Expanded from a mega-popular column he wrote for New York back in 2018, the handbook provides practical tips, memorable quotes, and plenty of motivation that you too can enjoy "a life lived in art."

Shortly after the release of How to Be an Artist, Saltz joined the Art Angle's Andrew Goldstein for a frank discussion organized by the National Arts Club, about the book, the precarious state of the current art world, and the need to create its successor. For this week's episode, we're presenting an edited version of that talk. (You can find a recording of the full chat online, courtesy of the NAC.)

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