advice for artists...
1. Go to an art school that doesn’t cost too much. Those who go to Yale and Columbia might get a nine-month career bump right after graduation, but you’ll all be back on the same level in a year, and you won’t be in as much debt.
2. Envy will eat you alive.
3. Stay up late with each other after all the professors go to sleep. Support one another.
4. You can’t think your way through an art problem. As John Cage said, “Work comes from work.”
5. Follow your obsessions. If you love the Cubs that much, maybe they need to be in your work.
6. Don’t take other people’s ideas of skill. Do brain surgery with an axe.
7. Don’t define success by money, but by time.
8. Do not let rejection define you.
9. Don’t worry about getting enough sleep. Worry about your work.
10. Be delusional. It’s okay to tell yourself you’re a genius sometimes.
“Art schools are partly the villain here. (Never mind that I teach in them.) This generation of artists is the first to have been so widely credentialed, and its young members so fetishize the work beloved by their teachers that their work ceases to talk about anything else. Instead of enlarging our view of being human, it contains safe rehashing of received ideas about received ideas. This is a melancholy romance with artistic ruins, homesickness for a bygone era. This yearning may be earnest, but it stunts their work, and by turn the broader culture.”—
Jerry Saltz telling artists everywhere to STEP UP YO GAME!
But more eloquently…
“I’m not sure that a lot of what they’re making is art at all, and if the artists aren’t making art and the collectors aren’t collectors, the galleries selling this product to these people aren’t really galleries anymore, either.”—Jerry Saltz
“Damage to art has been far-reaching. I had to turn away when I saw Belgium painter Luc Tuymans going into David Zwirner to inspect a waterlogged painting of his. I watched outside Printed Matter as box after box of their own printed editions and titles were brought up from the basement and thrown into dumpsters. All lost. Outside, on almost all sidewalks, there were massive piles of cardboard, plastic, and crates. Inside each of these containers had been artworks that had been soaked. I saw stunned gallerists un-framing works on paper, setting them out to dry on any available surface. Other dealers in work boots pushed crates out of spaces, onto the sidewalks, straight into dumpsters.”—Jerry Saltz
“Impressionism not only hails a new kind of painting—it represents a leap in the physiology of vision. Our eyes and brains encounter in this work the visual structures of paint, different types of graphic fields, and hugely expanded possibilities for color, surface, and pictorial space. Many mid-nineteenth-century viewers literally could not see this kind of work as painting. Instead they saw incoherent globs of paint. A popular cartoon of the time depicted a Renoir painting of a woman holding a parasol as a flat coin-like oval with an umbrella above it. Painting had metamorphosed into a whole new optical creature. This is where Western art was reborn.”—Art critic Jerry Saltz on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity showing through May 27.
This article originally appeared in the April 22, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.