Back When Painting Was Dead

When Clement Greenberg, Frank Stella, and Donald Judd tried to define what makes a painting, they overlooked a central feature — capaciousness. It is routine to characterize the 1970s as a decade dominated by Conceptual Art, and artists such as Sol LeWitt, Lawrence Weiner, Joseph Kosuth, and Mel Bochner. Part of this thinking is market-driven: […]

Has the Market for ‘Zombie Formalists’ Evaporated?

“No one wants to be a market darling,” an art dealer once told me. It’s the art world equivalent of a one-hit wonder, where sudden stardom and outsize demand for a particularly hot artist creates intense pressure, and has the potential to create unsustainable spikes in his or her market and career. Notwithstanding the fact that the […]

Wael Shawky’s Epic Films Will Completely Change How You See the Crusades

Egypt-born and -based Wael Shawky inhabits the epic’s structure impeccably, and in the most unexpected way possible: with puppets. In a lush, labyrinthine trilogy of films being exhibited at MoMA PS1, he uses sublimely designed, marvelously costumed ensembles of marionettes and puppets — some made centuries ago, others fashioned by the artist of Murano glass. […]

10 Tips To Make Art Fairs More Fun

As any seasoned art lover knows, art fairs are a double-edged sword: while attending them is an easy way to see and sell art, they aren’t always the most enjoyable experience (see 11 Art World Rules Decoded for 20-Something Newbies) thanks to myriad factors like inconvenient locations, overcrowded aisles, and the sheer amount of ground […]

Does the New Whitney Museum Herald a Golden Age for New York Institutions?

The Whitney Museum of American Art’s Meatpacking District museum, opening May 1, is fiercely awaited. In its new building, designed by Renzo Piano, the galleries and sculpture gardens will nearly double the museum’s previous exhibition space, with two floors devoted to showing off its collection. The museum expects to take in spillover from the millions of yearly […]

Critical Reduction: Jeff Koons at the Whitney

Can money buy critical immunity? It certainly seems so, judging by critics’ response to the Whitney Museum’s retrospective devoted to the most expensive living artist,Jeff Koons. In this week’s edition of Critical Reduction, we boil down eight critics’ takes on the shiny extravaganza, which, befitting of such a divisive artist, tend to be either vividly enthusiastic or vehemently dismissive. […]

Taking in Jeff Koons, Creator and Destroyer of Worlds

It’s all helixed into this: something fantastic, something disastrous. “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective” is upon us. One can’t think of the last 30 years in art without thinking of Koons, a lot. I’ve witnessed this career from very close range. I have seen him transform himself into the Koons hologram we know now; him polishing sculptures […]

Zombies on the Walls: Why Does So Much New Abstraction Look the Same?

For the past 150 years, pretty consistently, art movements moved in thrilling but unmysterious ways. They’d build on the inventions of several extraordinary artists or constellations of artists, gain followings, become what we call a movement or a school, influence everything around them, and then become diluted as they were taken up by more and […]

The Generalist: An Afternoon with Roberta Smith

According to the New York Times’ chief art critic Roberta Smith, she only gives one talk and she’s been giving it for the last 30 years. “I give it a new title every so often,” she quipped last week . Smith’s glibness may appear off-putting, but in person it was anything but. I interviewed her […]

How to Adapt the American Folk Art Museum

When the Museum of Modern Art wrapped up six months of foregone agonizing and decided to raze the American Folk Art Museum, it claimed to be sacrificing a small work of architecture for the sake of Big Art. MoMA’s prescription for the ideal viewing experience is more galleries, more wall space, more hallways, and bigger lobbies. […]

Jerry Saltz to MoMA’s Trustees: Please, Reject This Awful Expansion Plan

Last week, Diller Scofidio + Renfro unveiled a design that replaces AFAM — a useless place for the exhibition of art, and a building whose demolition I have advocated — with even worse spaces. Their generic technocratic edifice is scornful to art, and will be less conducive to looking at art than the building it […]

MoMA Reveals Its Expansion Plans

The Museum of Modern Art is on the march again, advancing westward down 53rd Street, sweeping away the old American Folk Art Museum and planting its flag in the base of a future skyscraper. Only the American Folk Art Museum building, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s twelve-year-old gem, has to go, because, like a cobbler’s […]

Saltz: The Next MoMA Expansion Is As Big a Mess As the Last One

The word art barely came up. Maybe that’s why midway through this excruciatingly verbose three-hour closed-door briefing about MoMA’s second major rebuilding in less than ten years, I felt my eyes tear up and my stomach turn.

JAY Z “Picasso Baby: A ‘Performance’ Art Film”

This was certainly a “performance”, but we are not sure if it was an “art performance”. Perhaps after viewing the Jay-Z video (or as much of the 10+ minutes you can get through), you might want to check out the BAC Link to the Vulture review by respected critic, Jerry Saltz, who often offers a thoughtful […]

Jerry Saltz on MoMA’s Plan to Raze the Folk Art Museum: Good!

How sad. Just twelve years after it was built on W. 53rd Street next to MoMA, the former American Folk Art Museum is going to be torn down by its new owner: MoMA. What’s sad is not that the building is going; it’s that, despite near-universal rave reviews for its architecture, it was doomed to […]