‘You Will Be Poor… Accept It’: 11 Pieces of Advice for Struggling Artists From Pulitzer Prize Winner Jerry Saltz

artnet News | Caroline Goldstein

After the toniest of the VIPs thinned out at Frieze New York, a more diverse group packed into the fair’s “Talks Space” tent on Thursday evening to hear New York magazine’s art critic Jerry Saltz deliver a speech on the state of the art. He skipped on stage to the kind of applause that comes with a freshly minted Pulitzer and proceeded to address the current state of the art world, expanding on some ideas from his recent article about the challenges facing the art-fair ecosystem. “There are cracks in Babylon,” he said. “The delivery system is broken.” He attributed this breakdown, in part at least, to the fetishization of the “same 11 white guys” (who, he admitted, he also considers to be gods among men). He praised Marcel Duchamp for challenging what art could be, while Van Gogh, he said, “was almost there, but the idiot killed himself just as he was getting it right, and I’ll never forgive him for that.”

More generally, Saltz used himself as a case study in success for late bloomers—after all, this is a man who worked as a long-distance truck driver until the age of 41 and has ended up the Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic of a major magazine without formal academic training or a single degree. In the midst of his animated, sometimes rambling performance, there were some kernels of wisdom. We’ve helpfully transcribed (and edited for clarity) the most memorable advice below…read more

Image: Jerry Saltz, courtesy of New York Magazine and Frieze New York.