If you’re an average person—you don’t have a criticism background, you don’t have an art background—and you’re walking into a gallery or a museum, what should you be doing, thinking, preparing yourself for?

First things first: leave your cynicism at the door, motherfucker. Everything in a room, you just have to take at face value. Don’t look at it through the lens of money. Don’t look at it through the lens of fame. Don’t look at it through the lens of power. I am not saying ignore that—“oh it’s just another white male artist”—of course you should factor that in; it’s a given; it goes without saying. But I want you to engage. Get very quiet inside. Listen to your reactions; follow them; compare one thing to another; it’s through comparison that we learn. You can’t tell how high a mountain is if you only look at one tall mountain. You have to see the whole landscape to get its diversity and how amazing or horrible it is. I would say see everything. Speak to artists. Stay up late with artists, if possible, every night, every single night, just listen to artists. If you are younger, stick with your generation. Do that for a while. You will take over the world together. You must make an enemy of envy. You’ve gotta grow a pair of whatever. Understand that you are going to be poor your whole life; stop feeling fucking sorry for yourself; the art world is an all-volunteer army—if you don’t like it, you can leave. But stop being envious of everybody else for having better than you. They do and that’s just the way it is. Take it from a 65-year-old man. You’re reading this and you think I have a lot more than you? I don’t, and I certainly don’t have that much time. Time is what you’re working for. You want time to make your work. That’s really what this is about. That is all that’s going on and you’ve got to work for credibility. You must have credibility. I want you to have love and money and have sex with anybody you want, but without credibility you’re just another flim-flam woman, another flim-flam man.

Jerry Saltz, Interview with Cody Delistrarty, “Dancing Naked in Public,” Longreads, September 2016, accessed January 9, 2017.


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