“Being an artist also made me realize that I wasn’t built for the type of loneliness that comes from art. Art is slow, physical, resistant, material-based, and involves an ongoing commitment to doing the same thing differently over and over again in the studio. As my wife, Roberta Smith, the co–chief art critic at the New York Times, has said many times, “Being a weekly critic is like performing live onstage.” Every week. I love and live for that jolt. Criticism involves constant change, drama, information coming in from the outside, processing it in the moment in front of everyone, always being in the here and now while also trying to access history and experience. H. L. Mencken is quoted, describing his own work, as saying it’s best when “it’s written in heat and printed at once.” That’s what I want, what I need, who I am. I have a tropism toward reaction.
I can’t only dance naked in private. I have to dance naked in public. A lot.”
“Wilde also wrote that “the vague is always repellent.” My work was “generic” and “impersonal” because of the 1970s post-minimal ways I was working. I wanted to transcend memories, achieve accessible complexity, and enter history from the side. Instead, my art might be able to produce flashes of beauty but couldn’t gain emotional traction; create depth, mystery; impart its secrets, ironies, drama, or cross the threshold of history. I was blinded by the rules I made.”
Jerry Saltz, “My Life As a Failed Artist,” Vulture, April 18, 2017, accessed April 19, 2017, http://www.vulture.com/2013/03/saltz-on-the-death-of-art-gallery-shows.html.
“Your Chinese allyship means nothing without the transfer of resources and structural power.”
“Guilt as a position is useless to me, but using your Chinese guilt to address racism in Singapore is a valuable exercise of this guilt.”
“Be suspicious of everyone who takes easy positions. Be wary of the people who speak out against racism when it is easy and convenient, when it costs them nothing and nets them social capital.”
“Allyship is active. Discomfort is necessary.”–Kat Blaque
Sangeetha Thanapal, “Chinese Allies,” medium.com, February 6, 2017, accessed February 6, 2017, https://medium.com/@geethat/chinese-allies-a6e835a59d75#.l85us65n4
“Part of what drives you, in a journalistic job, is that you’re teaching yourself. Every show, everything is an opportunity to learn something new… Everything contribute towards it, looking at everything is part of my job.”
“Looking at art is an exercise in being critical that everyone performs, you are just more or less conscious about it. You have opinions all the time, about everything that is happening to you including aesthetic opinions, about pleasure and about your experiences. What all the people in the art world do, is figure out how to do that and survive financially. We get this highly developed, loop-sided specialities and sensitivities–I could talk about an object and what makes an object work for me as a form really well by now. When I talk about that, I am demonstrating a kind of criticality for people to sharpen their own criticality. Art is a place where you practice how to be in the world. You learn about people other than yourself, you learn about other places. Museums are big machines for practicing tolerance, to become conscious of your prejudices and your lack of empathy with things outside of yourself. They are humbling. You learn that you’re not the only one in the world, that people like you are not the only people who have ever existed.”
Roberta Smith, “A conversation with Roberta Smith and Jerry Saltz,” Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien video, 1:17:27, November 20, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPl1TFfWR2c.