Sunday, April 8, 2007

Jerry Saltz lecture at Tulane

If you missed Jerry Saltz speak at Tulane this past Wed. April 4th
well... sorry. The lecture was loaded with insight and optimism. His
take on art and criticism were seemingly off the cuff and not bogged
down with heavy art speak. At times this distracted from the lecture
as I felt as though I was in a Junior High science lecture by the
'cool' teacher who wanted to make science fun. "Right dummies and
prophets, does anyone know who made this piece...", this makes sense
if you were there. The patronizing became annoying at times, but only
in good Saltz fashion do I point out the bad with the good.

Over all the lecture was informative and highly entertaining. I
gathered from talking to several people that were in attendance, they
left the auditorium a better person and perhaps a little more
enlightened about viewing and creating art. I especially enjoyed his
bit about the third thing that exists between the artist and the
viewer being not only the artwork itself but the experience as another
element of communication. This element being linked to notions of the
sublime was quite interesting, and I could not agree more with Mr.
Saltz in that the sublime exists in dialogue and human interaction
rather than silence and solitude in our contemporary setting.

Please check out the art reviews by Jerry Saltz weekly at, you may even become a fan.

Dan Tague


ARTinACTION said...

Thanks for this review. The part that catches my imagination is Saltz's (via Tague's) acknowledgment of the experience/process b'w artist/spectator becoming a "third thing", another component of the creative process. I think that in that charged field is where the unexpected can occur, where something unanticipated can manifest, the creative process in full display. It's a component of art-making that isn't celebrated as much as a sale and/or something commodifiable but equally if not more important given its wild potential.

Tim Best said...

Saltz used the words 'Talisman' to describe art's effect on society. I didn't hear him say Shaman to describe the artist but he alluded to it. I believe this is an important observation because it illuminates the artist as a visionary and a shaper of society. This is easy to forget as an artist amid so much commercialism. Its refreshing to hear this from a critic.

ARTinACTION said...

I agree, especially from one so established in "high art" circles, where a word like "shaman" is considered suspect. Given that it conflicts with the modernist notion of the "radical autonomous artist" whose aim is economic/egotistical gain.

That way of working/functioning has always been contrary to many of the creative practices of New Orleans (Mardi Gras Indians come to mind) and most other non-Western cultures - and it makes even less sense here now (in the Post-K landscape where the negative ramifications of autonomy/capitalism are so tragically vivid).