▼ Report: Jerry Saltz Resigns From NY Mag
Jerry Saltz writes,
I have many confessions. One confession: the new New Museum has squandered its last best chance to get it right. Another confession: I am leaving my position as critic of New York Magazine. Why? Let me tell you, my holy ones. Read my words planet Thebes and along the way I promise confessions so powerful they shall divide the very molecules of our being. These words are game changers.
There was a moment when my heart fell for the New Museum’s renovation; it’s upgrade. My love was a surprise. I am Jerry Saltz after all, the critic who loves to hate New York museums. To be fair, my love for the new New Museum was tempered by questions from the beginning. From the outside, this silvery museum, this column is a symbol of an ambitious desire to reflect and participate in the discourse around contemporary art.
No one had mustered the gumption to build an art museum from scratch in New York since the Guggenheim (opened in 1959) and the Whitney (1966) did so in rapid succession.
When these plans were announced, I feared the New Museum was using an old model to create a new museum, that rather than constructing a pristine pile of white cubes it should renovate a gigantic old warehouse, say in the far West Forties or Brooklyn. I fretted that Lisa Phillips, the museum’s director since 1999, was re-creating a scaled-down Whitney (she had been a curator there for more than twenty years) and that the new building would be hamstrung by its vertical configuration. In the end, I consummated with the building. My eyes met the museum’s vision. I was on cloud 9 and cloud 9 offered an endless string of wonderful social events and jaw-dropping shows that seemed to have been thrown from left field.
There was a point, however, when my love for the New Museum became unnatural. In short, I was pressured by my editors at new York Magazine to write glowing reviews for the New Museum, which I did with boy scout enthusiasm that wavered when the euphoria of being more-connected-than-ever-before wore off. I asked myself, what am I doing? I had become a corporate machination.
It is no secret New York Magazine, a leading voice of mainstream culture in the city, has been intertwined with the New Museum’s reinvention.
For my part, I have written page after page of glowing reviews (peppered with realistic criticism) for the museum and its reinvention.
All of my words written have been faithfully reproduced in the pages of New York Magazine.
When the ethics of the New Museum were under attack, I was at my keyboard constructing their defense with my own words – like a copy writer for an ad agency.
Why no one questioned my ties or my employers ties to the New Museum as we, the magazine, continued to morph into the publicity machine for the museum, I will never understand. I suppose Thebes is a land of the blind. The gates of Thebes (where most of you my readers actually reside) is a land of the blind as well. In reality, the museum and the magazine are one entity now. Financially, both benefit. Culturally, the partnership allows the New Museum to dominate the ad campaign battles between New York Museums.
To my old friend of more than 30 years, whom I met when I was a long-distance truck driver and he was curating a show at P.S. 1, and who served as the longtime director of the Barbara Gladstone Gallery and now works the chief curator of the New Museum: Richard Flood – Richard, both of us have veered from our sworn road. We have swallowed the poison for no reason other than financial security and professional advancement, but we can mend the burn left by the poison’s toxicity. Resign as I have resigned. Leave the New Museum. Seek an honest institution far from Manhattan. At the very least, cut the museum’s ties with the New York magazine.
I resigned yesterday, resigned as art critic for the New York Magazine. Honestly, I only miss the paycheck. NY Mag is an entertainment gimmick, a product and I never felt comfortable wasting my words on such a dumb product.
I have one last confession (for now).
To my facebook friends, the mass of fans huddled around contemporary art and the white walls of New York galleries – my last and final confession is this: the sad truth is, dearest fans of Thebes, I – Jerry Saltz – cannot stomach the audience attracted to my own writing. Return from whence you came great mass of pretenders. We do not need you here. I will end my popular facebook page next week.
Say your goodbyes darlings of the digital Cedar Bar.