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▼ 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.

New Museum

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.

New York Magazine Online / New Museum

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.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. Kellen Schealz permalink
    05/11/2010 10:44 pm

    We’re even. I could not stomach the writing attracting your audience.

  2. 05/11/2010 10:58 pm

    I’m stunned. I feel like you’ve slapped us all in the collective face, Jerry.

  3. Candee Saint permalink
    05/11/2010 10:59 pm

    What a conceited , self righteous, blind fool.

  4. Homeo Erectus permalink
    05/11/2010 11:03 pm

    Thanks for coming clean Jerry; now please go I hear your refrigerator calling you.

  5. Jim Horn permalink
    05/11/2010 11:10 pm

    I prefer Jerry Seinfeld.

  6. 05/11/2010 11:12 pm

    Crazy_why did it take him so long?

  7. 05/11/2010 11:25 pm


  8. 05/11/2010 11:28 pm

    Latest gossip came out on NPR that Jerry has confessed to have slept with one of Bill Clintons interns from Harlem, who happens to be a very very young African-American transsexual. His name is Billy Jean from Astoria, New York (LIC) and wants the media to pay him “Hush Money”. It’s not going to happen if Jaunita has anything to do with it. She sent a taskforce of attornies out last night paying each one of her attornies a whopping $35,000 a month to bring suit!

  9. 05/11/2010 11:37 pm

    That takes guts. Fame floats your boat until you don’t know where the bottom is. Somehow, you’ve landed, compass intact, and I’m looking forward to where you go next. Mazeltov, macher!

  10. 05/11/2010 11:57 pm


  11. 05/11/2010 11:59 pm

    of What?

  12. jake stockton permalink
    05/12/2010 12:12 am

    didn’t all the worthwhile commentators flee jerry’s page ages ago? now it’s just a bunch of ass kissers and gripers

  13. dianne bowen permalink
    05/12/2010 12:14 am

    you’d have to be a little naive to think this would really have kept going for much longer.
    a good experiment the results, I’ve got a few thoughts I’ll keep.
    good luck in the waters. remember your swimming cap. I can swim no problem and I know you can take a wave or two.

  14. 05/12/2010 12:19 am

    “Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” – Oscar Wilde ; p ♥ ♥ ♥

  15. 05/12/2010 12:28 am


  16. Mallorey permalink
    05/12/2010 12:29 am

    I always thought i wanted to sleep with Jerry. But then I realized it was his wife I liked.

  17. 05/12/2010 7:37 am

    I’ll take this as great satire until I see it confirmed from a couple of sources. If it’s not a joke, it should be (we can fine tune it for a bit more punch.)

  18. erstwhile permalink
    05/12/2010 8:53 am

    you have traded one erroneous opportunistic career choice with a paycheck for another: A “judge” on an MTV reality show about “art”???? That is even more degrading.

  19. Pedro Sanchez3 permalink
    05/12/2010 10:10 am

    If it is true, that is the best it could happen, corporative media- museums-curators – partners – art critics all in the same boat, anyway.. it was and it is too heavy to go anywhere like this, so obvious even for anyone not linked to them , Jerry is kick-out, but they are still in control of power to speculate with the Artists freedom. I would like to think that this is the beginning of an end, and one by one after Jerry the hall corporation is falling apart.

  20. larry walczak permalink
    05/12/2010 12:24 pm

    Could Jerry Saltz be more full-of-himself? What a load of self-important crap, I am thrilled he is leaving Facebook…that made my day.

  21. 05/13/2010 11:48 am

    Waoh. Jerry- this is punk rock.

  22. kate permalink
    10/13/2010 12:51 am

    Bravo, Mr. Saltz. I agree with you on new museum. As for leaving your position, salute to your bravery and honesty. I never gave rats ass about your water down comments (they always seem too nice, conservative and holding back) but as I am reading this I am so happy that you are not a total crook! I am actually stunned. I love it. Totally love it.

  23. 06/11/2011 11:29 am

    I will miss the FB page, I learned about so many things going on and enjoyed the lively discourse. But, darling, just because I read your FB page 10min. a week and leave a comment now and again I can’t “go back from whence I came.” I never particularly went anywhere to begin with. It isn’t like the international art scene begins and ends with one N.Y. critic (whom I enjoy and respect very much, nonetheless).

    • 06/11/2011 12:30 pm

      I just realized this is a bullshit article written by Crisp some time back, I am an idiot; Crisp is even more of an idiot. Sour grapes, anyone?

  24. vija doks permalink
    06/11/2011 12:01 pm

    I loved your parting words, and laughed-out-loud (not LOL). The reason no one questioned your reviews of the New Museum is that no one cares. It hasn’t been the same since it left its space on Broadway. Good luck on your semi-retirement. I can see you being the next Goethe.


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