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This letter was written to me after I had commented on Jerry’s facebook status about the art world and blogs insularity; a need for collectives to create dialogues. At the time my comment had also been harboring frustrations towards the art market and like many trying to stay financially a-float. As fate will have it this is my first submission to what I hope will be a site that functions as a platform for creating dialogue legitimizing the significance of innovative artist building our contemporary culture through their collective voice.

February 6, 2010

Jerry Saltz: An Open Letter to (starving, idle, hungry, ambitious, ect.)

Dear Anneliis Beadnell,

You commented in the thread on my Facebook Page today (2-5-‘10), about young critics starting their own on-line art magazines.
I’d like to answer some your points. I’m going to really disagree with a few of them, agree with one, and maybe offer you a job. So bear with me.

You write: “How about some solutions that actually make money for all the hard work and passion some of us instill in the Art community?”

Excuse me????!!!! “…solutions that actually make money?????!!!!@#@!?”
Ah Anneliis, I work FOUR JOBS to pay my bills. Three REGULAR teaching jobs. Also a pretty FULL-TIME WEEKLY writing gig. I also lecture REGULARLY.
I do all of this mostly to ah, MAKE MONEY!!!!!!

Next you write: “Some of us are after-all not born into wealth, unlike most of the NY art world.”

I am sorry Anneliis, but GET over yourself and you self-loathing.
Get over you misguided WRONG-HEADED CYNICAL ENVY (Note: Envy WILL 100% DESTROY YOUR INTERIOR world; believe me; I know; I spent part of my 30s eaten alive by envy of other people’s better circumstances, thinking skills, career opportunities, financial conditions, education, trust funds, looks, hair, height, etc. etc.)
Sorry: Life isn’t fair.
I was a f-ing long-distance TRUCK DRIVER into my f-ing 40s!!!!!!!!
My kidneys are still DESTROYED.
My lower back was destroyed by a lead Carl Andre sculpture.
I probably have SKIN CANCER because of the dozens of consecutive hours over endless days I spent exposed to the South Florida or Texas SUN! Unprotected! No hat.
My psyche was ravaged by being alone for WEEKS at a time – not saying anything except, “Fell ‘er up, please. With diesel.”
I am NOT complaining.
I am just telling you what I did for MANY YEARS in order to earn $125.00 an f-ing DAY!

Wait, sorry.
Where was I?

Right. You write, “The way I see it, blogs and online magazines are the same.”

I think you are wrong!
WRONG!
WRONG!
WRONG!
(Or at least I think are. I’m not as positive as I sound.)
I LOVE BLOGS.
A lot.
They are smart, fun, informative, important, irreverent, gossipy, and everything in between and MORE.
I read blogs everyday (even the ones that drive me nuts or that just seem snippy and sicko).
However, Blogs are GENERALLY (NOT ALWAYS!!!!! you irked bloggers) about ONE VOICE!
Blogs (GENERALLY NOT ALWAYS!!!) are NOT EDITED BY AN EDITOR.
My writing would be MUCH WORSE THAN IT ALREADY IS WITHOUT HAVING AN EDITOR!

MUCH WORSE!
MUCH MUCH WORSE!

For me there is NO SUCH THING as writing.
There is ONLY ONLY ONLY Re-Writing.
(Can you imagine ANY editor on earth who would allow me to rant like this; allow me to use capital letters; mis-spell; repeat myself; use the word “only” three times in a row in ALL CAPS!?!)
Hah!
Blogs are often (NOT ALWAYS!!!!!! for God’s SAKE!) written anonymously.
OR: The comments are ANONYMOUS. (To me this is where things sometimes turn dark.)
I am NOT against people writing anonymously.
I will say it again: I am not against people writing anonymously.
Okay?
Some things get said when they are said anonymously.
Fine.
For me, however, real credibility comes PARTLY from being vulnerable, using YOUR OWN NAME; I have called this Radical Vulnerability.

– When you write anonymously it means the following things are common, possible, or even the rule:

1. The same person writes under many separate names.
2. A person writes under many names who …
3. Has received a NEGATIVE review from me (and is getting even).
4. Has been ignored in print by me.
5. Is someone I once gave a bad crit to in art school.
6. Is someone I accidentally insulted at an opening.
7. Is an art dealer, critic, artist, etc. who feels ignored or dissed by me.
8. An art dealer, critic, artist, etc. who feels angry or ignored by my wife.
9. Someone who just doesn’t like anything about me.
10. Is a close personal friend. Hah!

All of this is fine.
It just isn’t about CREDILITY to me.
(I am not saying I have any more credibility than anyone else.)

After almost every review I write: The same ANNONOMOUS six people write TERRIBLE things about whatever I’ve said. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing about Bronzino, Urs Fischer, Art Fairs, WHATEVER. EVERYTHING I WRITE strikes them as ridiculous, awful, terrible, ect.
Honestly, sometimes I feel the same way about what I write after I read it in print too.
But again: Often these are the SAME PEOPLE writing under different anonymous names. Over and over and …
John Yao, an art writer in New York, just spent like 2000 words trashing me for writing about a work of art he says he NEVER SAW! Hah! (I love it when people hate art they’ve never seen and hate the people who dared to like it.)

The idea of 3 or 4 or whatever young art critics doing their own on-line art magazines, I think, would start to change the landscape.
Change art criticism.
Change readers.
Change everything.
Or change nothing at all.
Either way, what is there to LOSE????!!!!
Really?!
Writers are sick people: We actually WANT TO WRITE!
Hah!
Starting an on-line EDITED ‘art magazine’ would let these writers do what they say they want to do.
Eventually, people will figure out ways to make a little money doing this on-line. If nothing else these young critics will get their names out, maybe be invited to write more gallery catalogs, museum catalogs, do speaking gigs, teach; whatever!

For me, writing under your own name and being edited counts for a lot.
I am NOT saying all of the on-line art magazines have to be done this one way.

I am just saying that since art critics make NO MONEY off writing art criticism. Wait, are you aware of just how little art-critics earn?
Most art magazines are starved for money.
Most art magazine can only pay art critics around $125.00 for a review!
They pay around $600 – $800 for an article!
Ever try to write a 500 word review? Or a lnger article?
OMG! It kills one.
Also, I don’t have to tell you that this comes with no insurance, benefits, etc..
Moreover, many art magazines are FORCED to ask writers NOT TO WRITE for OTHER art magazines.
You try living on under $1000.00 a month in NYC!
Moreover, the advertising model for print media is obviously AT AN END.
Advertisers will soon figure out that they DON’T MAKE MONEY by paying $5000.00 or much more for an ad in a magazine!
Anyway, all I’m saying – the ONLY thing – is since young art critics are almost starving writing for monthly art magazines: Why not almost starve ALSO writing with other critics for their own on-line art magazines. They’d all get MORE readers, have more fun, etc.
Okay. Those are the parts of your FB comment that I disagree with.
That wasn’t too bad, was it?
Anneliis Beadnell: I really agree with you when you write, “A singular vs. plural voice of critics causes the criticism to be more thought through, rather a blog can be insular and slanted towards one mind set.”

I agree.
You listen young art critics?
If you build it they will come.
In great numbers.
With fun, too.
And again, why the f not do it?

Anneliis Beadnell: Thank you so much for giving me the chance to spout-off like this. You write, “P.S. Anyone need a hard worker? I’m available!”
I have NEVER had an assistant of any kind but if I ever do get one, I owe you for this: I’ll call you first.

Thank you,

————————————————————————

P.S. Still waiting for that phone to ring.



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