Today on Reddit, our own art critic Jerry Saltz held his very first AMA. Here are our favorite answers from the rapid-fire online forum, which saw Jerry weighing in on all manner of art world topics, both highbrow and low — from the Louvre (“your architecture is stupid, and everyone gets lost there”) to Hova (“I fell in love with Jay Z’s smile”).
When asked about his favorite museum in the city:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the greatest, encyclopedic museum on Earth. Sorry, Louvre, your architecture is stupid, and everyone gets lost there. At The Met, you see art within 25 feet of the door. At the Louvre, you’ve got to walk a half-mile. Fix this.
When asked whether he would pay pay $140 million dollars for a Francis Bacon triptych if he had the cash:
Auctions make me sick. I can’t stand them. They’re ruining the art world. They change the conversation from art to money, from quality to quantities, and now those quantities are mass quantities. Hey did you ever notice the word tities is in quantities?
The Francis Bacon is completely predictable. A middle-brow painting by a middle-brow painter painting another middle-brow painter.
On Andy Warhol:
In the history of the world, no one ever put those colors together before Warhol did. No one ever had images skidding over one another. Warhol changed the way the world looks and the way we look at the world. That is fucking revolutionary.
One thing the average person can do to get more out of a visit to a museum:
Don’t go to a museum with a destination. Museums are wormholes to other worlds. There are ecstasy machines. Follow your eyes to wherever they lead you, stop, get very quiet, and the world should begin to change for you. And if you see me, say something! We can talk about it together.
To the question “Banksy came to New York and the entire North East talked about art for a month yet you said it was bad. Dafuq?”
I didn’t say it was bad that we talked about art. I said Banksy is a bad artist. In your heart you know I’m right. But I love that we all talked about art together. More, more — but not Banksy, please.
On sleazy art dealers who only want to buy art from “hot chicks”:
These geezer masters of the universe may want to feel side-boob on their arms as they look at auction art, but my sense is dealers will treat you with respect in the art world. I love these dealers. You shouldn’t ever have any kind of that problem. If you do, make it public. If you see something, say something.
And to the same questioner, who said that David Gibson had her over and greeted her in a bathrobe:
That kind of behavior is unacceptable. Kick him in the nuts.
On whether he thinks other art critics are jealous because they don’t have their own action figure:
This idiot Sucklord, yes, that’s his ridiculous name, made this action figure of me. I don’t think it looks anything like me, other than it’s bald. I hear he made a bundle from it. I got nothing. I’m happy for him. All artists should make all the money they want. You know I love you, artists. Not you, Sucklord.
What he would tell Obama if the President asked him for advice on arts funding:
I would say, “I
The last time a work of art brought him to tears:
I can tell you I cried at the end of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 5 when he jumped into the Danube and then 7 Jacobean doves lifted his scrotum into the air. True story.
While discussing the Met’s admission fee:
I wish that all museums were free. Artists always figure out a sneaky way to get in for free. Fake IDs, whatever it takes. Never pay. Make a fake press pass for all I care. They will never stop you.
“Can I drape you in velvet?”
Woud taffeta do?
On non-Banksy street art:
I love art in the streets. I love art anywhere. Put the Mona Lisa in a closet and I will look at it. I love the chaos of New York. I don’t want the street art to be cleaned up. I just wish that so much of it wouldn’t look the same; you know squiggly letters of the artists name in day-glow. You gotta be better than that.
On the recovered World War II artworks in Germany:
My guess is we will never see this tremendous cache of art in our lifetimes, I’m afraid. The lawyers and the auction houses will be the real winners of this, which only repeats the original historical tragedy. It’s like the demons of history won’t go away around this issue.
Why New York is a great place for young artists:
I have not seen the city so open since the late 1970s. Kids can now live in a crappy dump in any borough, except Staten Island–I don’t go there, I think it’s like Mob Wives and I’m scared. So young artists, come East. We have many, many uniforms for you. Come here, have your nervous breakdowns, get insomnia, and like vampires everywhere, be with as many of your own kind as possible. If you build it, we will watch.
When asked about who is the biggest fraud in art:
The dick-waving, masters of the universe, hedge fund art collectors who only buy what other dick-waving, masters of the universe collectors buy. What the market creates, let the market destroy. Bwahaha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.
When asked about what he would do if he had his own gallery:
Great question. But all gallerists are missing the same chromosome. I’m missing a different one, which means I would never be an art dealer.
To an artist who asked Jerry to critique his work:
It’s shtick. They all look pretty much the same. This is what you want to be doing with your only life? Cool by me. If you want to dance naked in public, however, you better dig deeper than blurry pictures of faces. But whatever gets you through the night is fine with me.
On whether a work of art has ever got him sexually aroused:
Are you a boy or a girl? I used to masturbate to Ingres’ Turkish bath painting as a child, which I guess isn’t as bad as the weather woman. And you? Do girls do this, too?
When asked whether he actually reads all his Facebook replies in their entirety:
Yes, absolutely. They. Complete. Me. I can’t live if living is without them.
On his vision for the ideal art market and how to achieve it:
I know I want artists to make money, and galleries, and I have nothing against collectors getting rich. But somehow all of this has gone way way off the deep end. But it will re-adjust soon enough. And art will go from being part of the 1% to its normal place of being part of the 5%.
On becoming an art critic:
I became an art critic by calling myself an art critic when I was a long-distance truck driver. Have you ever tried to write? Until then, I had never written anything in my life. It’s the worst thing on Earth. You can’t listen to music when you write, you’re alone 16 hours a day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just be whatever you are and tell people that’s what you are and then prove it. See you in the Twitterspehere.