Is that your fi­nal jux­ta­po­si­tion?

Pasatiempo - - Onstage This Week - Rob DeWalt The New Mex­i­can

Pasa: Did you have any wor­ries about be­ing taken se­ri­ously af­ter jump­ing on board what is es­sen­tially Top Chef with a dif­fer­ent medium and cast? Saltz: When it was of­fered, I never con­sid­ered say­ing no to it. I got hys­ter­i­cal, sure. I was ter­ri­fied, be­cause in the art world — well, TV and movies never get it right. It’s prob­a­bly im­pos­si­ble to get it right, be­cause the art world can be such an in­te­rior, in­su­lar place. It’s not sexy the way fashion and food are. Watch­ing peo­ple saw wood or wait­ing for paint to dry is not a mass-au­di­ence thing. But, re­ally, I love watch­ing that. And as I wrote in my last on­line show re­cap, I love watch­ing peo­ple en­gage in this in­fin­itely odd ac­tiv­ity. I’m thrilled at the prospect of try­ing to prac­tice art crit­i­cism for a wider au­di­ence. Pasa: So there are no big hopes and dreams that this show is go­ing to make the art word more ac­ces­si­ble. Saltz: No way. Not for me. Pasa: It is what it is. It’s a re­al­ity show with artists, some es­tab­lished, oth­ers rather wet be­hind the ears. Saltz: Yes, and hon­estly, when peo­ple say to me, “God, you’re on a re­al­ity tele­vi­sion show,” I al­ways say, “Ex­cuse me, it’s ac­tu­ally worse. I’m on a re­al­ity game show. There are as­sign­ments, time con­straints, judges say­ing sup­port­ive or snotty things. ... I would love to make my own show called The Real Art Crit­ics of New York City, or maybe just Bush­wick, where I’d go around and they’d just film me. But I’m think­ing that’s not go­ing to be a big mon­ey­maker.” Pasa: You never know. Saltz: Right. Any­way, I think what I do on the show and what I do in real life aren’t so dif­fer­ent. I’m try­ing to lis­ten to the words in my head and ar­tic­u­late them in a clear man­ner, out loud, of why this ob­ject might be more in­ter­est­ing than that one. Not just to say, Oh this is good or bad. I’m com­pletely un­in­ter­ested in that. And then the au­di­ence can agree or dis­agree. So tell me how what I do on tele­vi­sion and what I do at my desk are dif­fer­ent? They’re re­ally not. I’m not get­ting rich off of this, ei­ther, you know. Pasa: Are you ex­pect­ing any fall­out from your par­tic­i­pa­tion in the show in terms of your sta­tus as an art critic?

Gang of form: from left, Jerry Saltz, Jeanne Green­berg Ro­hatyn, Bill Pow­ers, and China Chow on Work of Art: The Next Great Artist

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