Is that your final juxtaposition?
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