Schjeldhal moves quickly to characterize an artist, like a cat pouncing on his prey.
Artists, collectors, curators, and dealers are all needed for the system to function, but the role of critics is up for grabs.
“There is something nightmarish about Jeff Koons,” Peter Schjeldahl began in his 2008 review of the artist’s retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago for the New Yorker. This verdict had long arrived — it has always seemed that the critical wagons were circled on the subject of Koons.
If the howlings this week surrounding the fate of the American Folk Art Museum building are any indication, a low-stakes outrage has gripped the culture pages of virtually every newspaper and magazine in America.
CHICAGO — Much like the city of Detroit’s epic economic saga, this story took me on a wild goose chase. I’m an art journalist reporting on Detroit from Chicago — or, if you would prefer, the Motor City from the Windy City — and that seems odd. The media craze around Detroit just won’t quit, and Chicago is increasingly finding itself implicated in it all. Perhaps the artists are to blame.
New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl has retracted his position endorsing the sale of the Detroit Institute of Arts collection, a stance which provoked a furor driven in no small part by Hrag Vartanian’s denunciatory piece from Wednesday. Schjeldahl strikes a sincere tone in the brief update and apologizes for his “hasty” conclusion, opaquely quoting Hyperallergic (“a blogger”) in conceding the oversimplicity of his analysis and the significance of cultural patrimony.
Would New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl suggest that Greece sell the Parthenon to pay its crippling national debt?
At its best, modern art begs the question, “Is this art?” There is a death wish that threads modernity – death of God, death of the author, death of history, even the death of the modernity itself (the post-modern) but perhaps most insistently of all, is the existential interrogation that is modern art.