Jerry Saltz Needs Your Help to Talk About His Favorite Things

Jerry Saltz is interacting with the laypeople again. The art critic and Work of Art judge (and re-capper, and comment-responder) is turning a feature he wrote for New York Magazine last week into a book—and he’s asking for help on his Facebook page.

The “Rodney Dangerfield of the art world” compiled a list of his favorite paintings in New York, each accompanied by a charming, short blurb about why the work enchants him. (Of Kazimir Malevich’s Morning in the Village After Snowstorm at the Guggenheim, he writes: “Like an explosion in an airplane factory, the Cubo-Futurist masterpiece depicts gleaming robot peasants in curved metallic shards.”)  

Now he’s teaming up with wife and New York Times art critic Roberta Smith to expand the article into a book. The pair will select their 100 favorite paintings in New York museums and write 100-word entries for each. Saltz will likely also include submissions from a number of guest critics, curators, and dealers. 

Last week, Saltz announced (via his enormously popular Facebook page) an open call for “guest artists” to send in their own 100-word submissions.  This being the art criticism business, Saltz stressed that “there’s no money in this for you whatsoever.” (And later: “No how-no way”; “Again, no money.” Got it!) The critic does, however, promise a proper byline if the entry is used in the book.    

We look forward to the release of this New York art treasure map, but we have a feeling we’ll be waiting for a while. Saltz said in his post that it will take around 10 months to read the entries—and if they really have to edit 100 entries written by artists, the project could stretch well into 2012. We love artists, but concise writers they are not.

A selection of Saltz’s submission criteria below.  

-Do not use the word “I.” This entry is not about you; it is about the work.
-Don’t natter on about how “beautiful” or “scary” the painting is. Those words mean very different things to different people.
-All entries are subject to editing.

[via Two Coats of Paint]

Jerry Saltz Needs Your Help to Talk About His Favorite Things