Jed Perl in The New Republic:
Something very strange has happened in the past year or so. Knocking the art world has become the latest art world fashion. I am not referring to the voices of dissent that have been heard for decades from artists and critics who operate at the margins. What’s going on now is that a certain disaffection and even disgust has become an insider’s badge of honor, a mark of sophistication, so that artists and critics and curators who frequent the art fairs and auctions where new stars are crowned can be heard bemoaning the corruption of the scene.
Jerry Saltz, who writes for The Village Voice, personifies this new breed of insider disgruntlement. Writing about Damien Hirst’s astonishingly amateurish photo-realist paintings, which were at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea earlier this year, Saltz was dead-on accurate when he observed that “they are onlylabels–carriers of the Hirst brand. They’re like Prada or Gucci. You pay more but get the buzz of a brand.” Given all the attention that was lavished on these wanly rancid snapshots of a hospital corridor, a shelf full of pills, and a drug addict’s face, I can understand why Saltz thought he “heard the Drums of Destiny on the horizon” at Hirst’s “glitzy after-party, in an enormous tent on the roof of Lever House–amid dancing models, reveling stockbrokers and the same successful artists and art world showboats you see at every one of these events.”