Saltz was attracted to art criticism, he explains, by reading Artforum, but thankfully he has shaken off that influence. His writing is driven entirely by immediate experience. Or as he puts it: “My ideology is that I hate ideology” (p. 426). He never hesitates to reject pretentiousness: “Sometimes the art world, presented with a vacuum, overinterprets it or assumes that something that says nothing must say something—why else would all these other important people be saying otherwise?” (p. 259). He doesn’t use many literary allusions. Nor does he offer larger historical perspectives, references to older art. When he calls Velázquez “the Shakespeare of painters” (p. 52), then for once his gift for phrase making fails him. Saltz has a short attention span, and so is the ideal commentator on art that mostly resists contemplation. When he reviews Arshile Gorky, admiring him while noting that “his hard-won surfaces and meticulous shapes strike people as labored or too idealistic” (p. 371), you see the limits of his sensibility, which is formed on contemporary art.
more from David Carrier at artcritical here.