Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Silence of the lambs


Being an art critic and not a politician, Jerry Saltz devotes a hefty amount of space on his FB page for political discourse and his followers are more than willing to sing along to the tune of comments that frequently soar into the high hundreds. This is fine in and of itself as it makes for a well rounded and informed art community that is willing to reach beyond art per se. My issue is that in light of the happenings on Wall Street why is there not one word about it on Jerry's page? Considering the protests are on the lips of almost every artist I know, not a word has been uttered by Jerry or his followers... not a peep. What could be the reason for this strange phenomenon in which such a hot topic among the art world is met with an absolute black out? One art world figure suggested that many of the artists in Jerry's circle are at the protests. Well, I thought about this and the numbers didn't work. Jerry has close to 5,000 FB friends and at least 500 active contributors and even if all 500 are at the protest there is the issue of laptops, Iphones and quite a bit of down time for posting. So why isn't Jerry Saltz or his vast circle of  followers entering the discourse regarding the protests and why isn't anyone in the art world questioning  this? Somehow it is not business as usual. My feeling is that there is a delicate situation going on here. We are all aware that the NY Times - you know, Roberta Smith's employers have not exactly been protester friendly during all of this. Also New York Magazine - you know, Jerry's pals just did an anemic one page spread on the protesters (opposite an Emirates ad that takes up an equal amount of space)  titled "Meet the Occupants" which at the very least makes light of their cause with cherry picked stats and imagery that seems to mock between the lines. Now, this being said, it would appear that Jerry Saltz is put between a rock and a hard place concerning open discourse on his Facebook page regarding the protests. Although, given his hard nosed stance on speaking truth to power, it is a bit disconcerting to witness this solidarity of silence from both him and his entire flock. In fact it is downright eerie considering Jerry's tribe is otherwise all fire and brimstone on hot topics such as this. Politics aside, there are implications that are far worse here; might one suppose that this type of behavior might creep into one’s approach as a critic? You better believe it does.  When it comes right down to it there is no ideal system, not the art world or any other world and individuals as well as groups are imperfect, built to spill even. At times whether we like it or not, and more often than not, we are all subject to our own self interests even if it flies in the face of what is perceived as right. So I guess the thing to be learned from all this is when you feel the urge to get up on the soap box … you might want to speak easy. 

"Okay. I’ve had it with tolerance/ complacency about lying cynical republicans. Watch this vid ...Then watch response... FB friends - be honest. If you’re a republican who agrees with this, stand up, be counted. Have courage of your convictions. I promise I WILL delete you from my friends list. I promise"
                                                                                                                                  - Jerry Saltz


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