Make art, you big babies! An evening with Jerry Saltz

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If you’re listening to a radio show about art, it’s a safe bet you know who Jerry Saltz is. He’s an author and New York magazine’s senior art critic. He won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2018 for his essay, “My Life as a Failed Artist” and his first book, in 2020, was How To Be An Artist. His Instagram account has 581,000 followers, of which I am the most avid.

His latest book, a collection of his criticism, is called Art is Life: Icons & Iconoclasts, Visionaries & Vigilantes, & Flashes of Hope in the Night.

This episode is a recording of his talk, sponsored by House of Books, a small bookstore in arty Kent, CT. Largely directed to artists, it offered Jerry’s down-to-earth, tough-love motivational advice (after all, how hard can it be to make our [expletive deleted] mediocre work?); his views on art, of course, and his personal history (he drove a truck and has no formal art training). He also threw in a few mean impressions — of thinking David, by Michelangelo, and active David, by Bernini — and their significance to art history.

Mensch that he is, Jerry even bought the audience pizza. Everyone left smiling.

Thanks to Jerry and to House of Books for letting me record the talk.

The last thing I’ll say is that, like independent bookstores, and like artists,  community radio depends on the support of people who love those things, which add so much to life. Please, during this, WESU’s fall pledge drive, give what you can by clicking here. Thanks!

A novel inspired by Artemesia Gentileschi. The message: art heals

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Today, a blast from my Rhode Island past. More than two decades ago, when I was a reporter in Providence, I knew a writer named Carol Bonomo Albright and she crossed my radar recently to let me know she’d gotten a novel published. It features a plot element about art – the art of 17th century painter Artemesia Gentilleschi. If the name is familiar it may be because the Wadsworth Atheneum put on an exhibit of her work not long ago, and I toured it for Open Studio with my art historian friend Fran Altvater. I’ll put a link to that episode on the blog post. But back to Carol. She didn’t even know I had this radio show but of course I invited her on. Our conversation touched on Carol’s writing life, the novel – Hold Up The Head of Holofernes – and how art heals the three main characters. She reads three sections of the book, each set in a different time period, and we even had enough time to touch on Carol’s growing up in New York’s Greenwich Village. It’s a yeasty episode about art and writing. You’re going to enjoy it.

Mentioned in the episode: Caravaggio’s Judith beheading Holofernes, left, and Gentileschi’s. Which do you favor?

A link to the discussion of the Wadsworth Atheneum’s traveling Artemesia Gentileschi exhibit