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Critical Mass: Everyone Loves Jerry S.

Photo by Ravi Sawhney
No, I’m not talking about Michael Richards‘ friend-in-need. I’m talking about that little guy, cozying up to that big guy, at a recent New York gallery show opening.
Time Out New York has just ranked (with explanations and comments) the top New York City cultural critics in eight different fields, and Jerry Saltz of the Village Voice came out Number One, not just among art critics but among all critics.
To arrive at these sure-to-be-debated rankings, the magazine “developed a system of grading, on a scale of one to six, using five categories: knowledge, style, taste, accessibility and influence. Next, we enlisted panelists, from publicists to curators and artists—in other words, the people most likely to be directly affected by criticism—to use our system to rate NYC’s arbiters of taste and to provide (anonymous) comments.”
ArtsJournal blogger Terry Teachout comes in sixth among theater critics; AJ-er and Newsday critic Apollinaire Scherr (who cogently critiques the rankings in her own blog), fifth in dance.
But why isn’t Terry listed for his music criticism, for which he is at least as well respected as he is for his theater reviews in the Wall Street Journal? That’s probably because newspapers or very high-profile magazines like the New Yorker seem to be privileged over smaller publications like Commentary (or the art magazines).
For the full list of Time Out’s rankings for visual art scribes, go here. You will see that Number Two is Jerry’s own wife, Roberta Smith of the NY Times.
All Hail the King and Queen!

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