Though he is the senior art critic for New York Magazine and author of How to Be an Artist, Jerry Saltz is not pretentious when it comes to talking about art.
His main objective is to get everyone thinking, reacting, and working to bring out their best selves. If that means saying anything that comes to mind when staring a painting, then go ahead and do it—and if you’re still scared, Jerry might just call you a “big baby.”
He says the easiest way to get into art is to see as much of it as possible. You don’t need an art history degree to put everything into broader context, just focus on your initial gut reactions. And if you’re really having trouble relating to a piece at all, he says to think about what you would like if you were the kind of person who did like it. Maybe the colour is a bit too much for you, but you can see why people might respond to it; maybe it’s too minimal, and someone could enjoy that aspect. In trying to put yourself in the shoes of other critics, you open up your mind to share their experiences.
As for abstract art? Try thinking about how the piece was made and when it was made as jumping off points for something to say, rather than “My kindergartner could have painted that.”