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“We benefit from Saltz’s rare ability to articulate the mysterious alchemy of great art.” New York Times

“An entertaining, informative, and, at times, profoundly affecting read.” Canberra Times

“The most famous, most lionized, and arguably the most influential art critic we have.” – Artnet News

“The world’s most famous and celebrated contemporary art critic.”GQ

“One of the most powerful art critics today.”
Time Out

“Senior art critic and columnist for New York magazine, Jerry Saltz is as influential as they come. He demystifies the art world in refreshing plain speak and his latest book, focusing on the two decades since 9/11, promises to be another must-listen.” – Irish Times


From the Pulitzer Prize winner and author of How to Be an Artist, a deliciously readable survey of the art world in turbulent times.

Jerry Saltz is one of our most-watched writers about art and artists, and a passionate champion of the importance of art in our shared cultural life. Since the 1990s he has been an indispensable cultural voice: witty and provocative, he has attracted contemporary readers to fine art as few critics have.

Now, in Art Is Life, Jerry Saltz draws on two decades of work to offer a real-time survey of contemporary art as a barometer of our times. Chronicling a period punctuated by dramatic turning points – from the cultural reset of 9/11 to the rolling social crises of today – Saltz traces how visionary artists have both documented and challenged the culture.

Art Is Life offers Saltz’s eye-opening appraisals of trailblazers like Kara Walker, Hilma af Klint and Jasper Johns; provocateurs like Jeff Koons, Richard Prince and Marina Abramovic; and visionaries like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. With his signature blend of candour and conviction, Jerry Saltz argues in Art Is Life for the importance of the fearless artist. The result is an openhearted and irresistibly readable appraisal by one of our most important cultural observers.


Praise for How to Be an Artist:

“I wish I had read these rules forty years ago and carried them around like a bible. They are the generous, loving, enthusiastic, bullshit-free advice of a master communicator, just reading them makes me want to charge back into the studio”Grayson Perry

“Being an artist is a lonely pursuit – twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the rest of your life. Most of the time it hurts. This book will help the pain” Tracey Emin

“Joy is palpable in these pages. We need such thinking right now” – Apollo Magazine