Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Love and fear

Jonathan Santlofer: Did you have any training, any art education?

Peter Schjeldahl: No, none.

Jonathan Santlofer: So all of the art history that you bring into the writing you’ve learned or read on your own — things that you bring to it, interpret for a particular piece.

Peter Schjeldahl: Yeah, and this is true, by the way, of Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg, too. The idea of going to school to be an art critic is a very crazy idea. I educated myself in public, which is a very painful way to learn — by writing and then discovering that I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about. But you remember the lessons vividly. Also, everything I’ve learned about art was (a) because I was actually interested, or (b) I was actually interested in covering my ass because of what I was writing about. Love and fear, the two strongest emotions we have. It all starts with emotion.

— From “Mask of the critic”, an interview published in Guernica in January 2006.

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