Kenny Schachter Profiles Jerry Saltz

Art dealer mines his long personal friendship with New York magazine critic.

One is a major American art dealer. The other, a major American art critic. The two come together beautifully in a piece written by Schachter for the U.K. edition of GQ magazine.

A photo posted by Jerry Saltz (@jerrysaltz) on

Schachter has personally known Jerry Saltz and Saltz’s wife Roberta Smith, who write respectively for New York magazine and The New York Times, for over three decades. With that comes deep personal knowledge:

What’s less known is that Saltz’s father operated a lingerie company after emigrating from Estonia and his mother committed suicide by jumping out of a window when he was only ten. With no female presence whatsoever-he’s got two brothers and two stepbrothers-there were no sisters, aunts or even grandmothers to mollycoddle him, which surely colored the outlook of the man we know today: a walking, talking figurehead for all that’s good, bad and ugly about art, artists and the art world. And which may go some way to explain his ubiquitous pornographic provocations and obsessions (more on that to follow).

Schachter retraces Saltz’s recent ascension to reality TV stardom and Instagram provocateur, before tackling topics like the critic’s objection to vertiginous prices paid for works of art. Schachter turns many a colorful phrase and paragraph when describing his friend:

Saltz is the anti-critic critic, making critic-art out of the whole cloth of himself. Saltz is human Xanax; always “on”, he’s forever cheerful, an antidote to life’s chores and routines, maybe shying from his family history of despondency. I can’t remember ever seeing him grumpy or imagine him out of character, even in the midst of pillow talk with Smith.

Schachter also writes regularly for Artnet News. Check out for example his recent piece about a fire that ravaged his London home.