Tom Moody observed in my comments the other day that Jerry Saltz added quite a bit the New York Canon piece originally published in New York Magazine this April. The piece was recently reworked and published on artnet. “Is a canon really a canon when it changes from publication to publication…”, Moody rightly asks. He makes a good point, though I half feel I should let it slide given the number of pieces I’ve wanted to amend after they’ve gone to print.
Notably, Saltz takes the opportunity to issue a number of qualifiers to an inevitably problematic piece,
A canon is antithetical to everything the New York art world has been about for the past 40 years, during which time we went from being the center of the art world to being one of many centers. But New York magazine is celebrating its 40 year anniversary and asked me to think about what events make up a New York Canon of art.
In other words, “A New York canon can’t be constructed, but the piece wasn’t my idea”. Saltz goes on to describe his additions as an ever expanding cloud as opposed to a time line, and further defend his choice of non-New York based artists, a criticism lodged by blogger Tyler Green when the article came out. “I choose work that seemed to change the way that art looked in New York.” writes Saltz, a useful clarification for a piece that now includes a number of national and international artists, but one that only further underscores his disinterest in penning a definitive list. As Moody points out, the critic adds a number of artists to the
list cloud including, Matthew Barney, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Maya Linn, and Vanessa Beecroft. The piece itself is a useful survey of important New York art events over the last 37 years.