JJ Charlesworth has been writing about contemporary art since he left Goldsmiths College in 1996, where he trained as an artist. He writes widely for magazines such as Art Monthly, Modern Painters, and Flash Art. He has published articles dealing with cultural policy and art in the U. K., and diverse issues of aesthetics and political engagement in current art. He recently launched a new magazine on contemporary art called THE FUTURE, and is curator at the Herbert Read Gallery at the Kent Institute of Art & Design.
Arthur C. Danto
Arthur C. Danto is an analytical philosopher whose entire academic career was spent at Columbia University in New York City, where he is Johnsonian Professor Emeritus of Philosophy. His main achievement is a systematic study in five volumes on the subject of representation, beginning with Analytical Philosophy of History (1965), Analytical Philosophy of Knowledge (1968), and Analytical Philosophy of Action (1973). The fourth volume, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art (1981), led to a second career, beginning in 1984, as art critic for The Nation. A collection of his critical essays won the National Book Critics Circle prize for criticism in 1992; and another, The Madonna of the Future (2000), won the Prix Philosophie in Paris in 2003. He is married to the artist Barbara Westman.
Critic and independent curator Michael Duncan is a corresponding editor for Art in America. His writings have focused on underrated artists of the twentieth century, West Coast modernism, twentieth-century figuration, and contemporary California art. His curatorial projects include “Pavel Tchelitchew: The Landscape of the Body,” Katonah Museum of Art, 1998; “The Big G Stands for Goodness: Corita Kent’s 1960s Pop,” Luckman Fine Arts Gallery, California State University, Los Angeles, 2000; “LA Post Cool,” San Jose Museum of Art, 2002; “Parrot Talk: A Retrospective of Works by Kim MacConnel,” Santa Monica Museum of Art, 2003; “High Drama: Eugene Berman and the Legacy of the Melancholic Sublime,” McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, 2005; “Richard Pettibone: A Retrospective,” Laguna Art Museum and Tang Museum of Art, 2005; and “Semina Culture: Wallace Berman and His Circle,” 2005-2006.
James Elkins grew up in Ithaca, New York, separated from Cornell University by a quarter-mile of woods once owned by the naturalist Laurence Palmer. He stayed on in Ithaca long enough to get the BA degree (in English and Art History), with summer hitchhiking trips to Alaska, Mexico, Guatemala, the Caribbean, and Columbia. For the last twenty years he has lived in Chicago; he got a graduate degree in painting, and then switched to Art History; got another graduate degree; and went on to the PhD in Art History, which he finished in 1989. (All from the University of Chicago.) Since then he has been teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently E. C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism. He also teaches in the Department of Visual and Critical Studies, and is Head of History of Art at the University College Cork, Ireland. His writing focuses on the history and theory of images in art, science, and nature. Some of his books are exclusively on fine art (What Painting Is, Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?). Others include scientific and non-art images and archaeology (The Domain of Images, On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them), and some include natural history as well (How to Use Your Eyes).
Eleanor Heartney is contributing editor to Art in America and Artpress and has written extensively on contemporary art issues for many other magazines. Her books include Critical Condition: American Culture at the Crossroads, Postmodernism, and Postmodern Heretics: The Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art. A book of essays titled Defending Complexity: Art, Politics, and the New World Order, was published by Hard Press Editions, in January 2006. Heartney received in 1992 the College Art Association’s Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism. Since 2003, she has been co-president of AICA-USA, the American section of the International Art Critics Association.
Following many years as Distinguished Lecturer in Art History at Rice University, Thomas McEvilley recently became the founding director of the MFA in Art Criticism and Writing Program at New York’s School for Visual Art. He was the recipient of a Fulbright grant in 1993 and has been awarded an NEA critic’s grant and the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism by the College Art Association. McEvilley has been a contributing editor of Artforum and has published hundreds of articles, catalogue essays, and reviews in the field of contemporary art, as well as monographs on Yves Klein, Jannis Kounellis, and Pat Steir. His books include Art and Discontent, Art and Otherness, and The Exile’s Return: Toward a Redefinition of Painting for the Post-Modern Era. His latest book is The Triumph of Anti-Art: Conceptual and Performance Art in the Formation of Post-modernism (McPherson & Company). He lives in New York City.
Peter Plagens was art critic and senior writer for Newsweek magazine from 1989 to 2003. Although, as a contributing editor, his writing still appears occaisionally in the magazine, Plagens spends his time these days in his studio, painting and working on a kind of sequel to his 1999 novel, Time for Robo. A retrospective exhibition of his work made three museum stops across the country in 2004 and 2005. In fall 2005, he was Mellon Distinguished Visiting Professor at Middlebury College, a title which would have tickled his mother pink and dumbfounded his father. Plagens lives in New York with his wife, painter Laurie Fendrich, and daughter Phoebe, a recent graduate of Kenyon College. At sixty-four he can still hit the occasional college three ball, if nobody’s guarding him.
Nancy Princenthal is a senior editor at Art in America and has written extensively for many other publications as well, including the New York Times, Artext, ArtUS, Art on Paper, Bookforum, and Parkett. The monographs she has recently contributed to include Alfredo Jaar: The Fire This Time and Catherine Lee (both Charta, 2005) and Robert Mangold and Doris Salcedo (both Phaidon, 2000). Princenthal has taught in the Visual Arts Program at Princeton University, the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, and elsewhere.
Carter Ratcliff is a poet and art critic. He lives in the Hudson River Valley. His poems were first published in 1968, in The World, the poetry magazine of the St. Mark’s Poetry Project, New York. Soon afterward, his first gallery reviews appeared in ARTnews. Since then his art writing has appeared in major art journals in the United States and abroad and in catalogues published by major American and European museums. Among his books on art are John Singer Sargent (Abbeville Press, 1982); Robert Longo (Rizzoli, 1985); The Fate of a Gesture: Jackson Pollock and Postwar American Art (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1996); Out of the Box: The Reinvention of Art, 1965-1975 (Allworth Press, 2001); and Andy Warhol: Portraits (Phaidon Press, 2006). Ratcliff’s books of poetry include Fever Coast (1973), Give Me Tomorrow (1983), and Arrivederci, Modernismo (2006). He received a Poets Foundation grant in 1969; an Art Critics grant from the NEA in 1972 and 1976; a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1976; and the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism, College Art Association in 1987. His editorial positions include editorial associate, ARTnews, 1969 to 1972; advisory editor, Art International, 1970 to 1975; contributing editor, Art in America, 1976 to the present; contributing editor, Saturday Review, 1980 to 1982; editorial board, Sculpture Magazine, 1992 to the present; and contributing editor, Art on Paper, 2001 to the present.
Lane Relyea is Assistant Professor of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University. His essays and reviews have appeared in numerous magazines including Artforum, Parkett, Frieze, Art in America, and Flash Art. He has also written monographs on Polly Apfelbaum, Richard Artschwager, Jeremy Blake, Vija Celmins, Toba Khedoori, and Monique Prieto among others, and contributed to such exhibition catalogues as Public Offerings (2001) and Helter Skelter (1992), both for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Raphael Rubinstein has been writing about contemporary art since 1986, mostly for Art in America, where he is a senior editor. He is the author of Polychrome Profusion: Selected Art Criticism 1990-2002 (Hard Press Editions, 2003) and co-author of monographs on Norman Bluhm and Claude Viallat. Peintures Croisées (L’Harmattan, Paris), a selection of his writings on art in French translation, was published in 1997. He is also the author of a collection of poems, The Basement of the Cafe Rilke (1997), and a book of autobiographical prose, Postcards from Alphaville (2000), both published by Hard Press Editions. His most recent book, translated into French by Marcel Cohen, is En Quete de Miracle: Cinquante épisodes extraits des annales de l’art contemporain (Editions Greges, Montpellier, 2004). In 2002, the French government presented him with the award of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He is on the faculty of The School of Visual Arts MFA in Art Criticism and Writing Program.
In the fall of 1998 photo critic Vince Aletti offered Jerry Saltz the job of Senior Art Critic for the Village Voice. After weeks of dithering about not being able to do it and worrying that it would destroy his social life, Saltz took the job. He has held it since then. It has made his life utterly fantastic but did, in fact, ruin his social life. He sees around forty shows a week in New York (the Voice doesn’t pay for him to go to even Brooklyn, let alone Europe), then spends the rest of his time writing about one of these shows. He’s a slow writer—unusual and not particularly auspicious for a weekly critic. In 2001 he was named a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, a huge honor as art critics almost never win Pulitzers, but one that got him thinking compulsively about actually winning one. (He was a finalist again in 2006.) Saltz has lectured at many big-deal American museums, where patrons and curators often come up to him afterward and say, “You should be on TV,” about which he’s never sure what they mean. He teaches regularly. Currently, at Columbia University—which is a really great school but not the famous-artist-factory that people think— The School of Visual Arts (a real underdog and a real good school), and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he flies in for a day of crits ten times a year (it sounds sexier than it is but is still excellent). He has no degrees. For six years in the 1980s he was a long distance truck driver (perhaps the only Jewish one in the country.) He loves his life and would only change a few things: a better car, maybe a country house, more hair, and some sort of guarantee that he’d be able to write for the Voice for another decade or so.
Katy Siegel is associate professor of art history and criticism at Hunter College-CUNY, and contributing editor to Artforum. She is co-author with Paul Mattick of Art Works: Money (Thames & Hudson, 2004). She has written extensively on modern and contemporary art, including articles and catalogue essays on artists Tomma Abts, Andrea Bowers, Andreas Gursky, Takashi Murakami, Richard Tuttle, and Lisa Tuskavage, as well as essays on collecting contemporary art, youth and the art world, and DIY culture. Most recently, she has completed a long study of the work of Jeff Koons (Taschen, 2006). She is also the curator of a touring exhibition, High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting, 1967-75, as well as the editor of the catalogue (DAP & ICI, 2006).