The Many Friends of Jerry Saltz
Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith, two of the most powerful art critics in New York, spent Valentine’s Day together seeing a few art shows—nothing out of the ordinary for the couple, married 18 years, who visit dozens of museums and galleries every week in service of their respective columns—hers in The New York Times, his in New York magazine. Among their stops on Sunday afternoon was the Guggenheim, where they spent three hours wandering about before going to the museum’s new cafe. Mr. Saltz got some cinnamon-ginger cookies and sat down across from his wife.Cool article in the NYT by Leon Neyfakh describing the Facebook following that art critic Jerry Salz has built via Facebook.
Then he made a confession. In a moment of passion and uncontrollable excitement, he said nervously, he had posted a link to her latest article for the Sunday Times on his Facebook wall.
Mr. Saltz, whose Facebook picture shows him standing next to Bill Clinton, has a lot of “friends”—4,970, to be exact—and he’d have even more if Facebook didn’t impose a limit on how many one user can have. The 58-year-old has been accumulating them steadily since November 2008, when a former student of his registered an account on his behalf, even though Mr. Saltz, a self-described technophobe, didn’t really know or care what it was.Read the article here.
In the year or so since, Mr. Saltz’s Facebook page has become a phenomenon, having undergone an unlikely, organic transformation that turned it from an inconsequential personal profile into a highly trafficked, widely read discussion board about the art world. Populated by dedicated and predominantly serious-minded artists, curators, gallerists and assorted art-world denizens—many of whom check the page compulsively and post their thoughts multiple times a day—the page has become home to a vibrant community and an essential extension of Mr. Saltz’s practice as an art critic.