<strong>Peter Schjeldahl</strong> image

Peter Schjeldahl is the senior art critic at the New Yorker, where he’s written since 1998. Prior to his tenure at the New Yorker, Schjeldahl wrote on art for the Village Voice (1990–1998) and a number of other publications, including Artforum, Art in America, New York Times, Vogue, and Vanity Fair. Schjeldahl has published several books of poetry as well as art criticism, including The Hydrogen Jukebox: Selected Writings, and Let’s See: Writings on Art from The New Yorker. He has received the Clark Prize, the Frank Jewett Mather Award, the Howard Vursell Memorial Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is known for his lively and witty prose, which celebrates art while reveling in the beauty and power of language.

Featured Writings and Talks

A Fearful Frenzy: The Art Market Now
Women’s Work: Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum
Boola Boola: The Yale University Art Gallery Reopens
The Art World as a Safe Space
Notes on Beauty
Blackbird Interview with Peter Schjeldahl

Peter Schjeldahl on...

American culture

Andy Warhol was maybe the greatest American artist. He covered the whole thing. He got that our national culture––to the extent that we have one––is superficial. Other countries think we're superficial––and they're right. But they don't understand that we are profoundly superficial. We agree- we come together on the surface. You go into depth, and you've got an immediate gang fight.

Art and politics

Political art is always troubled. I think political art isn't always bad art, it's almost always terrible politics. Politics is always fast and rough. Art is slow and refined. It's like... trying to use a feather duster to dig a foundation. You know, like, keep at it long enough and like, you know... I mean, it reduces the subjectivity of the maker. It selects the political, it narrows the focus.

Elitism

People who are interested in art are an elite; they’re a self-selected elite. Anyone can––in America, in a democracy––anyone can be an elitist. Just nominate yourself, you're in. Nobody can keep you out. And actually, museums, the whole visual arts field, has a special limitation. It helps in any area of life to be rich, but it's not crucial.

Moderator

Secretary David J. Skorton, M.D. image

Dr. David J. Skorton is the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian. Skorton, a board-certified cardiologist, previously was the president of Cornell University, a position he held from July 2006. He was also a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and in Cornell’s Department of Biomedical Engineering at the College of Engineering. An ardent and nationally recognized supporter of the arts and humanities, Skorton has called for a national dialogue to emphasize the importance of funding for these disciplines.

Follow Secretary Skorton on Twitter

Panelists

Rebecca Rabinow image
Rebecca Rabinow

Director of the Menil Collection

Peter Schjeldahl image
Peter Schjeldahl

Senior art critic at The New Yorker

María Magdalena Campos-Pons image
María Magdalena Campos-Pons

Cuban-born artist

David Marcus image
David Marcus

Theater artist and a senior contributor to The Federalist

(Banner image: Nam June Paik, "Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii" Smithsonian American Art Museum, © Nam June Paik Estate, Gift of the artist)