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What It Means to Write About Art

What It Means To Write About Art: Interviews With Art Critics


The most comprehensive portrait of art criticism ever assembled, as told by the leading writers of our timeIn the last 50 years, art criticism has flourished as never before. Moving from niche to mainstream, it is now widely taught at universities, practiced in newspapers, magazines and online, and has become the subject of debate by readers, writers and artists worldwide. Equal parts oral history and analysis of craft, What it Means to Write About Art offers an unprecedented overview of American art writing. Jarrett Earnest's wide-ranging conversations with critics, historians, journalists, novelists, poets and theorists--each of whom approaches the subject from a unique position--illustrate different ways of writing, thinking and looking at art.These in-depth conversations about writing and art are situated within individual life experiences: for instance John Ashbery recalls finding Rimbaud's poetry through his first crush at 16; Rosalind Krauss remembers stealing the design of October from Massimo Vignelli; Paul Chaat Smith details his early days with Jimmie Durham in the American Indian Movement; Dave Hickey talks about writing country songs with Waylon Jennings; Michele Wallace relives her late-night and early-morning interviews with James Baldwin; Lucy Lippard describes confronting Clement Greenberg at a lecture; Eileen Myles asserts her belief that her negative review incited the Women's Action Coalition; and Fred Moten recounts falling in love with Renoir while at Harvard. Other interviewees include Hilton Als, Bill Berkson, Yve-Alain Bois, Huey Copeland, Holland Cotter, Douglas Crimp, Darby English, Hal Foster, Michael Fried, Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, Siri Hustvedt, Kellie Jones, Chris Kraus, Molly Nesbit, Jed Perl, Barbara Rose, Jerry Saltz, Peter Schjeldahl, Barry Schwabsky, Roberta Smith, Lynne Tillman and John Yau. Jarrett Earnest is a writer and artist living in New York City. From 2014 to 2017 he was faculty at the free experimental art school Bruce High Quality Foundation University (BHQFU), running their MFU programs in New York and Miami. He coedited the volumes Tell Me Something Good: Artist Interviews from The Brooklyn Rail (2017) and For Bill, Anything: Images and Text for Bill Berkson (2015). His writing has appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, the Village Voice, Los Angeles Review of Books, Art in America and San Francisco Arts Quarterly, among others.



  • Condition: Used - Good
    HPB condition ratings
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    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sold by: HPB Flagship
  • Seller rating:
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: David Zwirner Inc
  • ISBN-13: 9781941701898
  • ISBN: 1941701892
  • Publication Year: 2018
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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