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DING DONG
THE WITCH IS DEAD

by Charlie Finch
 
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My good friend Hilton Kramer, who died this morning, had the worst eye of any art critic that I knew.

In 1995, when he used to appear regularly on my WBAI radio show, I was always touched by his love for certain artist eccentrics such as Aristimedes Kaldis, but nevertheless Kramer never met a piece of art whose badness could not impress him.

He was in love, for example, with the Salander-O'Reilly stable, especially terrible painters like Graham Nickson and Paul Resika. This love of the worst kind of conservative painting underlined the basic fact that Hilton hated artists, because he was jealous of them.

What especially surprises me is that, long after the New York Times fired him, liberal art critics who should know better, like my colleague Peter Plagens, continue to acknowledge Kramer as an avatar of gestural painterly expression.

The bottom line is that Hilton Kramer knew nothing about art, because even his male gaze was, in the end, impotent and tasteless.


CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).


 



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