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Installation view of "Charles Ray" at Matthew Marks Gallery, 2009
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Dude, You’ve Gotta See This
by Jerry Saltz

The New York Times art critic Ken Johnson is writing a book saying that "psychedelic drugs and psychedelic culture have had a deeper, less obvious influence on the art of the past 60 years than has generally been acknowledged." Johnson doesn’t mean that the intermingling of art and drugs is new; they’ve probably been canoodling as long as both have been around. And his idea isn’t about artists who actually use drugs. Sober-looking work is made by stoners and addled-looking art is made by teetotalers. Van Eyck’s hyperreal paintings are among the most hallucinogenic works ever made. In some ways, all art is a hallucination. Johnson’s idea has to do with the widespread availability and use of psychedelic drugs and the increasingly common understanding of their effects.