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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Jennifer Dalton Makes Art from Jerry Saltz’s Facebook

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With the June launch of Bravo’s popular reality show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz, who is a judge on the show, has achieved actual celebrity. Only a short time ago, he was famous (at least in the art world) for his prodigious use of the social-networking site Facebook. At least one artist took note — or, better put, took notes. Jennifer Dalton, who has achieved a measure of art-world fame herself, for her sociologically oriented conceptual artworks — one of them is a gumball machine that measured viewers responses to the recent recession, another features toy figurines of high-profile contemporary art collectors — has created a piece that meticulously and elaborately tracks the activity on Saltz’s page. IN THE AIR asked Dalton why the critic’s social networking interested her.

“I became interested in Jerry Saltz’s Facebook page as an amazing site of written dialogue and as a place where culture is being created on the spot,” she told us in an email. “I think my piece, and Jerry Saltz’s Facebook page itself, tells us that a lot of people in the art world crave dialogue and community, and when a space is welcoming enough people really flock to it.”

Not that Dalton has remained at arm’s length from that desire for dialogue. A few months ago, she and fellow sociologically inclined artist William Powhida co-organized a series of events at Edward Winkleman’s New York gallery for a show they called “#class.” Dalton added, “We opened up the gallery as a space for open dialogue, and the willingness to participate among artists — and people who care about art — was overwhelming.”

Jennifer Dalton's "What Are We Not Shutting Up About? (Five Months of Status Updates and Responses from Jerry Saltz's Facebook Page)"

We’re willing to bet she hopes the response to her new piece is just as enthusiastic, and she’ll soon have the chance to find out: it is currently on view at Chelsea’s FLAG Art Foundation as part of her exhibition “Making Sense,” which, per its title, attempts to parse not only Saltz’s Facebook page, but also Artforum’s yearly “Best of” roundup of shows and the New Yorker’s representation of artists.

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