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Jed Perl

JED PERL ISN’T WRONG about everything, but even when he’s right, he’s wrong. Perl is right to be suspicious of academics—most of us are far from brilliant. And he’s right to be suspicious of journalism, almost all of which is dreadful. And he’s probably also right that many dealers only like what sells. But in turning away from the “vanguard” of the contemporary art world, he is wrong to look to the tweedy, “cultured” intelligentsia for the true vine: Whether neo-con or old left, their ideas about art tend to be obtuse.

A Hilton Kramer protegé formerly of the New Criterion, Perl has been the art critic of the New Republic for the past six years, but while writing for one of the few literate magazines in America, he is little read by what he calls the “public” art world, that of slick art magazines and big galleries. Along with John Canaday (who wrote for the New York Times), Kramer (formerly

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