Hot Cold Heavy Light collects 100 writings—some long, some short—that taken together forma group portrait of many of the world’s most significant and interesting artists. From Pablo Picasso to Cindy Sherman, Old Masters to contemporary masters, paintings to comix, and saints to charlatans, Schjeldahl ranges widely through the diverse and confusing art world, an expert guide to a dazzling scene. No other writer enhances the reader’s experience of art in precise, jargon-free prose as Schjeldahl does. His reviews are more essay than criticism, and he offers engaging and informative accounts of artists and their work. For more than three decades, he has written about art with Emersonian openness and clarity. A fresh perspective, an unexpected connection, a lucid gloss on a big idea awaits the reader on every page of this big, absorbing, buzzing book.
Peter Schjeldahl has been the art critic for The New Yorker since 1998. Prior to that, he wrote art criticism for Seven Days and the Village Voice. A poet as well as a critic, he was the recipient of the 2008 Clark Prize for Excellence in Art Writing. He lives in New York City.
Jarrett Earnest is the author of What it Means to Write About Art: Interviews with Art Critics (2018). A frequent lecturer on contemporary art, he lives in New York City.
“Peter Schjeldahl is a great artist. . . . His specialty is the searching, summative essay of a few pages on a single artist. . . I know that art is only a small part of living, but it’s also true that there are people whose makeshift faith lies in the best things human beings have made. Schjeldahl grants those artifacts a corresponding dignity, with all the meaning we knew they had but could not describe ourselves. It’s astonishing; it astonishes.”
— Charles Finch
“Bruce is no longer The Boss; Peter Schjeldahl is! Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light
is the apex of artistic criticism and commentary.”
— Steve Martin
“The great New Yorker
art critic writes like an angel about everyone from Vermeer to Picasso, Donatello to Andy Warhol, in beautiful, enjoyable, accessible essays across 30 years.”
— Philadelphia Inquirer
“This is a rapturous read for art lovers and all who appreciate dynamic critical essays.”