Let’s see… the combination of an interesting, positive review of Peter Schjeldahl’s book in an issue of “Modern Painters; “plus the compelling cover featuring a John Currin painting, along with having enjoyed his writings in “The New Yorker “ made me want to take a look at “Let’s See”. I thought I would shortly find it on the shelf of some book store without any problem. Schjeldahl is popular and is probably the best, at least the most honest and interesting critic working on today’s art scene. The book would surely be falling off the shelves. Strangely; for some reason it wasn’t. The case was that I wasn’t seeing “Let’s See” anywhere.
I decided to order it. How could it miss becoming a best seller? I went to the information desk at “Barnes & Noble” and told the clerk I wanted to order a book. He said “alright, what’s the title?” I told him “Let’s See” and paused. He looked at me waiting as if for me to make up my mind. Realizing his misunderstanding I told him “let’s see“is the title.” He said “well; let’s see if we have “Let’s See” on our order list.” They did and I was just a little closer to seeing “let’s See” for myself.
In just a few days I found a message on my answering machine that went something like this…” Mr. Jones I’m calling from “Barnes & Noble” to let you know that your book has arrived…wait a minute… (To himself) let’s see…Ok; Ok there it is … (back to me) yes we have it; your book has arrived. You can come in during the regular store hours and pick it up. “
After finally seeing what “Let’s See” was about, it was (no pun) eye opening. The writing was superb, an excellent look into the mind of this poet/ critic that has a true love of art and the reporting of it. Schjeldahl is sharing his discoveries with the hope that the reader might get to witness the many shows he reviews in person. He talks about the odd but interesting things he encounters among his travels like being helped by a woman and following her to the Hirshhorn when looking for an exhibit there in DC. He relishes a talk with John Currin on the painting techniques of the “Old Masters.” Techniques that Currin uses today. The Whitney Biennial and personal chats with gallerists are also among his offerings. His insights are always more than the typical. He is both academic and readable. These are wonderful dialogues that always expand the vocabulary; the knowledge and the awareness of art.
Peter Schjeldahl continues to visit the numerous galleries museums and studios we can’t get to. Schjeldahl will be our eyes and ears he even gives a sense of how these places smell. He continues to write; a sequel is certainly in the making. Well…let’s see…