funny experience today: art and reality

Today I was showing my CEP students the DVD “Art City: Making it in Manhattan,” a wonderful documentary that features such art luminaries as Louise Bourgeois, Chuck Close, Elizabeth Murray, and Ashley Bickerton.  In the beginning of the film, an art critic named Jerry Saltz introduces himself, saying “I’m an art critic,” and giving his phone number rather rapidly.

I made it a listening exercise for students to note down the phone number he mentioned.  When we were checking answers, it seemed that their version was one digit different from what I had heard. 

We could have listened again to that section of the video, but I decided that there was a more interesting way to find out which was the correct phone number:  by actually calling it.  First I tried my version.  It rang and rang: no answer.  Then I tried the students’ version, and to my surprise, a male voice answered:


Is this Jerry Saltz?

Yes it is!

Oh, excellent!  My students here at Pratt were just watching the video of Art City in which you give your phone number and we wanted to see if it worked.

He was effusive.  He said he loved Pratt, that he was a Pratt person, and wanted to know what my students were studying, and mentioned that the film was made twenty years ago, and I said that it was extraordinary that he still had the same phone number.  At the end of our brief conversation, he said something like “I love you: art conquers fear,” or something like that.

Then I held up my iPhone and had all my students shout HI to him.

So that’s my funny experience for the day.  Can you match that? 

Jerry Saltz

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