The ‘New Yorker’ Names Jackson Arn Its New Art Critic, Succeeding the Late Peter Schjeldahl

Arn recently reviewed shows by Yayoi Kusama, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Sarah Sze for the magazine. 

Jackson Arn's author cartoon for The New Yorker, where he was recently appointed art critic.

Writer Jackson Arn has been named the New Yorker’s new art critic. 

Arn was born in Arizona and is based in New York. He graduated from Columbia University in 2015 and has written for Artforum, The DriftThe Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Nation, among other publications. He began writing for The New Yorker earlier this year. 

Stepping into his new role, he will succeed longtime New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl, who died in October 2022 from lung cancer. They are big shoes to fill: Schjeldahl, a staff writer at the magazine since 1998, is widely regarded as one of the greatest critics of his time or any other, a writer of instantly identifiable prose whose love of language fueled his love of art. 

Arn himself eulogized Schjeldahl in a recent Art in America article.

“Journalism,” Arn wrote in the piece, “is overflowing with talented people who know better but consider themselves failures because they’re not writing Real Literature. What’s special about Schjeldahl isn’t that he was immune from this kind of self doubt but that he felt it so intensely and carried on anyway.”  

“If he was especially strong when wrestling with an artist he both admired and loathed,” Arn continued, “perhaps it’s because he had plenty of practice wrestling with art criticism itself, eventually arriving at a gruff, good humored affection at least as deep as love at first sight.” 

Arn shares Schjeldahl’s gift of evocative descriptions written with a strong point of view. In recent New Yorker articles, he called Sarah Sze’s current Guggenheim exhibition the “niftiest migraine you will ever experience” and the sculptures of Yayoi Kusama’s recent David Zwirner show “exactly on brand and resoundingly dull, with neither the trancelike boredom of Minimalism nor the wise-ass boredom of Pop.” 

“I’m thrilled to share the news that Jackson Arn has joined the New Yorker as our art critic,” the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, wrote in a memo to staff this week. “He’s already done some wonderful work for us, including reviews of a Georgia O’Keeffe show at MOMA, a van Gogh exhibit at the Met, and a new book about the mid-century art scene that flourished just around the corner from the office. I’m so pleased that he’s officially joining us in this important role.” 

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