Among the staff exodus over at The New Republic after owner Chris Hughes fired the magazine’s top editor, Franklin Foer, is Jed Perl, the magazine’s ever-cranky art critic for two decades and the author of such pieces as “Liberals Are Killing Art” and such lines as “I realize that calling an artist a pompier can degenerate into little more than name-calling.”
Perl’s letter of resignation has been making the rounds on Twitter:
This is to inform you that I am resigning as art critic for The New Republic as of today. I have held this post for exactly twenty years. My first piece, “Twombly Time,” appeared on November 14, 1994. I have regarded it as a great honor to have my work included both in the 100th Anniversary Anthology and the 100th Anniversary Issue. But I can no longer in good conscience even imagine my work appearing in the magazine. Your assault on the magazine has nothing whatsoever to do with print versus digital or with age versus youth. Chronologically, you are young—and some of us who are now leaving the magazine are older. But to me you seem old—old in the conventionality of your fast-forward thinking that goes nowhere. What you have done to The New Republic has broken the hearts of many people in their twenties and thirties—people who would like to take part in the great intellectual conversation that The New Republic has been for a hundred years and is no more.
Perl is also a fairly regular contributor The New York Review of Books of late, having written about the Jeff Koons show at the Whitney for that publication, and the Robert Gober exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. He has a piece on Picasso in the December 18 issue of the NYRB for anyone looking for a Perl fix.
The New Republic will not publish another issue until February, as the exiting contributors pulled their pieces for the issue planned for December 15, which was subsequently canceled.