1. New York’s art critic, Jerry Saltz, shared his 33 rules for becoming an artist — or for just living more creatively — and posed as artistic legends for three different covers (“How to Be an Artist,” November 26–December 9). @RyanTylerThomas wrote, “This … article is worth at least as much as an art degree.” Artist Robin Herrick commented, “He’s so right about getting past blocks and developing a workmanlike attitude towards creativity.” Painter Margery Gosnell-Qua added, “I stayed up reading it, and I couldn’t put it down. Many truths, and funny, too.” The story also had resonance for readers outside the art world, with Pacific Standard’s Nicholas Jackson writing that Saltz’s advice “is really just a guide to being a better human, and y’all should read it.” Of the covers, stephengregoryartist wrote, “Looooove the Warhol,” and pilimontilla added, “This is brilliant!” Not everyone was charmed, though. @rickagne tweeted, “There is a way to represent [Frida] Kahlo’s artistic style without having to dress up like her. Don’t be lazy, folks.” Still others told us the story had lasting value for them: Artist Suzanna Scott wrote, “I’ll be reading and rereading this for a while,” and @RozlynA tweeted, “I wanted the actual pages in my hot little hands, so I ordered from the website. Will consider it a manual for my next year in art.”
2. Senator Bernie Sanders facilitated a monumental shift in American politics and created an opening for a progressive candidate like him to run — and possibly win — in 2020. New York’s national correspondent Gabriel Debenedetti asked whether that would be enough for the senator or whether he still has designs on the highest office in the land (“Inside Bernie Sanders’s Head,” November 26–December 9). @wideofthepost tweeted, “Interesting and really well written Bernie profile … re: his 2020 thinking, chock-full of anecdotes and fairly balanced.” Columnist Jeff Sparrow responded, “Debenedetti quotes a Sanders adviser arguing that ‘the 2020 challenge will be making sure [Sanders] can inclusively get the class message out in a way that doesn’t make it seem like he’s dismissing identity issues.’ That formulation exemplifies the thinking that blighted so many progressive assessments of the 2016 race. It frames ‘class’ as a narrow identity (understood through a variety of familiar tropes: male, rural, white, socially conservative, etc.), implicitly in conflict with other oppressed groups. But what if we think of class as a relationship, an antagonism between the many who sell their labor power and the few who purchase it? Suddenly, the American working class becomes innately diverse.” Heather Gautney, author of Crashing the Party and a former Sanders organizer, wrote, “Debenedetti says that while Bernie has done much to popularize progressive ideas, midterm losses among the lefty candidates he inspired could spell trouble for him in 2020. It’s not clear why, however. In 2016, Bernie opened the horizon of political possibility in America, which over the last three decades had come to exclude anything to the left of neoliberal political economy. The diverse crop of new progressive candidates that emerged in 2018 (just two years after Bernie’s run) and close finishes in states like Florida, Texas, and Georgia are clear signs of growth, not failure.” Jacobin’s Micah Uetricht wrote, “Bernie’s criteria for running for president seems fair to me: ‘If it turns out that I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump, then I will probably run,’ ” while @Ange_Amene obviously disagreed: “Bernie Sanders is out of his mind.”
3. Lena Dunham spoke to Allison P. Davis for what may well be her last profile for some time (“ ‘Yeah, I’m Not for Everyone,’ ” November 26–December 9). Roxane Gay tweeted, “This piece on Lena Dunham is really well written. I am struck by something, which is how much leeway certain people are given to make mistakes over and over and over.” New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik added, “This is a really good profile. You can’t separate art from artist … but it often felt like Dunham’s celebrity — both the good and negative attention — overshadowed the quality of her work, and it sounds like it hasn’t been great for her, either.” The ultimate seal of approval came from the website Lainey Gossip: “[Davis], along with Caity Weaver and Taffy Brodesser-Akner, is among a group of really special, really gifted writers refusing to let the celebrity profile die … This is such dizzyingly great work it should make people mad. In a good way. In a competitive way.” David Klion tweeted, “I’m a little concerned for Lena Dunham, whose life seems terribly sad. This profile is great, though,” which (presumably) prompted Dunham to chime in, “To anyone who is concerned that my life is sad: Do not worry, I am eagerly waiting for a box of flannel nightgowns to arrive!”
*This article appears in the December 10, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!