Modernist Gatekeeper Hilton Kramer Dies at 84

Hilton Kramer, chief art critic for the NY Times from 1973-82, has died at age 84. Like many critics whose careers grew up with postwar American art, Kramer never feared voicing prescriptive, polarizing opinions. William Grimes,  who wrote Kramer’s Times obituary said “Mr. Kramer took dead aim at a long list of targets: creeping populism at leading art museums; the incursion of politics into artistic production and curatorial decision-making; the fecklessness, as he saw it, of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the decline of intellectual standards in the culture at large.” “I’m really not very angry at all,” he told New York magazine in 1984. “I am appalled at times; astonished, disappointed, anxious, worried. I think of myself as judicious.”

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