Writing about art--or, writing about art in an interesting manner, anyway--isn't an easy gig. There are a number of factors at play here (getting invited to all the shows, but then being bitched about holistically, etc.), but one of the main reasons that being a fresh voice in arts writing is tough is that it requires a general willingness to let yourself look like an ass. Case in point: If you think that every Whitney (or Oregon) Biennial is a tepid affair, that Deborah Butterfield is played, and that Neo Rausch spits hot fire, then who really cares what you have to say? Let me guess--the Stones kick ass and Limp Bizkit sux? Public digression runs counter to our natural instincts. Do you really think that everyone in the Art World truly believes that Robert Gober is as insanely gifted and transcendent as the glossy magazines would have you believe? Of course not. But if you're at a gallery opening, hobnobbing with your old professors, curators, and fellow artists, and declare that Matthew Barney represents the height of tedium, call me first so I can rush over to hear the embarrassed silence.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, when you write about art, this instinct for social preservation is magnified exponentially. Imagine that Art in America calls you and asks for a review of the Banks Violette show at the Whitney. This is huge for you: a 1,500-word essay about one of the country's hottest artists who peppers her death-metal imagery with smart references to German Romantics like Casper David Friedrich. Everyone you talk to tells you how kick-ass her work is. But you when you finally see the show, you hate it. Find it completely dull and derivative.

When you sit down to hammer this thing out, here are some of the thoughts that will go through your head: "50,000 people are going to read this review. This is one of the biggest moments of my career. Roberta Smith from the New York Times will probably read this. Banks Violette will definitely read this. This has to be the greatest piece I have ever written in my life."

If deep in your heart, you know that, after sorting through those nagging doubts, you would state in your opening paragraph that the Banks Violette show is "completely dull and derivative," please step forward. The art world needs you.