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Ken Johnson (born 1953 in Montclair, New Jersey) is an American art critic who lives in New York City. Johnson is a writer for the arts pages of The New York Times, where he covers gallery and museum exhibits.

Johnson attended Brown University and State University of New York at Albany, earning a degree in art from the former in 1976 and a master's degree in studio art, with a concentration in painting, from the latter in 1977. In his journalism career he has written on contemporary art for several art magazines, newspapers and publications. He published for the Art Review in the New York Times, doing reviews for artists in NYC such as Don Doe.[1] He was the art critic for the Boston Globe from 2006-2007.[2]

He is also an educator, having taught courses in painting, drawing, electronic art, art history, and art criticism at various universities in upstate New York. He teaches a writing seminar in the School of Visual Arts in art criticism and writing in New York.[3]

His book Are You Experienced? How psychedelic consciousness transformed modern art was published In June 2011.[4]


In November 2012, Johnson's review of the Now Dig This exhibition at PS1 for the New York Times caused considerable controversy. It was considered to be charged with racist biases, consistent with his apparent dismissiveness of women and artists of color in numerous past reviews. In response, an online petition was launched, demanding that the paper acknowledge their editorial lapse in allowing such a text to be published in its current form, and to address the larger issues of race in contemporary art.[5]


  1. ^ Johnson, Ken (2003-03-14). "ART IN REVIEW; Don Doe". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  2. ^ "Johnson to be Globe's new art critic (August 4, 2006)". The Boston Globe. August 4, 2006. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
  3. ^ "Art criticism at the SVA". Archived from the original on 2010-05-03. Retrieved 2010-02-07. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Ken Johnson, Times Art Critic, Taken To Task In Open Letter". HuffPost.

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