The cliché is that artists and the journalists who cover them have a strained, salty relationship. Like many clichés, this is based on some truth.

But art journalists are crucial to the functioning of the art scene at any level. Art lovers — especially potential art buyers — live busy and varied lives. There are only so many hours in the day. Journalists dedicated to writing about artists and their works provide a much-needed service in connecting artists with their audience.

And keeping up with everything that’s going on in the art world is a challenge. Thinking more broadly about art and its role in modern society is as well.

So, here are 10 contemporary, influential art journalists whose job is staying abreast with the art world. Keeping an eye on what they are writing about will mean keeping in touch with what’s going on.

By Peter Letzelter-Smith

1. Tyler Green

A specialist in modern art, Green has been hosting the Modern Art Notes Podcast since 2011. The show has been recognized by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA-USA) for its contribution to the art world at large. According to The Wall Street Journal, Modern Art Notes is one of “the most influential of all visual arts blogs [and you] won’t find a better-informed art writer than Tyler Green.”

Discover more at @TylerGreenDC

2. Adrian Searle

Holding down the fort as an art critic at The Guardian since 1996, Searle is also a painter by training, an academic, and a curator of exhibitions in the United Kingdom, United States, and Europe. He’s a preeminent source for what’s happening in the British art world.

Discover more at @SearleAdrian

3. Robin Cembalest

Transitioning from a traditional and wide-ranging role as a journalist, Cembalest is now a consultant on social media strategy for museums, galleries, and nonprofits. She was editor-in-chief at ARTnews until 2014 and is now one of the art world’s leaders in the social media sphere. She is also the driving force behind Niboristas, which creates networking and mentoring opportunities for young people from social backgrounds that the contemporary art world does not always open its doors to.

Discover more at @rcembalest

4. Jerry Saltz

He’s one of the best-known art critics in the world after years at The Village Voice — and since 2006, New York Magazine — and has been nominated three times for a Pulitzer Prize in his art criticism. Also known for his sharp, acerbic commentary and a few run-ins with the powers-that-be in the social media world (he actually got banned by Facebook).

Discover more at @jerrysaltz

5. Jonathan Jones

Another regular contributor to The Guardian, Jones has also been a judge for the Turner Prize, the BP Portrait Award, and appeared on the BBC’s Private Life of a Masterpiece. He’s known for his plainspoken verbal jabs at work he isn’t enthusiastic about, including an infamous tit-for-tat with the artist Grayson Perry.

6. Roberta Smith

She is one of the leading art critics and lecturers in the United States, with a regular column in the New York Times. She covers both institutional and outsider art and says, “… the great thing about art is that there’s more than you can ever know about, you can’t learn it all. And you’re lucky if you get to spend your lifetime trying to.”

Discover more at @robertasmithnyt

7. Jason Farago

A contributor to The London Review of Books, n+1, Dissent, Frieze, and The Guardian, Farago is an art historian by training who was an expatriate in London for years. Now based in New York, he writes for the New York Times and edits the art magazine Even.

Discover more at @jsf

8. James Elkins

A serious historian and theorist, Elkins writes not only academic works on fine art but also uses his webpage and other social media outlets as a forum for sharing his broad observations about the art world. His latest book is What Heaven Looks Like (Laboratory Books, 2017).

Discover more at @jameselkins

9. Christopher Knight

The longtime resident art critic for the Los Angeles Times, Knight has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize three times and was featured in the documentary The Art of the Steal. He covers the global art scene while concentrating on what’s afoot in California.

Discover more

10. Rebecca Solnit  & Adam Gopnik

Neither Solnit nor Gopnik are full-time art journalists but are influential writers who do regularly write about art, oftentimes bringing an outsider’s perspective to the sometimes insular world of contemporary art. Solnit is a contributing editor at Harper’s and her writings about a broad range of subjects have been published in numerous publications. She has also written museum catalogs and anthologies. Gopnik has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since the 1980s and is deeply aware of the New York cultural scene.

Discover more at @rebecca.sonit & @adamgopnik