Peter Schjeldahl is an American art critic, poet, and educator.  He was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and grew up in small towns throughout Minnesota before arriving at Carleton.  An English major in the Class of 1964, he traveled to Paris for a year before settling in New York City in 1965.

Schjeldahl has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998 and is the magazine’s art critic. He came to the magazine from The Village Voice, where he was the art critic from 1990 to 1998. Previously, he had written frequently for the New York Timess Arts and Leisure section. His writing has also appeared in Artforum, Art in America, the New York Times Magazine, Vogue, and Vanity Fair. He has received the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute; the Frank Jewett Mather Award from the College Art Association, for excellence in art criticism; the Howard Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for “recent prose that merits recognition for the quality of its style”; and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is the author of four books of criticism, including The Hydrogen Jukebox: Selected Writings, and Let’s See: Writings on Art from The New Yorker.

During his career, Schjeldahl has written several books of poetry as well as art criticism.  As a contemporary postmodern poet, Schjeldahl believes that poetry should be enjoyed and understood by all readers.  His poetry succeeds without a great deal of complexity in language usage or style while maintaining seriousness and poignancy. He often addresses common experiences or familiar events, and fuels his poetry with historical and biographical context, allowing audiences to relate more intimately to his subject.

It is with great pleasure that Carleton College confer on Peter Schjeldahl the degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.