What hurts British painter and art critic Matthew Collings these days is the current state of contemporary art. Critical theory, that heavy brick of densely packed ideas accessible only to a small group of overly educated artists and critics, is the building block of much of today’s art, and Collings believes it builds a nearly impenetrable wall between art and its viewers. Unlike earlier periods when the masses simply didn’t get it–the rise of impressionism for instance–it is Collings’s view that today the artists themselves are responsible for whatever misunderstandings may arise in those great white boxes of SoHo and Chelsea. Having already tackled the current London art scene in his book Blimey! Collings lunges at New York’s galleries with the exacting eye of someone who knows exactly the difference between what he likes and what displeases him immensely. Readers might expect It Hurts then to be a cranky tirade against the contemporary art scene. But Collings is a true art lover, and he writes of artists like Frank Stella, Alex Katz, Jules Olitski, Andy Warhol, Bruce Nauman, Donald Judd, and many, many others with intelligence, deep interest, and occasional awe. Dealers, auction houses, and collectors don’t escape his attention–with this set, however, he is considerably less generous. Collings takes readers along on a romp through New York City’s galleries and artist studios and shares with them his incredible knowledge of the subject in a loose, chatty manner that is refreshingly free of jargon and art-speak. He has a definite point of view, but he puts it forth with such wit that, rather than take offense, those who disagree with him might want to ask him out for a drink to talk it over.