Blake Gopnik (born 1963, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American art critic who lives in New York. He is critic-at-large for BlouinArtInfo.com and writes on art and design for a wide range of publications. He previously spent a decade as chief art critic of The Washington Post and before that was an arts editor and critic in Canada. He has a doctorate in art history from Oxford University, and has written on aesthetic topics ranging from Facebook to gastronomy. While writing a comprehensive biography of Andy Warhol, he continues to accept freelance assignments from the New York Times, and The Art Newspaper. Gopnik is married to the artist Lucy Hogg and has one son, Aaron Gopnik-Ramshaw, who is a private investigator in Toronto.
Blake Gopnik was born in Philadelphia, in 1963, to the scholars Irwin and Myrna Gopnik with whom he moved to Montreal as a small child. He and his five siblings – Berkeley psychologist Alison Gopnik, The New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik, ocean scientist Morgan Gopnik, archeologist Hilary Gopnik, and Melissa Gopnik, managing director of the Boston area Rape Crisis Center – grew up in Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67. Blake was educated, in French, at the Académie Michèle-Provost, and then trained and practiced as a commercial photographer. He moved on to study at McGill University, where he received an honors B.A. in medieval studies, with a specialization in Vulgate and medieval Latin.
After receiving the Knights of Pythias Prize, Shakespeare Gold Medal, the McCullough Latin Prize and, the Commonwealth Scholarship, in 1989 Gopnik began doctoral studies at the University of Oxford. He completed a doctorate on realism in Renaissance painting and the philosophy of representation in 1994.
After receiving his PhD, Gopnik returned to Canada where he held minor academic jobs before switching to journalism. In 1995 he became the editor in chief of Insite, then Canada’s leading magazine of architecture and design, before being hired as the fine-arts editor at The Globe and Mail, known as “Canada’s New York Times.” In 1998 he became the Globe’s art critic and two years later was headhunted by The Washington Post, where he was chief art critic for the decade that followed. He wrote more than 500 articles about a vast range of art, from China’s terracotta warriors to Andy Warhol’s late works, but also pieces about design and food, fashion and beer. He was also a pioneer in Web video at the Post and launched The Daily Pic, a picture-a-day blog that still goes out to 120,000 followers at BlakeGopnik.com. In 2011 he was hired away by Tina Brown, the famous editrix, to be the art and design critic at Newsweek magazine and its Daily Beast Web site, where he wrote notable features on Warhol, Damien Hirst and the (still pending) collapse of the art market. He continues to contribute to the scholarly debate on neuroesthetics while also accepting freelance assignments from the New York Times, and The Art Newspaper. He is currently writing a comprehensive biography of Andy Warhol to be published by Harper Collins.