A woman in Europe named M_____ 0______ (name permission pending) is researching "artblogs" and sent these questions to artist & blogger T.Whid. He forwarded the list and my slightly edited response is below. All this stuff vomited out, probably, because it was so shocking to see this level of interest about something American galleries usually say "huh?" about:
• After having done research on the artblog phenomena for a couple of months now, I’m surprised to find that not many artists use this media. Personally I would find it an ideal space for artistic exhibition, exploration and exchange. Do you have an explanation to this?
• What made you start blogging?
• What keeps you blogging?
• Do you perceive your blog primarily as a personal or as a professional project?
• Does your blog affect your work process as an artist?
• Do you know of other artists blogging (besides M.River)?
• Do you know of artists reading your blog?
• Do you feel part of the blogosphere? I mean do you feel part of a community of (art)bloggers?
• Have you met any problems being a blogger?
Dear M_____ O______,
The non-responsiveness of the art world to blogging is a recurring theme with me. I write from New York but the syndrome is widespread. I attribute it to several factors:
(a) somewhat rapid change in tech--just as the galleries are getting all their fancy dot-com era Flash sites up and running, this thing called blogging comes along. Worse, some bloggers make fun of the Flash sites! Galleries and artists tend to rely more on tech experts to do their updating and even if they know about blogs, not everyone has (or should have) the personality for daily ranting.
(b) art galleries (and artists who produce for them) are still stuck in the era of steam trains and butter churns. In this world, it's all about print--hard copy reviews from recognized institutional authorities that can be sent to collectors and curators. Ethereal pixeled criticism is regarded as too impermanent and likely the work of lone cranks.
(c) institutions like the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council perpetuate the divisions between gallery art and new media art by requiring painters to send in slides for fellowships, residencies, etc., whereas a new media artist can just send a URL. This idea that a photo emulsion glimpsed through a Magic Lantern contraption on a metallic screen in a dark room is the "best" or "most accurate" way to judge physical work is très 19th Century. Once the medium of information exchange changes (to URLs, etc) then metacriticism linked or patched into those resources will seem more natural.
(d) the economic (collector/donor) base of the art world includes many tech-savvy people, who stare at computer screens all day for a living and by damn, when they want to relax they don't want more screen stuff, they want to immerse themselves in the healing balm of the "old ways"--viewing pigment-impregnated vegetable oil smeared on coarse cloth; standing in a clean quiet room having elevated discourse about exquisite, handmade objects; reading elegantly typeset reviews on solid paper stock with good offset printing (see (b) above). Dealers and artists tend to follow the collectors' preferences.
(e) as T.Whid mentioned [in his response to you], many artists are quite simply tech-phobic and/or uninclined to check in on a blog. Some are excited by the idea of jpegs of their work being viewable all over the world and the subject of ad hoc critical dialogue while their shows are still up; others don't give a hoot and would rather avoid the computer and wait 9 months for an Artforum review (possibly) to come out.
PS There is an emerging community of art blogs out there that tends to draw its lines of
subject matter narrowly, chewing over news of museums, auction sales,
gallery gossip, old school art
appreciation... I'm more interested in the crossover of visual art, tech,
electronic music, film, science fiction, and politics than just replicating
the art world online. I sometimes get linkage from the pure art sites when I
do something "out there" like
criticize the Whitney, or one of the major magazines, but rarely when I just
talk about a show (in Williamsburg or wherever), and never when I stray
outside their specialized field of interest. I'm happy for the traffic, of
course, those are just some patterns I've noticed. I do read and link to some of
those blogs. As for blogs causing me "problems," I
was a print critic for years so I'm already screwed. Actually the blog has
been quite helpful in clarifying that my art practice and thoughts about
other artists are intertwined--it was a way voluntarily to take the
institutional edge off my writing.
I like how "his" questions were in numbers and you answered in letters. Very cool.
"a photo emulsion glimpsed through a Magic Lantern contraption on a metallic screen in a dark room"....yay! that's a satisfying description of 35mm slides, still for some reason, a requisite format for art presentation. feh.
Okay, smart guy, I changed Mister O's questions to bullets (a first for this page!). I once had a job that left me no time to do art and write. Once.
Hey, I posted my replies too :-) I'm not as polite as you and posted her name for a while.. I've removed it now however.
Thanks--here's a link. I hope other people post their replies in your comments. I have another post in the works that continues this train of thought. Along similar lines to M.River's response, which I'm going to not-so-politely post here:
I follow a blog only because I can get more info than if I sat by the coffee table, as it is where I research online, or side table--in my case, to get a wider view of what is going on. If collectors are, and I don't personally know that they are, hunting the pulse through, and only through, regimented matter, it tells something--there is more room for collectors.
i think its post studio liberation for the artist. as stated, no 2"x2" slides that never see the light of a slide projector. no editors. no "we dont like that one, tom. lets leave that out." i think it provides truer access to the artist. done properly, no trips to pearl paint, the framer, no art movers, no storage units, anyone price an artists garrett in the village or a soho (or even redhook) loft lately ? none of that. direct access to the artist is better economics.
It's a fun survey and it's made me very late for work. I put my answers here at MTAA.
Just some background: twhid sent the survey around to a handful of people, some of whom cc'd him their emailed responses to the Danish student. I read some of them and they were pretty good. He is inviting those (lurking) folks to post their previously emailed answers--it is not an open call. Your responses are fine but I just want to clarify what he's asking.
I'm a dork. sorry all.
As I've said elsewhere, the more the merrier :-)
Not so much on artblogging per se, but reading this thread I found some overlap with issues I’d recently touched on regarding the nature of the web as a meeting point of public and private discourse. I see that Sally picked up on that in her comments at MTAA, which is gratifying.
Alex that's beautiful. J., J., and A., (backseat bloggers, ie: reading over my shoulder) agree. A. says, "that's having your cake and eating it too, which is the way it should be."
Gee, thanks. And I’m really only teasing Tom; we can’t avoid these sorts of contradictions, and in fact they’re the source of the tensions that actually force us to figure something out.
I knew you were kidding but I've been giving some thought to reconciling the apparent contradiction of dissing slides while using MSPaint. I'd say both make fun of the cultural lust for the "perfect copy," whether it's the shuddering sensitivity that insists on analogue projection to gauge delicate wisps of glaze, or the graphics geek addictively demanding more resolution! more resolution! This gets into what you're saying about the therapeutic slap of seeing minimalist art in situ.
Also, this is the second time someone's called my interest in old tech a religion: it's the price you pay for having convictions in a post-relativistic artworld. The second post about "artblogs" I'm working on touches on some of the other issues you raised.
There is a digital artist showing here in town, big photoshop collaged work printed out in inks on paper as massive high rez panels. Someone complained to me that this kind of image needs to be backlit in order to really pop, and I thought the comment was an interesting indicator of how images on screens are becoming yet one more medium available to us. I agree, by the way. My preference is to see work that was generated on the computer, on the computer display. One reason is as sort of purist 'truth to materials' response that is my own problem to get over, the other is simply that light renders colour so much better than ink does. I'll take RGB over CMYK any day.
CMYK is such a miserly gamut. And it's soooo hard to get the pixels to move on paper.
Hey, I said that! About one artist in particular...
Yes you did. I vaguely had that post in mind. Messing around with PHP scripts to programatically generate JPEGs (which again are just instuctions to a machine) got me thinking again about the instruction/algorithm idea.
Hey, as long as Tom is mentioning me again (http://www.digitalmediatree.com/tommoody/?23146 and/or http://www.digitalmediatree.com/tommoody/?23964), thank you very much, (and BTW, I have found both of these posts extremely provocative, full ideas I've barely reckoned with in my work), please let me post the URL for my main weblog: http://chrisashley.net/weblog, which is a change since his posts.
Not sure if it's art, but it's algorithmic. (3000 randomly sized, placed and colored circles.)
To continue the tanget away from the core topic ...
I think most artists don't do blogging or "digital art" is because they don't have computers or don't want to spend the time it takes to learn the applications.
Damn, the spammers are forcing me to close all my best threads! They tend to be the long ones, with lots of URLs. Sorry, all, I had to close this.