As the Blogosphere Turns

We are bloggers, hear us roar
(Image from the National Park Service website)
So on the heels of my Hillbilly of the Week award a few weeks ago (by a pay-to-show gallery that I angered) comes a mass denunciation of bloggers as prairie dogs by the New Museum director, Richard Flood who, apparently, just learned about the blogosphere a few weeks ago. Flood even called Jerry Saltz "Mussolini," though Saltz is on FB and doesn't even have a blog, and does not share the same family tree as the reviled fascist.. .
Sometimes the blogosphere can be like a soap opera. So lather up and enjoy:.
. Hyperallergic, which broke the story and then followed up
. Edward Winkleman blog, which weighed in
. Jerry Saltz's review of Skin Fruit at the NuMu, with a personal note to Flood at the end


Rico said...

The remarks were unfortunate, to be sure. But, it seems fair to wonder if "art bloggers" are attempting to become another element of art establishment.

It is true that there are many things in the art world that need to change, -and at their best, some art blogs make reasoned and poignant criticisms of these areas. But I think the world of art blogging should remain a far more open playing field than the brick and mortar art world of galleries and museums.

Sharon Butler's post yesterday on #class raised some interesting questions, and from this discussion (as well as the current topic at hand), one has to ask if there is some inherent distinction between art bloggers as pundit-like artist/writers and those artists who keep regular studio blogs. In no way do I mean disrespect to your studio practice or work, or anyone else who chooses designate themselves an art blogger. I enjoy this blog as well as many others. But there is an emerging hierarchy, and I'm simply asking if this is a good thing. Is this the intention and purpose?

I ran a studio blog for 3 years, which I just shut down largely out of frustration with media overload, but also (as Winkleman alludes to in his response) out of feeling I was speaking to air.

Perhaps this microcosm provokes larger questions about blogging as participatory media versus blogging as human interaction and the active exchange of ideas. Which is better? I honestly don’t have that answer. Nonetheless, I would caution the shift of course toward the former, because I see it as an important, -if increasingly subtle distinction.

Let’s take our work and art seriously, but let’s maintain a sense of humor about ourselves.

(And by all means let’s cease the fascist, Nazi, Hitler and communist name-calling as a knee-jerk response to things we disagree with).

Lisa McShane said...

Thanks Joanne - this is all hilarious.

Joanne Mattera said...

Yes, it is hilarious. That's why, as Rico suggested, it's important to maintain a sense of humor about such things. I was going to title this post "Little Dog on the Prairie" but I opted for the soap opera reference.

On a more serious note, however, I do think it's odd for the director of what is supposed to be the most cutting-edge museum in New York City (and certainly the most controversial) to have been utterly unaware of the blogosphere. The Frick, maybe, but not the NuMu. Besides, these days, even museums have blogs.

Rico, your existential question deserves a post of its own, but let me say that art bloggers are individuals writing for an e-publication that is typically owner-operated, whereas writers for print tend to be aligned with (and paid by) a larger publication. The fact that bloggers could have achieved so much attention over the past few years suggests there's a hunger for communication as well as art coverage, both of which bloggers supply (usually for free).

Blogging is a meritocracy. If a handful of blogs or bloggers emerge as those ones most widely read, it's through their own hard work--good writing, good networking--and an audience that appreciates and responds.

LXV said...

As I said over on Winkleman, I think Richard Flood's remarks are disingenuous. I simply don't believe the man and it sounds like pompous, geriatric posing to me (a self-avowed knee-jerk). I know only what his bio says about the guy and I certainly don't travel in his circles, but I'm guessing I'm about as geriatric as he. I resent this kind of snobbish, petty one-up-manship in a person whose mission it is to move an Art Institution forward into the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

Casey Klahn said...

As a prairie dog ( and, BTW, a hillbilly ) I usually skip the museum skreeds. I am busy painting.

That makes three strikes against me: I don't pay attention to museum discourse; I paint; I blog. Man, next thing you know, somebody will point out that I drive a truck.

I must be moving up in the world, though. I did get an invite from the gallery in Chelsea ( that wants me to pay to play ). Don't laugh. I also received an e-mail from the equivalent institution on Union Square in SF. No wonder I turn to the blog for an outlet!

Now, I do want to get a little more serious for a minute. I want to reiterate for the art blog public that there is a difference between an art blog, and an artist blog. No one is any better than the other. One concerns itself with the art world, and the other is an authentic expression of the artist, usually a form of studio journal. Just wanted to add that.

Once in a while, if I may add, there are blogs that straddle the two. Joanne Mattera's is one of those, and I enjoy that very much. I can well afford the time to read here.

Keep it up, Joanne. I'm pullin' for you.