Monday, October 29, 2007

With Deepest Sympathies

It is the most unpleasant stage of the grieving process: anger. But at least we now know Charlie has finally made it past his denial. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his editor during this difficult transition.

Labels: art blogs


Blogger Tyler said...


10/29/2007 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous bambino said...


10/29/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

So, Rabbi Edward, how was California?

10/29/2007 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

how was California

In a word: smokin'

10/29/2007 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Ed sez:
In a word: smokin'


10/29/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous joy said...

BWA hah hah ha.

10/29/2007 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Nat said...

Hey, no press is bad press. I never had seen your blog before he triggered my curiosity. People can tell that Finch is just being provacative, and it gets your name out there. I bet you get a jump in your hits.

10/29/2007 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I'm not complaining, Nat. I agree, the only thing worse than being talked about is...well, you know.

As I've noted frequently here, Mr. Finch was kind enough to accept my invitation to the the first exhibition I ever organized. He had encouraging words for me back then that I totally appreciated.

This kind of blustery hyperbole is Charlie's niche in the art press. I'm mostly flattered he included my blog in his rant. Admittedly, it's a bit like being roasted by Don don't expect anything all that original or insightful, but you chuckle all the same (mostly out of politeness).

10/29/2007 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

I don't think enough people read Charlie Finch anymore for him to be a driver of traffic.

Art blogs tuned him out en masse long ago.

10/29/2007 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Just for the record -- anyone on the CC list of the e-mail samizdat regarding Charlie heard this from me already -- just for the record, I think he may have been trying to publicize blogs he likes, but doing so in character as a curmudgeon yelling at kids to get off his lawn. He's probably laughing at how seriously people are taking it. I mean, come on, it's the Internet!

I don't know Charlie's writing nearly well enough to be sure about this, but it's the feeling I get.

10/29/2007 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Tyler: Maybe I'm being extra dense today, but I read your post, which links to Finch's essay on Natalie Frank. And you list a few bloggers who objected to this column. I read the column and then I read some of the objections and I find myself scratching my head, because his essay doesn't strike me as worth a lot of outrage, and the objections I read were so vague and distant as to leave me unclear on what's being objected to.

I also read Finch on Alex McQuilkin, which was sexual, but I thought appropriately so given that McQuilkin forces the issue.

I can't say Finch is my favorite guy. In fact I don't really read much art criticism at all, although when I'm in a doctor's waiting room I'll pick up New York to read Saltz. But I don't know that he deserves anywhere near this level of frothing dislike.

Maybe you can make this clearer for me.

10/29/2007 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

well....I read your blog and Artfag and James and so on, so, at least I'm reading if that counts for anything...two make a crowd,right?

10/29/2007 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Further: I read Finch on Elizabeth Murray and Lisa Kirk and what I got from those was that he really, really hates their work. I'm not sure why he hates Murray so much, but I think I agree with him about Kirk -- that show looks dreadful.

Still scratching my head.

10/29/2007 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Henri said...

...Dinky Winky??!!! Priceless!

10/29/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

at least I'm reading if that counts for anything

Thanks Pedro.

It means everything actually. The blog isn't the only ongoing dialog I have about art, it's merely the most far-reaching on a daily basis. By design it's meant to be as open as possible and the fact that folks pop in and read when they can is immensely flattering and gratifying to me.

What Charlie leaves out of his transparent screed about the relatively lower readership of blogs is that all of us writing one built up our audiences from absolutely nothing. Most of us don't have auction prices, gallery listings, other writers and news to bolster our readership. Then again, we're not trying to be what Charlie is. We're merely having a conversation online and enjoying the process and participation. Those threatened by it are misinterpreting it in my book.

10/29/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

Chris sez -- I think he may have been trying to publicize blogs he likes, but doing so in character as a curmudgeon yelling at kids to get off his lawn. He's probably laughing at how seriously people are taking it. I mean, come on, it's the Internet!

I think Chris is on with this, as is Edward referring to Charlie's niche.

Finch is a pundit, and as the case is with other pundits such as Ann Coulter, what you're seeing and reading is really just a stage act.

21st century vaudeville.

Pundits are the new ventriloquists, throwing their voices into their own mouths.

10/29/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

I think Charlie was sufficiently and accurately exposed years ago.

I think what's really sad is that Peter's piece should put a focus on blogs that deserve attention: Ed, Libby & Roberta, etc. Charlie couldn't stand that so, in a shameless bit of me-too-ism, he found a way to make an even-more-bloated-than-usual spectacle of himself.

Better question: How about all the super blogs that weren't discussed in Peter's piece (because space wouldn't allow everyone to be there): Carolyn Zick, Brent Burket, Marshall Astor, and so on.

10/29/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Dinky Winky??!!! Priceless!

Indeed. Does anyone else get the sense that Charlie must have once received unknown praise from a junior high school English teacher for his daring use of the Rhyming Dictionary his Nana gave him for his 13th birthday and his entire writing career is little more than a desperate effort to relive that magical moment?

As Tyler notes, there are countless must-read blogs that would have/should have been included in Peter's round-up. The fact that Charlie would note with derision that we all read each other suggests he doesn't get it. It's a conversation.

10/29/2007 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Bill sez:
Finch is a pundit, and as the case is with other pundits such as Ann Coulter, what you're seeing and reading is really just a stage act.

I think Ann Coulter really is like that, though. I think her persona -- the character she plays, if you will -- may be a little exaggerated, but ultimately it's who she really is.

As far as these roles, go, though, I've said many times: If you pretend to be an asshole, at what point is it no longer pretending? By which I mean that pretending to be an asshole is itself assholery.

Still, as something of a critic myself -- albeit an amateur -- I sympathize with his plight. You see something you don't like, but you can't just write "I don't like this." You have to explain why you don't like it, and what you don't like about it, and you have to make it entertaining, even to people who might not know exactly what it is you're critiquing. And you have to do this not once, but over and over again.

And sometimes you see something mediocre. Not very bad or very good, something in between. And it's very hard to squeeze out words on mediocrity -- especially if you have to keep up a wordcount on a deadline. So you end up getting a little more overwrought than you really are just to fill space.

The nice thing about writing a blog as opposed to writing for a living is, if I don't see anything I feel like writing about, I don't have to write. And if I don't feel like writing a lot, I can write just a little.

Then again, every time I don't write I can feel my audience (such as it is) slipping away. I was getting 400 visitors a day before the summer; now I'm hovering at 140 a day, possibly because I didn't write at all for four months.

Anyway, I've been writing criticism of one kind or another for over a decade now and so I understand how your authorial voice can become a character you have to live up to. And I can't really fault Finch for it.

And I still don't see why everyone's got their knickers in a twist over some of his apparently more objectionable columns; maybe it's because I, too, am a fat, balding, middle-aged pervert.

10/29/2007 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

I think Charlie is a must and a really important voice in the artworld, specially is the art criticism area, he is daring and strong and critical were most are lame and boring and uptight...

we should learn more from the sports press...

I do believe this one article is right there on the border of insulting...but

Sunday I was wandering what the bloggers reaction would be after reading it, as a writer myself I expected a non-reaction, that would be the best way to put this issue to sleep and hurt the writer's ego, It would hurt mine too if no one at all commneted on the issue.

but...the conversation is what blogs are about,'s very interesting to find out what the ethics on this new medium and how the conversation develops in years to come. Blogs are so youn still.

10/29/2007 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Henri said...

I'd rather Charlie NOT be exposed thanks... seriously, I don't think you want to leave anything that dangerous out to be children and librarians no less.......Dinky Winky???!!! Fantastic!
Hey that reminds me...are you guys really right wingers? Please let us know....

10/29/2007 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Henri said...

I'd rather Charlie NOT be exposed thanks... seriously, I don't think you want to leave anything that dangerous out to be children and librarians no less.......Dinky Winky???!!! Fantastic!
Hey that reminds me...are you guys really right wingers? Please let us know....

10/29/2007 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

...the conversation is what blogs are about, so

Remembering that is ultimately what convinced me to open up a thread on Charlie's piece. My first instinct was to let it go, not thinking it wise to interfere when someone is so effectively arguing their own irrelevance, but a few comments on the previous thread and a few emails I've received convinced me there are tangential topics of interest involved and, well, to be honest, I'm jet lagged and exhausted, so this is the best post I could come up with.

I did entertain myself on the flight home yesterday with a favorite revenge game of mine, deciding who Charlie's literary parents might be (i.e., the game is to complete the statement, choosing only from literary characters: Charlie Finch is the illegitimate love child of X and Y). For his wink-wink-nudge-nudge pompousness tinged with a really curious blend of treachery and obsequiousness, I've concluded Charlie is the illegitimate love child of Wilde's Lady Bracknell and Tolkien's Smeagol. YMMV.

10/29/2007 12:12:00 PM  
Anonymous bambino said...

Dinky Winky......


Enchanting :P

10/29/2007 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I'm still waiting for my Patriarchy membership card to come in the mail.

10/29/2007 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Don don't expect anything all that original or insightful

No, not Don too....

10/29/2007 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous joy said...

Smeagol... meets Jabba the Hutt


10/29/2007 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger R said...

Ed, I think the Charlie's article could be called Link Baiting Strategies.

10/29/2007 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous joy said...

I'm still waiting for my Patriarchy membership card to come in the mail.

hey chris, me too!

10/29/2007 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Ed, I think the Charlie's article could be called Link Baiting Strategies.

Why do you think I haven't linked to it?

Although I have it on good authority that his blog article is Charlie's most highly read piece in months. No prizes for figuring that one out.

Smeagol... meets Jabba the Hutt

Normally I would discourage such ad hominem responses, but with all the maturity I can muster, all I will say is "He started it."

Besides, it's healthy to unleash now and then, so ... heh!

10/29/2007 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Henri said...

"I hear there is a valuable prize awaiting the first recorded visitor..." Is this true? Who won the email privileges? (Priceless!)

Dinky Winky????!!!!

C'mon Ed you've got to come up with something better than Wilde and Tolkien. Pull your finger out mate! Oscar wouldn't leave that sitting there. How about a contest? Best clever one-liner retort wins a ticket to the "not-so-vast right wing conspiracy ball!"

10/29/2007 12:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But, but, you said the same thing about blogs in Arnet Mr. Velez!?

Luc T.

10/29/2007 12:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Charlie. People don't want blogs with good taste. People want blogs that taste good.

10/29/2007 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous joy said...

Smeagol... meets Jabba...

Normally I would discourage such ad hominem responses, but...

Ed! I'm sorry, I actually meant it as a backhanded compliment of sorts: the world would be a poorer place without Smeagol (who I adore,) and/or Jabba (an institution). I don't quite adore Charlie, but he fills his shoes admirably.

10/29/2007 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


Dinky Winky (and all its rhyming variations) is charmingly nostalgic for me. Granted, I haven't heard it since the third grade, but I'm not much of a believer in Regression Therapy.

You've noted your admiration for the term three times here now though, so I'll throw you a bone and suggest Charlie's nickname in my grade school would have been probably something akin to:

"Pinch-an-inch (or a few thousand) Finch."

Joy, I too would very much miss Mr. Finch's absence from the dialog. He's very entertaining.

10/29/2007 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Natalie Frank and Laurel Nakadate should beat Charlie up in a dark alley. Oh, wait, he'd probably like that.

10/29/2007 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Ed sez:
Pinch-an-inch (or a few thousand) Finch.

You know you're fat when you can pinch an inch -- on your forehead.

10/29/2007 01:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finch represents the Page Six-ification of art writing (that was what Coagula was all about) and it is an unargruable fact that artists and their keepers often take themselves way too seriously. I was watching an episode of Art 21 on public television last night and some artist was talking about his work using the most ludicrous language. One could not help but laugh at the t.v. The words didn't quite live up to the art objects on display. Although I am more tham happy to pick apart Finch's sloppy writing, I still read his new columns because he is an enjoyable stylist. We all know that goos sylists are hard to come by in the current field of art writing. Saltz is so popular because of his enjoyable writing style. Style does matter. Disagree with Finch or not, he knows how to draw you in. The fact that he decided to make his columns very brief is also an aesthetic choice. I personally prefer the essay form when I write about an artist but Finch's blurbs aren't too long or short. He gives us just enough to get his drift. I feel that all of the criticism about Finch on display here is well deserved, however it is heartening that everybody realizes that this is not an issue that should take up a lot of our time.

10/29/2007 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"good stylists" not "goos sylists"

10/29/2007 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Henri said...

Pinch-an-Inch Finch!!!! Perfect - Fabulous!
Why not have a bit of fun mate? Charlie certainly did - I suspect he's reading this right now. What the hell else does he have to do all day anyway - Heglian Dialectics? Pull the other one...

to Chris-
you know you're fat when you can pinch-an-inch - on the other thumb.

10/29/2007 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am printing a t-shirt!

A few actually...

10/29/2007 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

anonymous Luc T, maybe you didn't read it well, this is what I said:

"And secondly, 2006 marked the downfall of the blog as a legit publication for art criticism. If you actually read art blogs, you quickly come to realize that they have become essentially what we always thought they were, vehicles for shameless self-promotion."

This is not the same a Charlie, I even have a blog in Puerto Rico, so, yes, they are vehicles of self promotion, nothing wrong with that...and they are not useful vehicles for art criticism, but great for inmediate art conversations...

My participation in these forums also proves that I believe in the blog what's your point?

10/29/2007 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous ml said...

Actually I read Jerry Saltz because he sees the world differently than I do and I learn something from him. I do not read Finch because he sees the world as a series of stereotypes and I do not learn anything. I don't even find him entertaining. Years ago I thought he was funny. Now it seems his imagination has solidified.

10/29/2007 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AiA blog article + Blogger Show publicity + Jerry Saltz address to blogger call-out = Charlie's article.

10/29/2007 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger christopherlee said...

It's a nice little "bitchy" cyber snit. Charlie IS a gifted writer though. He has a touch of the bard, guess he's tired of gettin' slagged off on the blogs.

10/29/2007 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

guess he's tired of gettin' slagged off on the blogs

That's a good possibility, I'd say, and in general, of course, he's right to fight back. I wish he had fought back with some sort of critique that made sense, rather than the ad hominem bile, because most of what's written about Charlie on the blogosphere is in response to his prose, not his life.

10/29/2007 02:35:00 PM  
Anonymous bambino said...

Maybe you might be right christopherlee, but I think everybody (ecspecially people who consider themself as a writers) should be very professional about the writing and respond. Because there is hundreds or maybe thousands people are reading.

10/29/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

demands that writers and artists "be profesional" are not what i want to hear from arts advocates.

10/29/2007 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Fuck professionalism!

10/29/2007 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


First of all, you're projecting.

No one wrote that an artist should "be professional," only that writers should be. In the context of discussing an art critic, a hat Charlie dons from time to time, I would think that everyone would agree to that. In this instance, where he's clearly wearing a pundit cap, I think his seeming lack of objectivity, while funny, is still problematic, if only in that it cuts into his credibility in general.

Secondly, though, I should clarify that although no one above wrote than an artist should be professional, I will. An artist should be professional!

Unless of course, he or she doesn't want to be treated like a professional. In which case, they should just carry on as they wish and leave the rest of us out of it.

10/29/2007 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous bambino said...

I just simply ignored anonymous comment. As I always note, why bother to have a discussion with someone, who is not real to him/herself.

I think if you are an adult, you should be professional no matter what business you in.

and chris LOL :P

10/29/2007 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wasn't projecting, you are "catching", or something. that was just a statement (but yes, prompted by the previous commenter).

10/29/2007 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

And here I thought I'd lost my shot at a solo show at Dinky Winky's. Bambino, put in a good word for me!

10/29/2007 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bambino, you are a riot with the always demanding non-anonymity, yet posting anonymously.

"bambino" with the "adult" comment with the :P is triply rich.

i love/hate this blog. i can't stay away. but i'll never send slides!!!

10/29/2007 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Bambino isn't anonymous. Plenty of people know who he is. He gave me a bottle of water at the last opening, in fact. Bambino is a great guy.

10/29/2007 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


Bambino is not an "anonymous" commenter. He's an pseudonymous commenter, and everyone who reads here regularly knows who he is offline anyway. The difference is important.

For anyone who doesn't know, he's also my husband. You're as free to ignore him as he is you. You're not at all free to consider yourself welcome here if you don't pay him (and every other commenter here) the respect he has earned with his honest and clearly attributable opinions. You could be Charlie Finch, for all we know, and as such, your anonymous comments are suspect.

I measure all anonymous comments by their tone. If they're snarky, I generally dismiss them. Anonymous snark is useless unless funny.... I'd prefer pseudonymous and unfunny comments to anonymous ones any day.

While I don't always agree with Bambino, as least he's providing a means for other readers to accumulate a picture of where he stands on the issues. With anonymous commenters, you can't do that and in a sense, that's less valuable for the long-term dialog.

10/29/2007 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Seconding Chris re: Bambino.

10/29/2007 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Noel said...

Ah, Charlie. I was happy to bust on him a long time ago as Captive411 before he found that post and called my employer to have me fired. It worked because Charlie was actually on her payroll (I wasn't aware at the time) and criticizing a critic that was on the payroll seemed to be a conflict of interests.

One problem with Charlie is that he barks and has no bite. Another is that he tries to dish it out but he certainly can't take it. I'm not sure how he still exists in the writing community. Way to light up bloggers Charlie. What's a matter, little kids getting to hard to beat up on the playground these days?

10/29/2007 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Ed says: "You could be Charlie Finch, for all we know, and as such, your anonymous comments are suspect."

If that's not a damn good reason to shed one's anonymity, I don't know what is. Add a picture, too.

10/29/2007 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger prettylady said...

Gosh, y'all put me to shame. Pretty Lady finally breaks her 'sweetness and light' persona, and everyone else goes all philosophical and forgiving.

I thought 'Dinky Winky' was remarkably stupid, though.

10/29/2007 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I thought 'Dinky Winky' was remarkably stupid, though.

yes, and it hurt my feelings too... ;-(

At least that's my story for as long as I can milk it for sympathy. ;-)

I did love your post, though, PL. Thanks!

10/29/2007 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Ethan said...

Frankly, I find Finch's posting just bizarre. It makes me think that professional websites (i.e., a site that the basis for a publicly traded company like artnet AG) should have some sort of editorial standards/process for their bloggers--especially if they're presenting the writings as part of a "magazine."

Stripped of its ad hominem attacks, Finch's post seems to be saying two things:

* Art blogs are damaging art critique [and ironically, Finch's own sposting seems the best example of how blogging can badly represent art criticism]

* The art blogs are incestuous in their re-bloggings and circle references.

For some reason Finch choose to explore these issues in an "essay" worthy of a usenet troll.

10/29/2007 07:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many blog celebrities in here.


...a convocation of sorts.

Any time left to see, make and/or sell art?

Oh, wait, what a fool I am....nothing good is happening until Basel Miami and all the work is crated already.

Luc T.

...a link would be nice.

10/29/2007 08:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, this brings back such happy memories of the day Charlie referred to the husband and I as "douche bags". We were so thoroughly flipped out and insulted, but in the end, just giggled. May you, Bambino and Dinky Winky do the same. All the best from Brooklyn.

10/29/2007 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Marc Snyder said...

My hesitation about mentioning Finch's bile-filled screed on my blog was addressed perfectly by the "missing link" in your post - well-done. You left out his reward.

I did want to mention, though, that his idea that the art blogs are excessively circular and repetitive seems to miss the whole nature of blogs as conversational. Links and comments, to me, are features that make the blog a unique medium. The strength of blogs are their interactive nature and their availability to anyone who cares to write.

It's a common metaphor to describe the history of art and the art world as a "discussion" of what is or is not good art (or, what is or is not art). Historically there have been many limitations to the number of voices that can influence that "discussion". Blogs, in their small way, are much more of a meritocracy than some other avenues that attempt to steer that conversation.

To replace a few soapboxes with a noisy, crowded round-table might create a lot of redundancy and confusion, but it is a unique and interesting environment, no matter how self-absorbed.

10/29/2007 09:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This previous anonymous posting was written by Eric. Sorry about that: (I added some new stuff. I did not mean to pontificate as much as I did. Sorry.)

Finch represents the “Page Six-ification” of art writing (that was what Coagula was all about and that is what gawkerforum is all about) and it is an unarguable fact that artists and their keepers often take themselves way too seriously.

Every artist and art writer feels this way whether in secret or not. I believe this because I do not think that works of art, no matter how material or disembodied they are, are extra-ordinary in and of themselves. Humans make them have more special value than the utilitarian and organic objects surrounding them.

People view or hear or smell art objects, but at the same time they create them by interacting with them in some way. Without people (and sometimes for obscure or unknown artists this interaction only exists between the artist and what she/he makes and maybe one or two intimates of the artist)

I was watching an episode of Art 21 on public television last night and some artist was talking about his work using the most ludicrous language. One could not help but condescendingly smirk at the t.v. The words didn't quite live up to the art objects on display.

Although I am more than happy to pick apart Finch's sloppy writing, I still read his new columns because he is an enjoyable stylist. We all know that good stylists are hard to come by in the current field of art writing. Saltz is so popular because of his enjoyable writing style.

Style does matter. Pick apart Saltz’s ideas and there isn’t much there that is new (or coherent at times). It is all about the creation of an engaging style that seamlessly weaves together ideas, history, judgements. Virginia Woolf had a great metaphor for this. She called it “an envelope”

Disagree with Finch or not, he knows how to draw you in. You await the punch lines and if you do not guffaw or snicker at least once by the end of the installment than it was a failure. How many art critics inject humor (or juvenile attempts at humor) into their writing? That is why he stands out.

The fact that he decided to make his column very brief is also an aesthetic choice. Again Page Six-ification should be mentioned, or perhaps YouTube-ification. We love YouTube because it has short segments of cinéma-vérité or novelty, a recognizable gestalt at the very least.

We love, The Onion, because they have mastered the quick assault. I personally prefer the essay form when I write about an artist because I refuse to write about an exhibition that I haven’s looked at for a minimum of an hour (usually longer). Of course hacks (not meant to be a pejorative term) who get consistent assignments can’t afford that luxury.

10/29/2007 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger The Painted Sky said...

Lol.... you should read Charlie Finch's blog....

10/29/2007 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger christopherlee said...

GOD, have a sense of humour with all of this. All is vanity and nothin g is fair....

10/30/2007 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger nat said...

Maybe you could tie up Mr. Finch in your gallery and see if anyone feeds him...

Hope that's not in bad taste...from the other nat.

10/30/2007 02:36:00 AM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

"I do not read Finch because he sees the world as a series of stereotypes"

ha! You should look in my mirror ml! Your prose is so quotedienne! Pedantic! By comparison Charlie reeks of courage! MY god! and POWER! his word is bond! Mine too. Fear the wrath!

Read yourselves and despair!

-Pseudonymous rebreather

10/30/2007 03:27:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

Edward said I did entertain myself on the flight home yesterday with a favorite revenge game of mine, deciding who Charlie's literary parents might be

You are PRECISELY the kind of kid I'd have hung out with in high school -- If Geek was a sport I'd have lettered. (did you see my post on Comet Holmes?)

10/30/2007 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


bring it down a notch please. you can make your point without all the exclamation points and melodrama so that other commenters are not offended.


Comet Holmes

Yes, but apparently you were among the truly smart Geeks, Bill...I was (and remain) one of the psuedo-intellectuals. We could win a round of Trivial Pursuit but barely got C's in physics. Brains just not cut out for the heavy lifting.

10/30/2007 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Paddy Johnson said...

I'm a little annoyed to read so much about Finch's "quality" writing. Coagula may have been a decent book, but it doesn't turn a piece of lazy writing into something else. You can't claim credibility if you don't even attempt to back up your arguments with examples. You can't claim credibility if you're simply name calling. Artnet is the only place he could have published that piece; their head editor Walter Robinson, known for his irrational hatred of blogs - so much so that he sends bloggers nasty and abusive emails.

As long as we're on the subject of writing quality; Cindy Adams is a far better writer than Finch could ever hope to be. She's not lazy.

Also, Saltz isn't known the style/quality of his writing amongst the professional writers I know (his prose often aren't as beautiful as Roberta's for example) but for myself, I read him more, because I'm more likely to agree with his opinions on art.

10/30/2007 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is Charlie going to write about next?

Luc T.

10/30/2007 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see how anyone can deny that Saltz is a strong stylist. Yes he has ideas. I wasn't trying to imply that he doesn't. But his inventiveness with language (he loves inventing names for trends he thinks he is the first person to spot), the frenetic smashing together of high and low art references, his pithy summations of an artist's previous work; all of these maneuvers occur time and time again in his work. There is a stylistic template which he more or less follows, but of course great writer that he is, he deviates from the schemata every once in a while. You recognize his writing, his voice, not because of individual ideas but because of a consistent style. I don't think I was saying that Finch is a quality writer. Just because I recognize some positive qualities in his work doesn't mean that I think he is a quality writer. It is an interesting experiment, for a writer at least, to figure out why someone succeeds at what they are doing. And yes, without Walter Robinson we would not see Finch's work appear as often as it does before the public. The ironic thing about Finch attacking art blogs is that his work appears solely online as well.

10/30/2007 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

so many complains and assumptions on the private life of writers and editorial practices ... Artnet, Coagula, Saltz or Artforum are good only sometimes?

This is starting to be over the top.

Then where are the standards? What is quality writing for artist? What is moral in the artworld?

So one bad article is going to sink an isntitution?

Is there any good writers and publications that artist admire 100%?

10/30/2007 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have written for artnet and the New York Sun so I know about specific editorial policies/practices pedro velez. There are many good art writers out there but NO ONE is completely above criticism throughout their entire writing career. Artnet and Jerry Saltz don't lose any sleep over what is said about them on the blogs. If their publications are suffering it is because of societal trends and the transformation of reading habits. I am happy that they are aware of what is being said about them, good or bad.

10/30/2007 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry the last entry was written by Eric.

10/30/2007 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

If their publications are suffering it is because of societal trends and the transformation of reading habits.

This is the essence of the issue. The New York Times finally saw that they could embrace blogs (encourage them even) to further their own agenda. As I've noted before, I'm shocked at how slow some other publications (online and print) are to have that same epiphany.

I thought the joke in the main post was clear that that's what I think is really going on here, but Callen Bair called it a "cryptic" response, so I'll spell it out: the more traditional press's response to blogs seems to follow a trajectory rather parallel to that of the grieving process (perhaps mourning the death of their monopoly). First they ignore the blogs, pesky amatuers that we are. That's the denial stage. Then, once they're asked about what was written about them on the blogs about a zillion times, they lash out publically. That's the anger stage.

I'm not so sure there are exact parallels to the Bargaining or Depression stages of grief, but most publications do eventually reach an Acceptance of the existance of blogs, and the smart ones figure out how to leverage their current popularity.

If I had to bet, I'd wager that something will soon emerge to make blogs look quaint or irrelevant (video or podcasting or what have you...something less text based). But for the time being, blogs are hot and the reason is clear to me. People want more information, more opinions, more insights than they're getting from the traditional media. More than that, people want to be heard. They want a platform for their opinions.

To my mind, all of this is good.

10/30/2007 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

pardon the typos above...jeeze, would my 7th grade English teacher blow a gasket.

10/30/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone keeps referring to Finch as a blogger himself. Artnet is not his blog; artnet is supposed to be an edited magazine, but somehow, when it comes to Finch, W Robinson just lets him rip, unedited. So in a sense, Finch's "essays" ARE like a blog. Interesting that he takes such umbrage, and draws such a distinction between himself and bloggers. I guess he thinks the vetting by Robinson legitimizes him.

I want to hear more about Finch getting you fired for something you wrote. Details, please.

And to zipthwung:
for someone with such a heady vocabulary, you might want to use your french spellcheck.


10/30/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous J.T. Kirkland said...

OK, so I have been ignoring this whole thing but something I just received via email is too rich.

I got the following email from a Marketing Assistant at
Dear J.T.,

My name is ________ and I’m the Marketing Assistant at

As admirers of Thinking About Art here at artnet, we are interested in perhaps advertising on your blog. If you accept ads and are interested in our offer, I would appreciate it if you could send me a rate card when you have a chance.

Here’s a little info about artnet: is the world’s premier internet resource for buying, selling, and researching fine art, decorative art and 20th century design. We offer an overview of art for sale in international galleries and auction houses and assist clients in making informed purchase decisions by providing information about artists, their galleries, the value of their work, the history of their prices, exhibitions, reviews and daily news.

I have additionally attached our media kit to this e-mail for your convenience if you would like to know more about us.

So artnet publishes an article bashing art blogs but then they want to advertise their site on an art blog? Really?

I've dealt with Walter Robinson in a professional capacity and he has been very supportive of me and my blog. He even wrote a foreword for a book I published of writings from my blog. He concluded:

"We stand well on the threshold of the 21st century, in a time that can’t help but feel like the beginning of a new age. What is the shape of the art discourse to come? Hard to say -- we can’t tell the future, only recognize it when it arrives. But J.T. Kirkland’s Thinking about Art blog and the One Word Project are certainly part of it."

This was written in October 2005.

Ultimately I don't know what to make of all this.

10/30/2007 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Ethan said...

So artnet publishes an article bashing art blogs but then they want to advertise their site on an art blog? Really?

Well, to be fair it was Finch's article, not artnet's. Also, there's something to be said about keeping the administrative, financial, marketing considerations separate from editorial and content decisions.

Perhaps part of the issue is a discomfiture about the gray area between exceptional art bloggers and professional (or semi-pro) web-based art critics.

It reminds me of when I was a runner... other runners would get testy about being called a jogger (or about joggers being called runners) and try to draw lines in the sand (e.g., you have to be running faster than 7 minute miles to be called a runner). All pretty silly. Perhaps this is the same sort of thing

10/30/2007 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous J.T. Kirkland said...

Hmmm, I don't know Ethan. Perhaps it's time for a disclosure at the end of Charlie's articles stating "The opinions expressed by Charlie Finch do not necessarily reflect the opinion of"

I'm just confused by it... I have Walter's foreword and Finch's article published under Robinson as editor.

Did any other bloggers get the same email as me?

10/30/2007 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Yes, JT. A number of other bloggers got the same email.

I suspect Ethan's correct in that there is a separation of marketing and editorial at Artnet. The timing of the appeal is interesting (comical, actually), but the appeal itself make sense. If you read through the attachment and between the lines of the email, you'll see that artnet is equally interested in blogs advertising on their site. Cha-ching.

My question to the powers-that-be at artnet would be why would I advertise a site that minimizes the importance of my gallery, in any context, even humor? The timing of the email, on the heels of Charlie's article, is classic.

Actually, as I noted in the AiA article, I don't accept advertizing on the blog (yes, I've been asked before), but still...I'd have to be a glutton for punishment to send folks from my blog to Charlie's column.

10/30/2007 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would assume that
"The opinions expressed by Charlie Finch do not necessarily reflect the opinion of"
goes without saying. Finch is just one of their writers.

another anon

10/30/2007 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

OK, so I'm a moron. I already have a link from my blog roll to artnet.

I guess I mean it would be even more moronic to suggest I accept money from an online publication that minimizes the importance of my gallery. I need some lunch.

10/30/2007 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, doing it for free maintains your integrity. It's like how sleeping around is morally superior to being a prostitute.

just kidding, luv you, Ed.

10/30/2007 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger S.L. Butler said...

Maybe Zipthwung is...Charlie Finch!

10/30/2007 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Cranklin said...

s.l. - no exclamation marks please. somebody may get offended.

10/30/2007 01:24:00 PM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

now I'm is what I gather from all your comments: if you adverstise in Artnet or Artforum that means the publications can never say anything negative about your gallery or project? Only sugary reviews and comments?

I honestly doen't see the big fuzz about Finch's article, it's one man's view, isn't that what criticism is all about?

It starting to sound like artists are all cry babies who can't take a bit of heat.

And now I hear that Saltz is a puritan...Saltz used to go art schools looking for and proclaiming to have seen the next art stars! is that the job of a critic.

I don't know but I'm seeing a ton of intolerant double standars in this forum...why?

I don't speak for any of the publications I write for in this forum but I'm sure you can ask Robinson or Artforum about editorial practices, it's easy, just send them an email.

10/30/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Art Express said...

it is crazy,someone has too much $!

10/30/2007 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

You know, in Perl, $! is the string returned by the most recent error.

Somehow I find this appropriate.

10/30/2007 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People, Artnet is a gallery listing and auction info bank with a vanity magazine (edited by Walter Robinson). You have to pay for everything always, period.

Don't be confused.

10/30/2007 05:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you know what Gary Indiana called Walter Robinson in the VV years ago? Google it!

10/30/2007 05:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finch is the Senior critic of Artnet. He likes to sting people. That's the way he is.

As a matter of fact, nobody would read the mag. if not for him. (Except for vanity galleries that print their reviews.)

We all have a little Schadenfreude in us.

10/30/2007 05:39:00 PM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

ok, so the only pure art magazine in the world is?

I don't know how I feel about anonymous comments...

and I don't undertstand how the capital of the artworld is suddeenly as gossipy as any small town or island...weird, how the captal of the artworld can't take a little heat.

10/30/2007 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ethan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/30/2007 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Ethan said...

[My last posting got weirdly munged... so I deleted it. Here it is again]


There's a sophistic trick that people can play... they make rather nasty comments under the guise of humor. Then when people react to it, the provocateurs can respond, "why can't you guys take a little humor [or heat]?" If you've ever listened to Rush Limbaugh then you've heard the routine. It's a great trick because you get to hit people and then when they start to react, you get to ridicule and hit them again.

For some reason it bothers you that people are complaining about this article. But don't you think it's a bit odd to be repeatedly complaining about what complainers people are?

10/30/2007 07:54:00 PM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

I agree Ethan.

It doesn't bother that people do complain, is the generalizations that I have a problem with. As if it we were talking about good and evil...just weird.

My one complain is when it starts getting too personal, like some of the stuff being said here. And why is Robinson an issue, the comments were made by Finch.

10/30/2007 08:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From letters to the village voice in response to an article about Finch (1998):

Parry Indiana

In Daniel Pinchbeck's profile of me ["Culture Shocker," October 13], Voice critic Gary Indiana is quoted saying that I am "a mean-spirited individual who likes to make nice people unhappy."

Indiana was a guest on my WBAI radio show three times promoting his books.

He was on a panel I organized at Matthew Marks Gallery last year.

When Gary's mother was sick and dying, I was one of the first people to comfort him and listen to his problems.

So when Gary calls me "a mean-spirited individual," he's really describing himself.

Charlie Finch

Fin De Finch

I was surprised that Daniel Pinchbeck let the porcine, malignant Charlie Finch off the hook so easily. Where on earth did he get the impression that David Bowie's Modern Painters magazine was "esteemed" by anyone besides David Bowie? Or that the endorsement of Walter Robinson, a failed and occasionally curdled East Village painter of yore, was a credible counterweight to the impression that Finch is basically the bilious grease an ungifted WASP's dissolving sense of entitlement becomes in an art world where gays and women--Mr. Finch's primary targets--have a little power?

There is nothing redeeming in Mr. Finch's cretinous preoccupation with other people's personal lives and nothing in his magazine, Coagula, that a 10-year-old couldn't recognize as the embittered effusions of the terminally envious. What is intimidating about Mr. Finch, however, is his physical enormity, which Mr. Pinchbeck failed to fully convey, and Finch's habit of fixating on people he barely knows, imagining them to be enemies or, worse, friends--and, since I have occasionally been hallucinated by Mr. Finch as one of the latter, and have witnessed the rage he goes into when he gets back a fraction of the animus he dishes out, I explicitly told Mr. Pinchbeck, repeatedly, that all but one of my remarks to him was off the record. Alas, not the one he quoted.

A C-plus for Mr. Pinchbeck. Next time he wants to throw someone in front of a runaway train, let him throw himself.

Gary Indiana

10/30/2007 08:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So far I have offered a formal analysis of the writing styles of Saltz and Finch in my comments thus far. My comments about the economic mechanisms behind art publications are not revolutionary or original. I stand by my comments and I am all for professional textual warfare but only when we are discussing, like professional gentlepeople, ideas about art and the scaffolding all around it. It gets tiresome and monotonous when the communicative environment gets reduced to potshots, glancing blows, silly ideological diatribes.

Please don't tell us that the nuanced, articulate comments found here are the byproducts of overly-sensitive temperaments or simply nasty rhetoric like the stuff found in the manuscripts of the most popular cable news shows or talk radio shows.

10/30/2007 08:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cripes. That last anon comment was by Eric (not a pseudonym).

10/30/2007 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger prettylady said...

enormity n. 1) the quality of passing all moral bounds; excessive wickedness or outrageousness.
2) a monstrous offense or evil; an outrage.

Good God, what does Charlie Finch look like? No wonder the poor man has anger issues...

10/30/2007 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

J'aime beacoup le printemps. Mais je ne ecris pas le Francais bien. Pardonne moi. Avez vous le raisnon? Pour quoi? S'il vous harbour le resentement, j'acuse! Le blow glancing. Le embetant rattle de la franglais mal! Le langue de la art n;est ce pas mon premiere langue, mais le conversation ici est tres boring et rien incitefull. Charlie Finch can write well quand il n; est ce pas qui est que c;est lazy.
pardon the semi colon.

10/31/2007 02:41:00 AM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

pardonne moi, rien rien, on occasion ici est tres interessant. Mais maintenant, non.

10/31/2007 02:43:00 AM  
Blogger fisher6000 said...

There is a difference between blogs and magazines, it's editing.

But this anger of Finch's seems to be more about conflating the presence of an editor with credibility in general.

Finch has a platform because he is paid to give his lazy rants to an editor, who then publishes them. This gives Finch credibility that he otherwise would not have.

There are other ways to attain credibility. One could, for instance, be rigorous in your writing or build a large community of like-minded peers.

Finch is using one method for credibility that allows him to get away with being indulgent and uncurious, and that model depends on exclusivity. He *should* be threatened by a publishing model that depends on attaining credibility by actually being credible.

10/31/2007 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I love Gary Indiana.

10/31/2007 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

By the way, I attended the MM event that Charlie hosted where Gary was on the panel. I totally forget what it was about, but I remember being highly disappointed at Charlie's overblown response to a performance based hijacking/interruption. It was far more interesting that what had preceded it.

10/31/2007 08:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there too. It was exactly like you said.


10/31/2007 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Gary Indiana is quoted as saying:
What is intimidating about Mr. Finch, however, is his physical enormity...

I do wish, as a fellow fat guy, that people would stop picking on Charlie Finch's weight. No one is supposed to talk about what female artists look like and no one is supposed to make fun of minorities, but overweight white guys are fair game.

I mean, I know blubbery palefaces have been the source of much evil directed at women and minorities over the years, but, you know, not all of us are personally responsible.

10/31/2007 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

So far, by the way, the only photo I can find of Finch is this one.

10/31/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

I'm opting out this thread. I don't see a need to get personal or to adhiere body jokes to what's supposed to be criticism.

Pretty son I'm going to be slammed too with a minority insult for being vocal and puertorican.

sorry Ed. I'll keep it going in other threads.

10/31/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Wait, here's another one.

Unless he's much taller than six feet, he looks to be about my size. Maybe even a little smaller.

Good Christ, I'm enormous.

10/31/2007 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


No one who comments here will ever be subjected to personal (let alone racist) insults without the full force of my considerable German/Irish wrath raining down upon their unexpecting little heads.

I would normally eschew body jokes as well, and only added "pinch-an-inch Finch" in response to the repeated call to volley back an insult akin to "Dinky Winky." (In other words, Finch started it!)

Should Charlie decide to join in the fun here, I would extend him the same protections as any other reader.

I agree with Chris that the line has been crossed, though, and would ask everyone to scurry back to the other side.

10/31/2007 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

OK, so that first bit should read "No one who comments here will ever be subjected to personal (let alone racist) insults without the full force of my considerable German/Irish wrath raining down upon their insulter's unexpecting little heads."

10/31/2007 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

You look rather sporty in the photo Chris.

10/31/2007 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

German/Irish wrath? Is that like, where you round up the Protestants and put them in camps? Or do you just eat a lot of potatoes while drinking a lot of beer?

I do look rather sporty there, don't I? I actually kind of like that photo, which is funny, because I'm very nearly the least sporty person on Earth. But I looked pretty good coaching my daughter's soccer team. My assistant coach actually thought I was a former (American) football player. Which is like mistaking Stephen Hawking for a former Celtics center.

10/31/2007 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody in this blog made fat jokes or has ever, ever said anything racist. Mr. Indiana did mention Finch's size. That's his and the VVs problem. And for the record, Mr. Finch was huge. You couldn't help noticing and he wrote about it. (Related health problems because of it.)

Mr. Velez, a "Puerto Rican", is playing the card of racism to distract us from the real issues. (He works for them after all.)

1)Disrespect for all the bloggers involved.
2)Not art criticism (which nobody at Artnet does anymore) but humilliation to assert power.


(They still have it up Mr. W. Don't close this thread until you and the others get a published apology. You deserve no less. Otherwise they will never stop.)

Luc T.

10/31/2007 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I didn't mean to say that people here should stop making fun of Finch's size, just that I'd like it if people in general would. Gary Indiana included.

I thought Ed's Pinch-an-Inch Finch was fine, given that he'd been called Dinky Winky. (Although personally, if I were to have intercourse with a man, I think I'd prefer a partner with a dinky winky. But that's just me.)

10/31/2007 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Luc T.

I appreciate the support, and do agree that Pedro's having written for artnet is worthy of mention, but I don't believe his goal was to distract us from that fact.

An apology can take many forms and is often harder to come by the more one pushes. I have never apologized for any of the rants I've published. Of course, I've never been wrong about any..cough..thing..cough (OK, so I can't get that out)....

My point is, I don't want to see Charlie change his schtick. I could do without the misogyny of some of his posts, but otherwise find him a voice the art world needs. So this time he targeted myself and folks I like...again, though, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

10/31/2007 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

Luc T,

Just one note to clarify your ridiculous accusation.

I write for Artnet, and I also write for other publications you might have never read...that I do as a freelancer. I only know Robinson and met Ben Davis briefly once, as for the rest of the Artnet staff, I couldn't point them out in a line at Starbucks. I don't even live in NYC. I don't have a contract with them either and I'm not anybodys lapdog, and I've proven that with my writing.

And I'm favor of free speech, and criticsm ,and blogs. But when it gets to jokes about how fat or ugly people are, that's where I draw the line.

I do understand it was a strong article by Finch, I even said so in the begining of the thread. And I understand it, and felt a bit hurt because I participate and enjoy blogs.

anyway, you got me out of my temporary exile from this thread but I felt compeled to defend myself....I said I wasn't going to post but not stop reading.

10/31/2007 10:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is Velez talking to? 99.5% of art magazine reviewers are freelance. None have contracts. Most are friends of the artist reviewed. Who are you fooling? Not me.

11/01/2007 03:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am late to this discussion but all of you need to know the truth. Nobody here reads Spanish? How unfortunate for us and convenient for Mr. Velez.

The Puerto Rican art scene is under siege by Pedro Velez. This individual, under the pretense of writing art criticism, is ten times worst than Charlie Finch. His insults, name calling, belittling, half truths and vulgarity has no limits. Allegedly, this is what you do if you want to get ahead in the art world of Chicago and Miami. In every post he attacks and mocks artists, galleries, critics, newspapers, museum directors, and everybody in his path for a “real job” in PR. Velez is particularly offensive and flaunts and uses his connection to Artnet to validate every unwarranted and vicious comment against everything and anything he dislikes. If a business/gallery fails, you get a lawyer and go to court but not Velez, oh no. Humiliation is the goal.

Just read his blog. Get a Hispanic friend, even better a Puerto Rican friend to translate Box Score/Velez’s blog for you. See for yourself.

Afraid Artist

11/07/2007 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous pedro velez said...

from your comments is obvious you don't read spanish anonymous.

11/14/2007 09:54:00 PM  

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