Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Coming Braver, Newer, More "To The Point" World

C.P. posted a comment on a thread the other day (I think it was posted on the wrong thread, but nevermind) that resonated with me and confirmed something I suspected years ago. I noted in the Art in America November 2007 blogger's round table (see here for more info) a while back that I had no idea where blogs would be in 5 years, but I suspected they had a shorter lifespan than was apparent at that time. C.P. wrote
i thought whether to post this or not but...
with all due respect i do think blogs have had their day. what comes next, well, anyone's guess. probably something more to the point, or less -- less to do with hierarchy.
The irony to this observation is that you see signs everywhere that the blog phenomenon is much better understood by the population at large (references to how bloggers influence opinions are now strewn throughout the plot lines of popular TV shows, journalists cite blog posts as commonly as they do other sources these days, and the condescending pot shots we saw regularly just a few years ago in some quarters have been more or less muffled). But I see the truth in C.P.'s statement and have to agree with that prediction of what's coming next.

On a personal note, I see this as entirely too bad. I love this format, but then that's probably because it suits my own temperament. Having said that, I should note that the "more to the point" prediction stung a bit (especially when coupled with the fact that Art and Perception singled out this blog as an example of how wordy many art blogs are :-(
We cannot so easily invest the effort to be concise. Long-windedness is thus a typical feature of blogging. Just look at Ed’s blog.
But my personal preferences aside, other art bloggers have already begun incorporating the more-to-the-point technology that is leading the way toward a leaner, meaner communication machine on the Internet. Tyler Green was the first arts blogger I've seen to incorporate his Twitter feed into his blog (for anyone not already on Twitter, this New York Times piece on its potential is a great primer); and Paddy Johnson is, as usual, way ahead of the curve in cutting through the hype and kindly explaining how this technology is, you know, useful to real people:
The larger point to take home here is that online tools that make sharing easier tend to be most effective. And Anyone who’s used the Internet for any length of time will come to that conclusion too.
But the most intriguing, "to the point" use of technology, in terms of a dialog about art, that I've seen recently is being led by an unlikely writer. "Unlikely" only, perhaps, because he doesn't even have a blog (then again, perhaps that helps here), but he's set the conversation speed on hyperfast and instinctively tweaked the medium to truly phenomenal effect. I speak, of course (for those who've already seen this), of art critic Jerry Saltz and his staggering ability to generate dozens and dozens of comments on Facebook's "status" feature with a single, to-the-point, often brilliantly poignant observation.

A recent "status" Jerry posted, for example, generated 91 comments from the following 2 sentences (not sure how to link to this actually...anyone?):
Jerry spoke to a room of people last night that think the art world is MORE unethical than the Stock Market. Love lift me back to the art world where I belong.
Of course, contributing to this mass response is the fact that Jerry has nearly 3,000 Facebook friends and that as perhaps the most high-profile of what I'd call the truly pro-artist writers around, his opinions (and favor) are highly sought after. But none of that can take away from his ability to concentrate so much to talk about into so few words. Another few examples of recent statuses include:
Jerry Saltz is against “The New Seriousness.” Art will do what it does. Irony is a form of laughter; no one should wish any form of laughter to die. Go away Purity Poli.
and
Jerry is disgusted by self-appointed Savonarolas demonizing the art world as if it were one thing; demanding that artists get SECOND jobs (and work in hospitals).
and
Jerry thinks now is not just an end but also a big beginning; that now anyone can do anything they want (provided each of us find ways to be poor in style).
Back in my first post of the year, where I wrote about my predictions for the art world, I had noted:
I suspect publications with only one art critic will benefit greatly from those critics also voicing their opinions via other, perhaps less-formal channels, to permit these (non-edited) critiques to balance out their formal contributions. Blogs are one such channel, but other (less time-consuming channels) are being used effectively by writers for this as well.
It was Jerry I was thinking of then and he's only getting stronger in the medium, in my opinion. I'm not sure whether this has, as C.P. predicted, "less to do with hierarchy," but it certainly feels fresh and exciting.

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65 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, your posts are not too long or wordy. They take as many words and well put sentences as you need to express complex ideas. Only someone with A.D.D. would see it otherwise so please don't change.

As for blogs (and music, television and films) I am getting quite tired of being told that no one knows the business model ad infinitum.

The world is in a severe recession and still headed for a depression unless some of these weak stimulus measures actually take hold. People are not going to have the money to buy and develop technology at the rate we have for quite a few years. In the meantime no model is changing anytime soon. Notice the weekend box office was a record-breaker, people flocking to the movies just like they did 80 years ago during similar times (even though many have 200 channels at home).

People long for community and family in hard times and this time will be no different. If anything the blogging community may grow stronger in the coming years.

---ondine nyc

2/19/2009 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Stuff only stings if it comes from a source one respects.

I called you wordy hoping you'd recant but no, and to be honest I don't read everythything you write - though I suspect your "thinking aloud" style is a result of the process and not a blood sweat and tears edit for "off the cuffness."


As obviously mine mellifluous prose is a rounded stone burble...

that said, I did wonder how a syndicated columnist can keep it fresh and original without a huge networks of contributors.

They used to call them sources.

Informants.

I'm more than happy to contribute - I m under no illusion that my (buried) comment(s) (flaming shit bombs) calling Holland Cotter out for demanding artists become Candy Stripers is original (Candy stripers work/volunteer in hospitals - see my comment was a stab at people who don't have to have jobs like teenage children of middle class parents)

One of the problems, and also wonders of the internet is that commentary gets repeated - both again and again and serially along communication channels.

Ive often wanted to add dye to comments to see where they go, but alas the stream is often underground.

Jerry's job as a journalist is also simular to that of a politician. He wouldnt be a writer of note without people to note him - vain people who burn with the desire to make their vote count but often with the disenfranchised voices of very noble and pure heretics.

Maybe we could repurpose this board to help people find jobs, food, art supplies and live/work space.

I am currently available for work but I refuse to wear a uniform with a hat or "flair.

Thank you.

my code for the post is kingsman.

awesome!

2/19/2009 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Hering said...

For me, it's not about the technology. It's about the people behind the technology (the author of the blog or whatever, and the regular contributors). I'm interested in quality - not speed, quantity, cutting-edginess, etc. Thoughtfulness will always be a slow thing. Since I'm out to learn about the art world, there's no replacement for a truly open, informed and generous gatekeeper (or guide, if you prefer). Stick with it, Edward.

2/19/2009 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

these encouraging responses are generous, but I truly wasn't fishing for compliments...I've been trying to think of ways to broaden the scope of the blog (had a few ideas shot down and am still considering the open call for works to illustrate main theme posts), but in seeing c.p.'s comment and the success Jerry's having with his Status comments, I'm not so sure that "broadening" is the order of the day.

They're talking now about 5-second and even 1-second commercials on TV (if only they'd keep the same number and just shorten their duration, but I suspect that's not the plan) and other appeals to our increasing national ADD...and while I appreciate Ondine's comment to that issue in particular, I do have to wonder whether some hybrid of the two approaches isn't worth exploring...

2/19/2009 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Biff said...

Perhaps the blog form is losing its' gloss. But over-long posts or comments cannot be the reason. If one just glances at issues from various art journals over the last forty years (at least), it's as though the writers were receiving, like Charles Dickens, so many pennies per word. Being "Longwinded" is not a good metaphor here, because one does not have to read everything presented, or even politely stand by and ignore.
Clear and brief are good qualities for saving effort, but is that what an open forum - as we assume a blog might represent - best utilizes?

2/19/2009 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Oriane Stender said...

I for one detest MyFaceSpaceBook. That whole business of registering your self with the organization, which of course enables it to track your movements, is horrible. It's like giving The Man the wiretap; why would anyone want that? And the social paranoia it creates (so-and-so has 527 friends and I only have 213, omg I have to get more friends) reverts us back to junior-high-school levels of low self-esteem. As my "friends" who have invited me to be their "friend" know, I consider it the epitome of the evil Social Industrial Complex and I want nothing to do with it. But maybe I'm just channeling my inner 80 year old.

The Twitter phenomenon also strikes me as a bad direction. It encourages this notion that a life not constantly narrated is not worth living. We have many ways of communicating now. I think we should spend more time living, experiencing and thinking, so that we have something meaningful to communicate, and less time updating people on what we had for lunch.

I remain,

your resident prematurely crochety curmudgeon

ps Ed, I don't know that trying to broaden the blog's scope is such a good idea. Joe Sixpack is not interested in the subtleties of the art world/art market. If you tried to get everyone's attention, it would entail watering down your content to a lower common denominator. People who don't have the attention span for "long-winded"ness have plenty of other places to go; don't cater to them. Do your thing.

2/19/2009 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

If we just want to scratch the surface, what do we need blogs for?

2/19/2009 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger kalm james said...

Facebook is just the new kid on the block (admittedly I’m a recent convert, ignored it as long as I could). But when you speak of success, ie Saltz’s popularity, I have to laugh. Ninety-five percent of the responses are hilarious studies in obsequiousness, “can you come to my studio, visit my show, please, please, please, acknowledge my meager existence with a word from on high”. Its relevance to art is purely tangential (except perhaps, the art of sucking ass).

With the publishing world in turmoil and the platforms for “professional critics” ever shrinking (local papers folding, cutbacks or eliminating art critics altogether, I see images of “The Raft of the Medusa”) art yackers are seeking other outlets to maintain a presence within the cultural conversation. What this all portends is the big question. I don’t see blogs going away anytime soon but, evolution has always been about adaptation, the zippy mouse will out maneuver the lumbering dinosaur.

2/19/2009 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger A.M. Hasler said...

EW-
I've thought a lot about the blog form lately, and I agree with everyone that your blog's great. In response, though, to what I think you're getting at is that the blog form itself, as with any medium, is most appropriate or maximized with a certain kind of message or expression of ideas. Although one can write an essay on a blog, it is at its best when its only a series of links or breaking news, etc.

Regarding the growth in prevalence of technologies that allow for the transmission of quick thoughts (twitter, facebook status), more power to them. However I think the inversely proportional drop in the availability of longer, well-argued and contextually-framed writing is tragic. Whereas a diversity of media forms would be great, it seems to be fleshing out like a zero-sum game. Scarcity of resources, I guess.

2/19/2009 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

This next-new-thing thinking is like fashion. Short is in. No long is in. No pants are in. No skirts are in. Orange is the new red. Red is the new brown. Brown is the new black. Designers and retailer have to hype and tout the next new thing so that they can make sales. Reporters end editors need to come up with features to sell their increasingly anorexic publications.

There's a fashionization of the art world, and more to the point, of the electronics world, where new, new, new means sales, sales, sales.

Sure some bloggers will abandon the form in favor of tweeting, twitching, flicking, tubing, spacing and/or facebooking, but some will fold it all into a multilinked entity (look at what Hrag Vartanian.com does, for example).

But, hey, even if a few million bloggers give up the medium, it's not as if it will go the way of the rotary phone any time soon. An internet search of "number of blogs", yielded these figures: 112.8 million worldwide, not counting an additional 72.82 million in China.) So we lose a few.

I recently capitulated to Facebook, which I find to be totally, like, totally geared to, um, like 16-year-olds. I do like Jerry's posts, but I much prefer his columns. I like Sharon Butler's tweets, but I much prefer her blog. And Loren, you can facebook all you wish, but if you stop posting your guerilla videos on You Tube, the world will be a little darker.

Same for you Ed, don't stop.

PS: Ed, your posts are not too long (but Zippy's are). And so is this one of time; oops.

2/19/2009 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

James is right--the comments on Jerry's status threads are far more about schmoozing than they are about the brilliance of Jerry's prose. I could write those identical status comments and be totally ignored, because I'm not an influential art critic.

However, the joy of the blogosphere is that it has allowed me to be my quirky, long-winded self, and meet up with a considerable number of people who actually like that sort of thing. Who is to say that this has to change, or that it has to go in one particular direction? It has opened up room for more types of creativity, communication and community to exist and thrive, and even changed the way we do business.

What with so many galleries struggling, closing their doors or pruning their rosters, it seems that self-marketing through blogs and other Internet sites may be a more fruitful way for artists to find an audience and sell their work, not to mention engage in the kind of long-winded discourse that is nearly impossible at art openings. The trick may not necessarily be to attract a blockbuster following--just a sufficient number of like-minded souls to keep ourselves company.

2/19/2009 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan said...

Perhaps we should discuss the issue of Comment moderation.

2/19/2009 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Bromo Ivory said...

Great post, and a couple of points:

1. There is plenty of room for well written blogs - and yours is one of the best regardless of subject. It is not "too wordy" unless SMS sized messages is your ultimate goal. While there is room for SMS-sizes, too, it is hardly either/or. I receive news alert IM's on my cellphone and I also read the Atlantic. Surely one would not exclude the other.

2. I have been on the internet (or what passed for it) since 1987. "Sharing" works really, really well, I will agree, however it is hard to get your message out unless you spend a lot of time building a network beforehand. So I am not sure the practical upshot of the internet as "sharing well." It also doesn't help that 99% of the content isn't very good. I still get my internet news from regular news sources.

3. I find within this apparently egalitarian medium, a growing hierarchy and elite. Just the barrier to entry is low - it is still hard to build a reliable distribution network. Just everyone who has an internet connection and a computer has a shot at it if they so desire.

2/19/2009 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger fish said...

Pretty Lady said: "The trick may not necessarily be to attract a blockbuster following--just a sufficient number of like-minded souls to keep ourselves company"


Nailed it!

2/19/2009 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Perhaps we should discuss the issue of Comment moderation.

If only you'd stop linking to YouTube and dropping meaningless comments in to the mix all the time with a never-ending barrage of pseudonyms amounting to little more than your own inside-joke performance...sure. Happy to discuss it.

2/19/2009 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Thinking about fashion is like thinking about what to think about.

Short or long skirts and/or pants in red, orange, brown or black.
We know that artists tend to wear the colors that they paint with, like walking swatches - it tells us about their sense of time.

Artists and gallerists have to hype and tout themselves as arbiters of the new and good thing so that they can create product differentiation in a saturated market.

Critics end curators need to come up with convincing character traits to sell their increasingly corseted collaborations.

There's a trivialization of the art world, where parallels can be drawn tot he surface topography of digital landscapes, filled with polygonal points, but no real volume, where new is a vector that equals sales, cubed.

Sure some writers will be bloggers and bloggers will become writers, its a mixed up world, or off off world.

Will there be abandoned sod houses on the frontier? Undoubtedly. Birds will nest in the eaves of many blogs, just as traditional news outlets will rust in fallow fields like ancient farm machinery.

In the heyday of the internet bubble, the idea of a "portal" or gateway site - a mini mall for a specific topic, hot or not, was all the rage.

Most failed to draw traffic. But some did well - masters of the short form, the concise edit, the easy to scan, the well illustrated.

But, jeeze, even if a few million bloggers fail to spawn a new generation, there will be another Max Headroom eating caviar and laughing all the way to the bank.

An internet search of "idiots with computers" yielded no concensus, but undoubtedly it is a very large number.

I too, have noticed a late beaking wave of Facebooking masses - and I have found them to be mostly people who want to show off their baby pictures and reveal their dietary habits.

I I want to reach teenagers I troll myspace, which is geared towards music and "urban" types.

I recently have been on Fakebook fanning revolutionary fervor amongst the baby carriage set.


None of them are friends with Jerry Saltz.

Why would they be?

If the world isn't dark enough, try having a conversation via Facebook with someone who has three kids and a day job as a grade school teacher.

It will bore you to death.

PS: I am not your friend or "friend")

PPS: I am not joking.

2/19/2009 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous A gun and a girl said...

Perhaps there is a misunderstanding.

"YouTube and dropping meaningless comments in to the mix all the time with a never-ending barrage of pseudonyms amounting to little more than your own inside-joke performance"

I accept your assessment. Even if it were to be accurate, how is this any different than the apparatus of thought in terms of the geopoltical,artworld/art market, and market at large? and of course the GAP?

AND interpersonal relationships via
any form of transmission?

2/19/2009 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Perhaps there is a misunderstanding.

Orignally it was intriguing, but now it is a huge waste of my time to shift through comments like "::" (that's it...that's the entire comment) every day. That one in particular, and I see it constantly, is annoying.

how is this any different than the apparatus of thought in terms of the geopoltical,artworld/art market, and market at large?

Again, back when I asked you for clarification, you skirted around the issue...that hardly stopped you from the steady stream of comments though, bringing me back to the assessment that it's an inside-joke performance. Not that your dedication to it isn't impressive, mind you...just that it only serves to clutter up the threads and after months (years?) of reading through them I'm not anymore clear on what you're doing and continuously less interested. If drawing parallels between that ennui and what happens to communication in blogs and other media is your point, the question becomes at what point does your performance become a parody of itself?

2/19/2009 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

PPS: I am not joking.

A textbook example of a credibility issue.

2/19/2009 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous A girl said...

I am in no way interested in what you call the value of work. I'm not interested in a credibility issue.

Perhaps we should meet in person.

eye contact body language changes things.

2/19/2009 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Please feel free to stop by the gallery and introduce yourself any time. I'd be happy to learn more in person.

(the "credibility" issue was a comment for Zipthwung...unless you're one in the same)

That was the last "YouTube" comment I'm posting here, by the way...

2/19/2009 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

"A textbook example of a credibility issue."

Are you kidding me?

Grow up.

2/19/2009 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Actually I think I am going to friend Jerry. Really entertaining.

here

I promise it's not a Rick Roll.

2/19/2009 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger kalm james said...

An open forum blog is a virtual public space. As with any public space, there will be loiterers, exhibitionists, and graffiti (not all bad if it’s kept interesting). By moderating the comments, in a sense, you’re policing the public square. Other bloggers have a no response structure that’s more like a gated community. Perhaps some blogs will evolve to their own private island design, visible from the shore but still too removed for a drive by with verbal Uzis.

Hey I like YouTube

2/19/2009 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Are you kidding me?

Grow up.


Now that's funny.

2/19/2009 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

By moderating the comments, in a sense, you’re policing the public square.

Most public squares post rules (curb your dog, no alcohol, no loud music, no nudity, etc. etc.) as a means of ensuring everyone can enjoy it fairly equally. Yes that means it can't be the "perfect" place for nearly deaf drunk nudists whose dogs run free, but there's no way it can be that and still be a pleasant place for the broadest swath of other citizens. In other words, the few regulations ensure the greatest enjoyment by the largest number of people.

Such regulations are always up for review, of course, but the last time I turned off the comment moderation the same cretins came crawling back, abusing people, and hijacking the threads.

For the time being, moderation seems a happy medium.

2/19/2009 01:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Oriane said...

I'm glad the public square is policed. You know what can happen in an unpoliced public square; gangs, bullies and litterers take over, just like in real life. And it's not like this is the ONLY public square around.

Ed, I have no idea what that exchange between you and the gun girl was about. (Maybe that's your point? Gun girl's comments are not pertinent or understandable?)

2/19/2009 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

As best I can tell, gun girl (who goes by so many other names it's impossible to keep up) is conducting a very, very long-term performance as a means of commenting on how communication via twice-removed media (such as blogs) is ultimately a meaningless echo chamber and might as well be replaced by simply the action of posting any random thing at all.

I see the point, to some degree, but that's merely me projecting onto the barrage of comments left daily, not anything confirmed by the person behind the effort.

I enjoy a good mystery and, again, am rather impressed with the dedication to the effort, but without more clues, it becomes more of what it's critiquing than an actual critique at a certain point.

Again, I'd be happy to meet the person behind the effort in person and learn more (time permitting), but don't wish to clutter up the threads in which most of us are at least trying to communicate (and that's giving Zippy quite the benefit of my doubt at times).

2/19/2009 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Oriane said...

Just out of curiosity, what's the ratio of deleted comments to posted comments (ballpark)? Do certain topics bring out more deletable comments or is it random?

2/19/2009 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Oriane said...

I wonder what zippy did with his time before the internet.

2/19/2009 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I'd guess that 85% of all comments get posted. The kind that get rejected include the YouTube variety (which account for about 12% of the total), meaning only 3% of all comments are rejected because I think they'll derail the thread or are unduly mean spirited (and again, will derail the thread).

2/19/2009 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

I think it is interesting to look at (analyze) what we find funny, interesting, engaging or transcendent

and what we do not.

Like laughing at your bosses jokes.
Or snickering at and infantilizing a serious artist with mythopoetic pretention.

Or laughing at the nihilist who cant even take life seriously enough to fake a hobby like art.

Rich or poor, laughter is never the best medicine, but sometimes it's all we have, what separates us from some kinds of animals, but not chimps.

Sometimes we laugh at what we don't understand, like face chewing chimps.

Why did Warhol illustrate the story "Stone Soup," in blotted ink drawings - about a community that gathers together around a pot of boiling water with a rock in it, and thus learns the value of community?

Well I don't think he did, but he could have.

If you could friend a starving child in Congo on Facebook, would you? Even if it wouldn't do any good?

Find me that child.

I mean, anything worth doing is worth doing well. Why not save the internet community of Congo with Facebook? All those exotic bloggers?

According to a Goodle search, 3,000 individuals in the Tanzanian outback have internet connectivity.

That is amazing. We could help them.

I mean you can do whatever you want. I have this really great instruction manual by Sol LeWit I'm trying to encode in braille - I'm going to show it at the Swiss institute as part of my ongoing critique of the gift economy.

2/19/2009 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

before the internet I drew pictures and wrote notes to myself.

I think it is interesting to look at (analyze) what we find funny, interesting, engaging meaningful or transcendent.

and what we do not.

Like laughing at your boss's jokes.
Or snickering at and infantilizing a serious artist with mythopoetic pretention.

Sometimes we laugh or deride or belittle what we can't translate, like face chewing chimps.

I mean you can do whatever you want. I have this really great instruction manual by Sol LeWit I'm trying to encode in braille.

2/19/2009 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

You'll forgive me, Zip, but most folks truly as dedicated to helping others as you're now claiming to be do so in straight prose more than in riddles, puns, obtuse references, and oxymorons. You own how you're perceived throughout the arts blogosphere. No one else. If, as you seem to imply, you're simply a misunderstood genius ahead of his/her time, your recognition will come some day...but that hardly gives you license to get all serious all of a sudden and lecture other people. Most of the time your diatribes are too long to read through, making them simply noise...not the best means of encouraging others to join you in your efforts to change the world.

And, if on the other hand, you subscribe to the belief that you need to be the change you want to see, well I for one will pass. It's hard enough to process all the straight prose flowing these days, let alone deconstruct some stream of consciousness rant that only occasionally seem on topic.

2/19/2009 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

yes, I really do suspect you're a spambot at times.

2/19/2009 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Ashley said...

James Kalm wrote, "An open forum blog is a virtual public space."

I can't agree with this at all. Here's how I see it, and I try to interact accordingly.

An open forum blog is like a open invitation salon where the gracious host has the right to allow and refuse admittance. This is not a public square, but someone's parlor. The salon still belongs to someone, is still a private space. The salon exists because of the generosity of the host. The host has the right, and perhaps an obligation to his/her other guests, to make sure that self-invited guests who can't behave, who are boorish or who want to hi-jack the salon, are removed or not allowed in. And if the host becomes so pre-occupied with policing his or her own salon that it affects their own experience, then I say he or she has the right to ban certain people at the door. And if I don't like it I can find another salon. But usually, I'll be grateful to the host.

I'm really puzzled by this idea that just because something appears in public that not allowing participation is some kind of censorship or exclusion? Hey then, put your money where your mouth is: open your home up to all, see who shows up and trashes your living room, and see how quickly you get fed up with the people who you wouldn't ordinarily choose to spend any time with anyway. If you don't want these people in your living room, why is it any different in a salon-like space online? The host has the right to set the rules; if you don't like the rules go home. Anything else is just extremely bad manners. And off-line manners still need to be used online.

On-topic: the difference between blogging and FB updates or tweeting seems to me like the difference between an essay and a headline. Jerry Saltz's FB updates or tweeting may make a larger splash because there is the evidence and reputation of many years of writing and thousands or millions of words that prop up these utterances and inform how one would read and understand this short form. Ed, if you were to expand your repertoire of sharing to FB or Twitter, my reading of them would be informed by the history of, but also very much by the current activity of, this blog or some such other place where thoughtful, reflective writing and process is found. David Ross's tweets may resonate because of his known experience and reputation; Joe the Plumber's tweets will conversely be ignored in light of his current activity and reputation.

2/19/2009 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger kalm james said...

Hey Chris Ashley,
You make a valid point, perhaps my analogy is off, depending on how you present the status of your forum, and the idea of a salon versus a public square is an interesting distinction. I have to agree with your point because it contrasts the private ownership against state control. I’m all for the private salon (even though I’ll probably never get past the red velvet cordons).

I’m thinking of starting a blog for the drunk, blind, naked stink people packing iron with out of control 200 lb. chimps, zip is invited.

2/19/2009 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

I am indeed a spam bot. But do you (and other commenters here) imagine that there are no credible art loving detractors who might say "that Ed Winkleman blog, it is so windy"

because they are out there.
If you will forgive my crude paralepsis.

2/19/2009 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

and yes chris Ashley, we understand the implications of what being literate is. Unfortunately many people believe you to be among the long winded as well.

2/19/2009 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger fish said...

With regards to comments like zips and the identity-crisis youtube linker - perhaps they feel they have something important to say or they feel that what they are doing is art or whatnot. Maybe a close examination would reveal a hidden truth. But at the same time, maybe a close examination would reveal nothing more than what is immediately obvious (such as: there are unwritten rules as to what a worthwhile comment looks like).

Ideas are complex. Riddles are complex. Taking about ideas in riddles are even more complex… blah blah… This could spark a wonderful debate, but maybe that can wait for another post.

To get a point across, sometimes one must concede to certain rules in order to gain credibility and warrant the increased attention it would take to solve the riddle.

Maybe we already know what’s in the center of the Tootsie Pop. Maybe there is something greater.
Maybe it’s just poo.

2/19/2009 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

I'll take long winded and literate for 1000, Alex.

2/19/2009 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

James, you're invited to my salon any time.

Ed, your experience with 'gun girl' points up the fact that activities based on a conceptual one-liner, repeated over and over, are boring, annoying, and interfere with communication rather than enhancing it. And yet...well, I'll leave it there.

2/19/2009 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

AND interpersonal relationships via
any form of transmission?


Do you know what, 'gun girl'? Your solipsistic harassment activities may, indeed, mimic the state of much of what passes for 'art' these days. But to say that they mimic interpersonal relationships in any form betrays the hollowness of experience and thought behind the activity. Deeper interpersonal relationships merely require that you be willing to listen and pay attention and engage.

You haven't been doing that, as can clearly be seen that you took Ed's comment as directed at you, when it was in fact quoting Zippy. You're so busy shouting for attention that you can't bother to pay attention yourself. There's a lot more to be had out of life and relationships than that, and it's nobody's fault but your own if you won't bother to put in the effort to perceive it.

2/19/2009 05:54:00 PM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

The blog is not a dead format, it's just not relevant to the art market.

Blogs are great because they make anyone who puts in the effort to create content an expert, and if people consistently buy the content, then the blog is good and the expert status is affirmed.

Blogs are delightfully meritocratic.

The art market is not. Art is not inherently valuable--someone with clout has to come along and value it by choosing it.

Art blogs that thrive do something interesting with the anxiety of this value-bestowing transaction. Of course a certain generous gallerist who occasionally pulls back the curtain has what is probably the single most popular art blog. The art market thrives on hierarchy! And of course Jerry and Paddy's tweets are more relevant than long-form blog posts. Tweets privilege social connection over content!

2/19/2009 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

And yet...well, I'll leave it there.

{{shaking my head over how much work there is yet to do}}}

2/19/2009 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Hering said...

deborahfisher said "Art is not inherently valuable--someone with clout has to come along and value it by choosing it." Yet I and thousands of other artists keep making art, when we're pretty sure we'll never be "chosen." Because we know in our guts that "inherent value" (as opposed to assigned value) exactly describes Art - and also explains why we have to keep making art.

2/19/2009 06:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Casp said...

I like Ed's blog because he sets up
a topic quite elegantly than opens
up a discussion about it. It's like going to a fine restaurant: it's all in the way it is set up.

But the best model in my opinion
would be a BBS forum, where
anyone can start their own thread.
I participate to many forums like
this: music, cinema, science, technology, but never yet found a satisfactory model about visual arts.

Actually, that model exists. I was a participant at Artforum's Talkback in its early days but I got bored very rapidly because.....and I know some people will find it strange coming from me: I thought the quality of the writting was very low (lol). Not the grammar, though. It was the replies with ebay links or lyrics of songs. I think Joan dates from Talkback. But there was a LOT of Joans back then. I don't know it if has changed.


Mind you, I think Joan is an alterego for Zip, and I like Zip. I think he's (she's) a poet. An artblog-related version of Mallarmé. To contradict Oriane,
Zip uses very few words on his own
blog but likes to collage Youtube
and other visual sources together.
Once in a while I totally get what
they are about, so I presume the
pieces I don't understand also
make sense.

And let's face it: Half of the people here have flirted Zip at one point or another. I'm witness.


Cedric Casp

2/19/2009 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

What a weird day at the blog, but everything's ok if I can still find a cab.

Bloggers should make their own rules, an anarchy of bits is fine.

What is wrong with this equation?

¿ Art == Money == Value ?

And finally, welcome to Chris Ashley who is one of the first art world bloggers.

2/19/2009 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Ashley said...

Zip wrote: "and yes chris Ashley, we understand the implications of what being literate is. Unfortunately many people believe you to be among the long winded as well."

Ouch, you really hurt my feelings. Waaah!

Actually, I aspire to extra-long windedness. But why explain what I mean to you?

Since I was discussing the implications of manners, not literacy, I don't think you do understand. You speak like a true pseudonymous commenter, citing lame evidence like "many people" and not having the nerve to name names, especially your own. Nice and comfortable behind your mask?

Ed, I can stick up for myself, but I have to ask: since I presume you approved the appearance of Zip's comment, one might infer that you endorse personal attacks here. I actually don't think that's the case, but I have to wonder how you see this? (This is a sincere question, and I don't mean to challenge you; you don't have to post this question, and if you do, feel free to remove this parenthetical comment.)

2/19/2009 10:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, that would be me who posts comments to the wrong topics.

Ed.thanks for dragging it out.

(*´ο`*)

C.P.

2/20/2009 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Ed, I can stick up for myself, but I have to ask: since I presume you approved the appearance of Zip's comment, one might infer that you endorse personal attacks here.

Not anyone who's read here for a while and seen me ask plenty of others to leave. I expected Zip's comment to roll like water off your back the same way it did mine, actually Chris. As attacks go, that one didn't strike me as all that personal (not in a way that wasn't easy to brush off one's shoulder).

What occurred to me this morning, as I rethought how Zip came to this unpleasant round of responses is that he/she most likely made the mistake immortalized in song by Carly Simon. To be clear, Zip, this thread is not about you.

2/20/2009 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Jill Conner said...

Facebook is the new "agora", if you will.

However in terms of which sources are most relevant in terms of art writers - just ask any gallery, artist or organization who is usually very keen on coverage. My experience has been that a.) coverage on the internet is highly favored now due to its quick turn-around and b.) the long delay in print-media has caused it to lose its standing as a viable source.

If done well, blogs can stand as documents to the time. The question is, are the entries made as small, brief, hyper-link filled advertorials, or are they lengthy pieces that could eventually be published in book format, as a an art historical document? Either way works and anything goes.

2/20/2009 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Hering said...

George said "What is wrong with this equation? Art = Money = Value?"

Art equals Inherent Value plus (sometimes) Assigned Commercial Value minus (often) Discouraging Cynicism

2/20/2009 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

¿Art == Money == Value? = FALSE

2/20/2009 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Hering said...

George said "Art = Money = Value? = FALSE"

George, that's what I thought you meant. But you did ask what was wrong with your original equation. Now, where's my gold star?

2/20/2009 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Nice, quoting a rock star.

Carly Simon used to paint pictures of herself and put them on her albums.

vain?

3 out of 5 doctors believe so.

Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.

Noam Chomsky

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine.
-Type O Negative.

2/20/2009 01:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune."

I don't think those are the only two choices. And something true doesn't necessarily sound like it's from Neptune. Especially if the speaker makes an effort to be understood.

I think Ed has been very indulgent with zip.

anono

2/20/2009 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Ed has been very indulgent with us all anono. And generous to reply. I admit.

I'm sorry I'm not a better mirror.

But is lack of clarity any more "noisy" than being long winded?

(as you must agree Eds posts and these threads are by ANY standard other than the Novel)

Read about Claude Shannon - he knew before you did.

Why the obsession with clarity? Isn't there enough "clarity" in the world?

I think so.

And Ed works without the rigorous editorial process most professional writers work with.

More reason to let writers do what they do best - write. I couldn't ed hire an editor? Ego?

oh but he's not a writer. No sense in perfecting anything.

But I have proven one thing: your tribe supports its own.

I am thanking you all kindly for my goat collection.

Enjoy the fire.

2/20/2009 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

Comment moderation is often needed. If I turn moderation off I end up with Viagra comments and comments from Chinese art companies. If a comment threatens someone directly or involves abusive language with no real point-- I will reject it.

2/20/2009 11:51:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

"A good fashion photograph makes a promise it can never keep", and I see technology the same way. It's not the technology, it's the content. Tyler's Twitters are interesting because they are a natural development of his "breaking news" style of blogging, and he does break interesting news, but in general Twitter feeds into the ADD quality of life that you mention Ed and people are nervous enough these days. Maybe if Francis Bacon (the earlier one, who wrote essays) was on Twitter it would be worth reading. I can't read Jerry Saltz on FB because I'm not his "friend" so I can't judge the quality of his Tweets.

Regarding the future of blogs, isn't it, as always, about clear thinking and good writing? Whether its paper or plastic (newsprint, glossies mags, or computer screen) the voice of the blogger will be always be the important thing, and I think blogs will last for a while as long as the best voices are there.

2/21/2009 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Yay, I'm Jerry Saltz' 3,059th friend of Facebook.

2/21/2009 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Zp says: "Ed has been very indulgent with us all anono"

Ed is endlessly indulgent and attentive, so he will last. And Zip has a voice, so he will last.

2/21/2009 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

not quite endlessly :-)

2/21/2009 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Karl Zipser said...

Hi Ed,

Haven't read through this thread yet, but I wanted to mention that someone over at A&P wrote to me:

"I've always assumed you were not zipthwung, despite the zip, but he appears to be claiming authorship of your post referenced by Ed the other day"

Best,

Karl Zipser

3/07/2009 06:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Karl Zipser said...

Hi Ed,

I haven't read through this thread yet, but someone over at A&P wrote to me:

"I've always assumed you were not zipthwung, despite the zip, but he appears to be claiming authorship of your post referenced by Ed the other day"

Best,
Karl Zipser

3/07/2009 06:38:00 AM  

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