Comments on Critical Edge

by Art Fag City on May 16, 2006 Events

I am sure most of you are tuning into this conversation, but if you haven’t already, do visit the Arts Journalism Blog: Critical Edge, which is hosting a week long discussion on the changing shape of journalism.

Two points of note on the conversation thus far:

1. While the panel is a good split between men and women, it is disappointing to see that no female art bloggers have been mentioned. Granted there are also not that many of us, but the community needs to be asking themselves why, because this is does not seem to be an issue in other fields of blogging. Art Blog NewsGRIST, Deborah Fisher, and the Anonymous Female Artist are all worthy of attention.

2. Blogging vrs Print: This comment was reprinted on Modern Art Kicks as well, but I have some additional points on the thought. The thought expressed on artsjournal was that blogs are “way ahead of scholarly publications, but their content is not important enough to be lasting. Published articles, on the other hand, will be used by the following generations in a very different way than blogs will be used.” On the surface this comment is so archaic it’s almost not worth addressing, because of course, in a few short years virtually everything will be online, and this has and will change the way research occurs. It does however bring to mind a model of publication practice that even bloggers follow, this being that the most important articles they write should be published off-site. Bloggers do this because most of us don’t get paid for our sites, but also, we tend to reach larger audiences if we write something for publications that have a pre-established readership. This practice has its pluses and minuses, a very important minus being that it can water down the content of a blog and tends to reinforce the idea that print publications are more important.

In opposition to the idea that print and scholarly publications are more important, let me ask you the following question: What publication printed Clement Greenberg’s influential essay “Avant-garde and Kitsch“? Don’t know? Well, that’s the point. It was printed by a small, but well regarded journal called the Partisan Review, which at its peak had only 15,000 subscribers (which by the way, would not have been the subscription number in 1939 – the publication date of Greenbergs seminal essay, a mere six years after its launch). The Partisan Review had an excellent reputation, but that is not the reason that article was so well read. It is the inherent value of the ideas in that paper that fuelled the success of Greenbergian thought. In other words, you don’t need a large publication to have your thoughts read, you only need the venue itself. The importance of blogging is that it gives this power to anyone who wants it, a thought that ironically would have Greenberg rolling in his grave.

Tyler Green has expressed similar thoughts here.

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