The Challenges of Art Writing and Blogging

This cartoon about blogging was originally published in the New Yorker in 2005 and created by Alex Gregory. Think about that…2005. Blogging has been around for decades though. Technology moves fast and I’m sure many of you weren’t on the internet as much in 2005 (or maybe you were, tech folks, obviously, but my mother – not as much). I’m not going to get into the technical history on this post but you can check out this CNET news article here with a pretty nifty timeline.

I’m writing about this topic because I read a blog posting about, well, you guessed it, blogging, written by Barbara Jane Reyes (BJR) – phenomenal writer! She discusses reader engagement and the deluge of social networking sites (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) and its effect on the blogosphere. Let’s face it…everyone in the world can have a blog (of course, it becomes a question of accessibility) BUT the desire and motivation to produce content is a complete different story. From poetry to fashion to food to art to gossip to fiction/non-fiction, there’s a blog for anyone and everyone interested in something. BJR writes,

I am experiencing a bit of nostalgia over his post, what it once was like in a space that I now complain daily is rife with noise, clutter, thoughtlessness and insincerity.

The imagery that comes to mind is our own physical world. The physical world is glut with things we don’t need and discard, more so now than ever. These days, we have to navigate a virtual world as well. A world that is excessive and, perhaps, more confusing!! Although some folks don’t believe pumping out content on a daily basis is worth it, I decided to engage in the experience. I’ve been doing this Post a Day 2011 challenge through WordPress, which has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Advantage: 1) Learning discipline, 2) reading (way more) and discovering new artists, art movements, and anything related to art that provokes me to write or post, 3) being mindful and posting content that parallels with my goals and aspirations – people, places, and ideas I want to study and research, 4) connecting with people all over the world (a German scholar contacted me about my work and photography, and 5) having my blog serve as my portfolio

Disadvantage: People not reading or caring. More often than not, this can really dampen all of the advantages. 😦

In talking to people about blogs they follow, many individuals have a tendency to follow blogs that deal with the following content: sex, fashion, gossip, and food (and sex, oh, I said that one already). They may not readily admit it but if you look at statistics online (i.e., followers to these sites/blogs), you will see for yourself. Trust me, not slamming ANY blogs with this type of content but merely pointing out that the content relates to the Physical/Physicality of being in the world? Let’s face it, I find Art ridiculously juicy and filled with so much intellectual, emotional, and psychological stimulation BUT I highly doubt people are re-tweeting or re-blogging my interpretation of Theodor Adorno‘s essay on ‘Society’ where he explains art as knowledge informing a society. People want to connect where they are at in a moment. They don’t want to put in the work to connect.

And you know what?

That’s OKAY with me. Being an art writer/blogger has a specific audience and I’m not going to cater or pander to folks. Over time, I’ve realized my blog needs to be a space that shows progress and not perfection (as my old guitar teacher has said). It really is about progress not perfection. It’s a virtual work space. MY work space. BJR states,

As for myself, I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, writing to work out my work…having this blog be the space where I continue to process what needs processing, so I can continue to envision a project, write it to completion, see it through to publication and beyond.

Agreed! I’m going to keep art writing and posting the things I love and hoping readers (who truly read) consider the things I’ve written and find themselves engaged…

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2 responses to “The Challenges of Art Writing and Blogging”

  1. Great post! I completely agree that rather than fighting against the idea that most blog followers won’t be interested in discussions and writing on art, theory, philosophy, etc., that’s no reason not to keep art blogging. And there are so many art writers out there – Sharon Butler, Mira Schor, Paddy Johnson, Jennifer McMackon, even art & technology writers like Joanne McNeil – all incredibly smart and inspiring bloggers. McMackon wrote on online art discussion: “No one knows what to expect when criteria is out in the open – alive and active. It’s disruptive. Those who crave aesthetic judgment in the shape of conversation gravitate to other talkers. To me, that seems like the biggest and most interesting thing on offer and it does come from the blogosphere.”

    1. Kim, thank you so much for reading the post, engaging in the discussion, and pointing me in the direction of other art writers. Being an aspiring art writer/culture theorist, I’m always looking for new things to read and perspectives that are far from my own to inform me of what is going on in other places of the world. I will definitely look at Joanne McNeil’s work since my research interests entails looking at the intersections of art and technology. Again, thank you so much for reading and looking forward to more fruitful discussions and exchanges.

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