Blogging Can Change The World

James Kalm, In The Brooklyn Rail, has one of the best essays on blogging and the motivations behind the trend towards DYI media as well as it’s power. It profiles the Barry Hoggard & James Wagner, the guys behind Art Cal as well the artist behind the critical smackdown blog called paintersnyc. “Today, instead of a cultural crisis, we’re facing a paradigm shift. Thanks to the Internet, the monopoly of the elites and the publishing empires they represent are crumbling, and if the blinders imposed by the powers that be haven’t yet been pried off, they have at least, for the moment, been bent back. If you don’t believe in democracy, this is a problem.”

While Barry and James are unlikely to stay always near the top of the DYI heap in terms of web traffic, It’s likely they are close to being the two most important people to have emerged in the art world in the last 25 years. I for one, learned to understand the power one person can have from them.

“Because they’ve come to their appreciation of art without benefit of formal art educations, both Barry and James feel that their critical stance is more akin to fandom, so there’s an aspect of friendly documentation that informs their blogging. “I think what we do is important for small galleries. Sometimes we’re the only people who write about these unseen artists. Occasionally we’ll go into galleries and see copies of entries from our blogs on the reception desks. We’ve had artists tell us that they were noticed and invited into other shows because of our little blogs. It’s exciting to be able to help those artists,” mused Barry. James added, “I write these entries out of a sense of intimacy. Technically we’re not critics, we don’t criticize anything, but we only write about the things we like. We live in Chelsea so I can visit a gallery even on the last day of a show, and sometimes almost accidentally l can document the artist’s work and get immediate response, and once you put something on the web it’s there forever. The magazines can take six months, sometimes longer.” Between them, James and Barry have written about over a thousand artists.

5 Comments so far

  1. Barry (unregistered) on July 28th, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

    Wow, thanks for the incredibly nice works, John.

  2. Barry (unregistered) on July 28th, 2007 @ 8:55 pm

    Oops — make that “words” not “works.”

  3. James Kalm (unregistered) on July 30th, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank James, Barry and painterpaparazzi for their input on the above mentioned article. The world is changing, We are our own art history, thanks JK

  4. obit (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

    Why are all these stories about Philly and NYC?
    Nothing happening in Pgh?

  5. John Morris (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

    I guess the point I am trying to make is that not many cities would benefit from having a stronger online presence to tie things together.

    I try to do that with my Digging Pitt blog but really I fail. Things are spread out and none of the major institutions seem to think that contributing to a single blog is worth their while, I guess.

    The end result is that only a small fraction of the shows here are ever documented online which makes it look like not much is happening. The fact is that, there is too much going on for our print media to cover and they don’t make a serious try at doing it.

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