Blogging: The new Cedar Bar...or an integral part of my art practice?
During the ArtTable Blog This! panel at X-Initiative, Paddy Johnson, Kelly Shindler, Barry Hoggard, William Powhida, and Ed Winkleman held forth on basic blog culture and strategy to a standing-room-only crowd that included plenty of art blogging luminaries as well as New York magazine critic Jerry Saltz. This morning on Facebook, Saltz declared to his 4500 followers that online criticism is the way of the future.
"Good bloggers put it out there, write with a distinctive point of view, in a readable voice, in clear language, with energy, surprise, and a willingness to be wrong or embarrassed in public." Saltz writes. "Like ARTISTS! Moralism has no place in criticism. Moralism has no place in blogs. Moralism is the voice of the Father, of authority. A blog is made-up as one goes along, is by force fly-by-night, a way to be part of the crowd, not ABOVE or BETTER THAN the crowd.
"Me? I see them or this [his Facebook wall] as a new Cedar Bar.
Cedar Bar, c. 1951
"Anyone can come into the new bar and participate. Pecking orders break down; authority peters out; things get said; ideas are tried out and shot down. One day you've nailed it; the next day you're clueless. Just like in your own work. At 4:06AM you are certain that everything that you're making must be torn apart. By 4:13AM you are madly inventing ... See Morea new way to do this. It goes on every night of your working life. Blogs seem to have this in something like real time. Darkness and changes of weather and mood are built into their DNA."
I agree with Saltz but would go a step further to say that the most obsessive bloggers aren't LIKE artists, we ARE artists. Our medium is blogging, and the blogs we create are site-specific projects. The blogosphere is undeniably a gathering place akin to the Cedar Bar, but more importantly, like other art practices, the process of maintaining a blog provides a distinctive form of existential clarity. And, as Saltz says, anyone can watch the process unfold, in real time.
Related article I wrote last week for the New Haven Advocate:
Everyone's a Critic
Check out Lindsay Pollock's Twitter coverage of the panel discussion.