Art & Culture

Is Blogging (a valid form of) Art Criticism?

Akinci – Image courtesy Art Amsterdam

I’m taking part in an experiment, the Art Amsterdam Medialab, at this year’s Art Amsterdam art fair. The Art Amsterdam Medialab is produced by Art Amsterdam, Domein voor Kunstkritiek, and De Groene Amsterdammer. With 133 galleries from Europe, North America and Asia participating, Art Amsterdam is the largest contemporary and modern art fair in the Netherlands. The mission of the Art Amsterdam Medialab is to utilise a team of bloggers to report on the fair, ask critical questions, and take part in a debate about the definition and positioning of art criticism.

We’ll be posting our interviews and reports on the blog, so keep an eye on it, and also follow my Twitter feed as well as the Twitter accounts for the Medialab project, for Art Amsterdam, and for the Domain for Art Criticism. You can also track the Twitter hashtag #AA11.

If you are in town, a highlight will be the debate we’re holding on Thursday the 12th of May, at 13.00 at the Art Amsterdam fair. The debate is entitled Is Blogging Art Criticism?

The primary reason for the debate is to examine the shift of art criticism from traditional media to blogging and other social media, and another reason for this debate is that the major Dutch arts funder the Mondriaan Stichting rejected financing the Art Amsterdam Medialab experiment, as in their view, blogging is not art criticism.

Fortunately, the Mondriaan Stichting wants to elaborate on that in this debate. Madeleine van Putten of the Mondriaan Stichting will talk about their arguments and visions with director of Nest/reporter Eelco van Lingen, editor-in-chief Kunstbeeld Roos van Put. Yours truly, Michelle Kasprzak, and new media journalist/NRC blogger Ine Poppe represent the active, at-the-coalface side of critical blogging. This quick and dirty debate of an hour will address issues like blogging as a proper medium for art criticism, and the dangers and the possibilities as criticism expands in this manner.

Hope to see you at Art Amsterdam! If there are any angles you think would be interesting for us to cover, please drop me a line or comment on this post.

Art & Culture My Lectures

Forked Identities, Mentioned-and-not-mentioned, Authority, and more

This year I was delighted to present at PICNIC, as part of a panel on the future of cultural criticism. The panelists engaged with the topic of journalism in the cultural realm and how it is changing in the face of “everyone’s a critic” in our digital age. The main points that I addressed were the binary of mentioned and not-mentioned in contemporary art criticism (concept courtesy of Boris Groys), how authority is built online, and what I call “forked identities”.

I think my points on mentioned/not-mentioned and building authority are pretty clear from my presentation (embedded below), but to elaborate on “forked identities” a bit: I have about 5 Twitter accounts, 9 friend groups with varying access to my profile on Facebook, and 2 public blogs plus many other websites that I contribute to now and again. In each of these situations I am presenting a slightly different facet of myself. This is just how it is in our contemporary communications environment. I want the ability to communicate my most colourful opinions to a close circle of 7 friends on Twitter, while highlighting only my professional achievements on my fully public Twitter feed with over 500 followers, or this blog. My identity has been forked into several sub-identities, which is (of course) not unlike how I conduct myself in varying social situations in real life.

Here is my Prezi (I added a few slides to it after the fact, to assist in comprehending it, as I thought it a bit opaque as a stand-alone without these modifications):