AJ Logo an ARTSJOURNAL weblog | ArtsJournal Home | AJ Blog Central
Arts Journalism Blog

« Missing the point | Main | What Money Honey? »

May 17, 2006

An artist belongs in the studio


Not really, but we don’t need artists to write to improve the state of cultural journalism, we need arts journalists to be supported in their work, to be given space in their sections and the front of the book and to work with arts editors not generalists bumped over from sports or whatever (there we go again with sports). The artist/writer role has always existed, bravo—go hang out at the College Art Association. But having read a fair amount of artist/writers, interviewed artists (many brilliant, inarticulate ones) and having waded through my share of ridiculous “Artist Statements,” I know that what we need does not exist outside of our field. Yeah, this is one of those "the power is within" ideas with a touch of protectionism but I think that it might take care of the "objectivity" concern.

Posted by at May 17, 2006 9:04 AM


The artist/writer role has always existed, bravo—go hang out at the College Art Association.

Them's fightin' words, Ma'am.

As a practitioner-critic, as the redoubtable Terry Teachout so elegantly put it, I'm not looking at much contemporary art journalism for inspiration. I look more at Delacroix's journals, the old Roman Stoics, Jean Giono, Henry Miller - people who can write the pants off of nearly anyone. If I found more inspiration in contemporary art journalism, I would look for it there. I don't think you, as a profession, have the privilege, or even time, to get picky about where to obtain fresh blood. Find artists, journalists, trained guinea pigs, whoever's producing that savory content the genre needs and get them some column-inches somewhere.

Posted by: Franklin Einspruch at May 17, 2006 9:26 AM

Listen, I read through your ridiculous post and didn't come to the conclusion that all critics should be dismissed. I expect this same courtesy to be extended to artists.

Posted by: Paddy Johnson at May 17, 2006 1:51 PM

I've quasi-responded, artist/writer/blogger-style, here.

The short version: Several artists-as-critics already write for so-called mainstream publications, and have contributed much important criticism throughout history (as Franklin demonstrated). An obvious one: Peter Plagens at Newsweek. Artists dictating the tone of criticism is nothing new, and certainly not a unique characteristic of art blogs.

Posted by: Jason Laning at May 17, 2006 2:09 PM

This one has to be a joke. We've been reading the "writing" at Time Out Chicago for about a year now, and for someone who works there to have the gall to dismiss artist/writers is laughable.

Artist/Writers who easily outshine the Time Out staff:

Robert Smithson, Donald Judd, Joseph Kosuth, Marcel Duchamp, Dan Graham, Andre Breton, and on and on and on...Maybe you should look through the 800+ pages of Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art edited by Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz and compare it to the stuff you call criticism at Time Out before making such an absurd claim. If bloggers are learning anything from this forum, it's that our perceptions of sanctimony and smugness regarding some in the MSM are true and that there's no shortage of sloppy thinking and poor research amongst some of its practitioners either..

Posted by: LeisureArts at May 17, 2006 4:37 PM

Tell A Friend

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):