Old Art, New Blogs

Trying to think about thinking about blogging every day, as part of this week’s calisthenics, has given me a headache.
Having said that, I’m heavily reminded of, per Jake’s comments two days ago, 90s artists like Barbara Bloom and Fred Wilson who attempted to break apart the exhibition space and the traditional means of observation from the art and artifacts that are part of an exhibition. In typical post-modernist parlance, the two artists, along with many others, recontextualized objects to show us the “true” or “truer” museumological associations of our aesthetic past.
Perhaps it’s a stretch, but this bone-dry exercise in thinking about blogging publicly pushes me as to what the audience expects from a blog (or my blog) and what kinds of worlds come to mind through the exposition of a post. I do feel that artists who make art about art are either fundamentally boring or fundamentally prescient, or both. But what I do see is that blogs have become a means of communication, a mode of transmitting information and knowledge, not unlike the museums and galleries of our recent past. Here are some similarities:
1. Blogs and artistic institutions hide their technology from their audiences. The software of blogs is invisible as are the hardware of paintings, the lighting and electricity from above, and the Sherwin-Williams paint beneath the painting.
2. Money flows around blogs and artwork constantly and neither artists nor bloggers actually make much money. Well, most of them do not — the 1% that do support the respective markets for the rest of us.
3. For the most part, posting your blog and making art are essentially solitary ventures, except for group efforts like Metafilter or Tim Rollins’ Kids of Survival. The museum or gallery allows a group of interested individuals to observe an individuals’s generally solitary musings.
4. Audiences gain prurient pleasure from following an artist, an actor, or a blogger. This public-oriented aspect of blogging is why I think blogging is in and of itself a new artform — one that tickles the feathers of those who live vicariously (many of us) through and with others in public.
One other note: in doing research for today’s piece, I found that the artists I’ve mentioned above do not have major presences on the Web. All of them rely upon their benefactors, the art institutions, to showcase their work and keep their names and productions alive — barely. It’s as if blogging has taken over the mindscape of art’s presence on the Web, there never being very good art portals online and artists never knowing whether to embrace or hate the Web.

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