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the upcoming week

Post #312 • July 2, 2004, 9:11 AM

The last couple of weeks here at Artblog.net have seen the most bloated longest comment thread in artblogging history, to my knowledge, as well as the most excruciating. Worlds collided when academics, art lovers, art makers, angry people, spiritual people, and cranks had it out; with any luck, someone came away with something more than a bad taste in their mouth. Thank you all for your energy and time; I feel better about the world knowing that you all exist.

This site is going to quiet down a bit next week. Posting will continue unabated on the usual schedule, of course, but I'm going to pull quotes from favorite books and stay out of the comments. This is because I'm going to start a new series of paintings in the studio, and rebuild and relaunch the Go See Art website. I feel excited about both efforts, and I need extra time for them. I won't talk about what I have planned for the paintings - that would jinx them - but Go See Art is about to become a multidimensional art resource that, if I do it right, will affect the lives of a lot of people for the better.

Hard commentary will return July 12.

In the meantime, I want to assess Artblog.net. I solicited some feedback from dedicated reader Jack about what he'd like to see here:

I think more structure, more consistency is needed. As you did recently, all significant local print reviews should be referred to, with appropriate links, on a weekly basis. That will allow for reviews of the reviews by those interested (as happened with the Sommereyns Dorsch review).

All significant shows, certainly at MAM and MoCA, should be addressed somehow. ... An effort should be made, not necessarily by you alone, to bring forward shows at low-profile places like the Lowe, the Bass and even MDCC's downtown campus gallery, since those shows often fall through the cracks even though they may be quite worthwhile. ... With so much crap at the usual venues, anything decent anywhere needs to be singled out for attention.

Other potential topics for discussion are the Gables gallery scene (which is begging for a shakedown), promising artists not currently part of the official circuit, off-the-beaten-track spaces like the one at the Spanish Cultural Center, quirky stuff like the quarterly one-person shows put on by a prominent local collector at his office (he's an orthodontist), and so forth.

I would avoid, except perhaps as very occasional diversions, things like the post on juggling or anything that is significantly off-topic or esoteric. That's not why people visit the blog.

The point is to do and to offer what the very weak competition does not, as well as to challenge them as appropriate. Right now, I feel things are too free-form, too erratic, too hit-or-miss. Once people know they can count on Artblog for certain things consistently, they will take it more seriously and refer to it more regularly.

Jack makes some good points. Me, I have technical quibbles with the way the site handles; I want to make it searchable, more navigable, valid XHTML 1.1, and give it better syndication feeds in both RSS and Atom. Regarding the writing, I plan to exercise greater vigilance against adverbs, the verb "to be," and the passive voice.

That said, I'd like to open up the floor, as it were, for more suggestions. Keep in mind that I do all this for free and won't take advertising (Go See Art has a revenue model, and will aid Artblog.net's continuation); I do it for pleasure, and the occasional curveball is going to find its way in here, because I like a good curveball. Tell me what Artblog.net does for you and what you want to see it do more of. Okay, paid work beckons. Have a good weekend.

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