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the sound of alternative journalism

Post #591 • July 28, 2005, 10:21 AM • 45 Comments

Artivistic accepted a proposal from Chris of Zeke's Gallery to set up an art blogging conference, so I'll be going to Montreal in late September at Chris's invitation to speak on it. Thanks, Chris, and congratulations.

This is forcing me to congeal my thoughts regarding the medium, which usually results in a tedious exercise in beard-stroking, so I'll try to spice it up with some scandal: namely, the blog-related troubles at the New Times (via an alert reader).

A controversy over publicly accessible blog observations about current and former staffers posted by two New Times editors - including managing editor Jean Carey, who writes a column called "The Bitch" - has caused major turmoil at the company. It generated weeklong, unpaid suspensions of the two editors and the paper's star columnist, Tristram Korten, who had confronted the editors over their blogs earlier this month.

The details are a bit hard to ascertain - I still don't understand why they gave Korten a time out - but this much is clear:

Last year, a former New Times staff writer who was terminated filed a gender discrimination claim against Carey with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The complaint has since been dismissed.

Carey responded by posting a series of derogatory remarks about the former reporter, whom she supervised. Carey expressed jealousy over the former reporter's possible romantic relationship with a former New Times staffer with whom she also had a relationship. ...

In the post, Carey criticized the former reporter's appearance, professional skills, sexual conduct, and mental stability. Carey's blog also referred by name to other current and former employees and outsiders including a Miami Herald reporter as "totally nasty, mean, classless girls."

Earning her nom-de-plume, I suppose. NT calendar editor Lyssa Oberkreser also was in on the act.

In Oberkreser's blog which was subtitled "Sex and the Single Librarian" Oberkreser expressed relief that the reporter had departed and made nasty comments about her physical appearance, weight, and sexual morals.

Of course, New Times corporate came down and started handing out spankings. Corporations live in fear that something like the above is going to happen, and at the New Times, which often seems to better understand what alternative journalism sounds like than what it is, the probability of its employees publising something actionable spiked to 100%. It's not enough to hire nasty people - they have to provide smart content commensurate with its snarkiness. (Personally frustrating to me, I think I know the identity of the said former employee. If I'm right, Ms. Carey, you and I need to have a word.)

I also write occasionally for the New Times, and my blog hasn't been an issue. Of course, I'm not creating a hostile work environment for my employer. But back when I was writing for Street, it was a problem. My editor more than once referred to the "peanut gallery" on in the course of editing my work. She treated me to dinner after speaking on the New Criticism Bang panel at Snitzer last year, and this conversation ensued after she revealed some kind of tension (personal? business? don't know) over

Me: Is the blog a problem?

Ed.: It would be if you were working for us full-time.

Me: Is there any danger of that happening?

Ed.: Not really.

Me: Okay, then.

Her erstwhile boss, Brett O'Bourke, recently appeared in the letters of comment at the New Times expressing indignation over the departure of some key journalism faculty at FIU:

Hall says Kopenhaver is out to ruin the J-school. Big deal. Last thing we need in this country is more journalists with integrity, passion, and professionalism -- the kind of journalists Hall, former dean J. Arthur Heise, and the rest of their ilk spent years churning out -- running around writing stories that actually matter, with all the words spelled correctly and in the right order. ... I think Kopenhaver is right about "revitalizing" the FIU J-school by censoring students, dumbing down the curriculum, and running off all the professors who actually care about quality journalism. ... If it weren't for Hall and his insistence on providing me with an education, I could be making the big bucks, firing off error-plagued press releases for some big company instead of being a real working journalist with integrity and passion.

Integrity? Professionalism? Street? They had a column called Ask the DJ. One of O'Bourke's top guys edited my last piece for them with a crowbar and threw a diva fit when I protested. I quit, because while I don't shrink from confrontation, I insist on working with grownups. Again, many journalists know what alternative journalism sounds like, but Street often made the insipid Miami Herald sound refreshingly sincere by comparison and had, shall we say, enthusiastic ideas about its own importance. (Street folded three months after I left. No causation is implied.)

Our last stop on this ramble is a podcast tour of the Met's modern galleries by Lee Siegel for Slate, which was duly slapped by Modern Kicks and Grammar.police. Quoth JL: "I pretty much gagged." Slate - alternative media, right? Podcasting - alternative media, right? But Siegel's product is insufferable. It sounds like alternative journalism, but it's inane.

Someone is going to ask the panel about the difference between art blogging and MSM art criticism, because someone always does. The central issue, I've decided, is not technology or writing tone, but freedom. I won't pretend the blogosphere is a meritocracy - if I was a 25-year-old bisexual woman with a bodacious rack, a high alcohol tolerance, and a romantic predilection for Miami's art scenesters, and was blogging about the sweaty details, my pageviews would soar. Nevertheless, I am beholden to no one. You get the real deal here, not the polite essaying going on at the regular paper, not the poseur edginess at the alternative paper, and definitely not the spineless prattling that fills the art magazines. Blogging is the least compromised publishing medium available, and art criticism, like art, thrives on freedom.




July 28, 2005, 11:04 AM

Thanks, Franklin, I guess, for the heaping helping of tawdry, petty, sleazy info on our esteemed local media professionals. We're so fortunate here in Miami, major art center that we are and all. Just remember the implicit motto of the art scene: "Everything is fine; everyone is wonderful; no need to change a thing." It's pure BS, of course, but it's SO soothing and convenient...



July 28, 2005, 11:33 AM

Sounds like those blogs need Franklin's guidelines.

I had not considered that you might run into "conflict of interest" issues with this blog but since tou do write for other venues I can see how this could occur. I would suspect this is probably a non issue since it has no real corporate impact.

It appears that one of the underlying characteristics of the blog is that it provides an outlet for an alternative voice. This does not necessarily imply that a blog is truthful or makes sense.

This blog is allowing an alternate dialog to occur which examines more than one side of the issue. It acts an antidote to the "silent majority" This is significant and highly valuable.



July 28, 2005, 12:44 PM

I recognize at least a little similarity of plight in the stories above to my city's own weekly and daily rags.

The advertisers sure seem to have the say, whether they say so or not. The editors exude this "You have no idea how much pressure I'm under" sort of attitude, meaning that their primary concern is the bottom line: the ratio of paying words to gratis words.

Did anyone notice how many front page "articles" were generated by StarWars during the release of the most recent presequel? Even was besot by the mania.

Too bad the front pages of printed serial publications don't look a little like they did 50 or more years ago - with lots of writing, lots of items and the occassional illustration. Now it's all splash and look-at-me.



July 28, 2005, 1:02 PM

I spoke with the arts "reporter" from the one respectable daily newspaper here the other day.

A few of us had already sent letters to the editors re: the lack of critical comment in visual art columns. We noted that there was sufficient critical consideration by informed people in every possible realm of culture, usually including dissenting opinions: cinema, literature, travel, video games, automobiles, finances, religion, etc. etc. But, there was nothing on visual arts but descriptive cheerleading - yay it's art.

So I says to the "reporter," I says, "Why?"

He says, "The editors don't want opinion pieces."



July 28, 2005, 1:08 PM

You are right, George.

It is interesting that to be "pure" you have to be "free", and when you are "free" (that is, everything civil is allowed) you are by definition "impure", because everything is accepted as fair game.

Being an old fart pessimist I wake up every day wondering when this freedom will be compromised. It is a rare and delicate thing, and there are an awful lot (and they are an awful lot) of people out there who just cannot tolerate it..



July 28, 2005, 1:08 PM

You are right, George.

It is interesting that to be "pure" you have to be "free", and when you are "free" (that is, everything civil is allowed) you are by definition "impure", because everything is accepted as fair game.

Being an old fart pessimist I wake up every day wondering when this freedom will be compromised. It is a rare and delicate thing, and there are an awful lot (and they are an awful lot) of people out there who just cannot tolerate it..



July 28, 2005, 1:10 PM

franklin, that double post occurred without any warning window, I was having trouble posting, I checked the page and posted again and two posts came up. I don't know what happened.



July 28, 2005, 1:12 PM

One thing however, George - you said we function as an "antidote" to the "silent majority", where I see us more as their voice.



July 28, 2005, 1:21 PM

My comments were also having trouble posting, Franklin. But I wasn't hasty, and it all turned out alright in the end.



July 28, 2005, 1:26 PM

So free as to choose whom/what to be beholden to. A paradox, or tension, that is very difficult to account for.



July 28, 2005, 1:38 PM

Op, by antidote, I meant giving voice to the silence



July 28, 2005, 2:33 PM

Right on George. the Antidote to Silence.



July 28, 2005, 3:01 PM

George, just to be a pedant, allow me to point out that "antidote to (or for) the silent majorty" implies a corrective for the majority, whereas Matty's "antidote to silence" takes aim at the problem, which is silence.

Sorry; I can't help myself.



July 28, 2005, 3:41 PM

Op ok, "antidote to silence" is what I meant



July 28, 2005, 3:51 PM

Ahab (#4), your story is both sad and predictable. Perhaps the newspaper people (in general, not just in your area) simply don't care or don't take art seriously enough, so they figure any kind of coverage will do. Of course, if the movers and shakers in the art establishment really did care, they'd be on the newspaper people's backs till they shamed them into providing better coverage, but guess what? The system benefits from toothless, spineless art reporting (because it sure as hell isn't art criticism).

The main thing is to keep the mindless art scene lovefest going, whereby everyone thinks (or acts as if) everything and everyone is fabulous, the money keeps flowing, and the parties go on and on. Whatever happens, the system must not be called seriously into question, rigorous standards must not be adopted, and any and all BS must be defended as long as it's convenient and profitable.



July 28, 2005, 4:02 PM

"the sound of alternative journalism" = "the sound of one hand clapping" (?)



July 28, 2005, 9:01 PM

Good to hear you'll be spreading the artblog gospel up in Canada...

If you need a few words to preface your statement at the conference, I thought you might like these ones (I'm sure you've read them before, being the Karate Kid fan that you are).

Now I am going to make a statement here.
I don’t know whether it fits into the category of other people’s statements or not.
But whether it fits into their category or whether it doesn’t, it obviously fits into some category.
So in that respect it is no different from their statements.
However, let me try making my statement.
- Chuang-Tzu


bi woman w/ bodacious rack

July 28, 2005, 9:54 PM

F, thanks for the blog idea. See ya in the funny papers.



July 29, 2005, 1:53 AM

"Our last stop on this ramble is a podcast tour of the Met's modern galleries by Lee Siegel for Slate, which was duly slapped by Modern Kicks and Grammar.police. Quoth JL: "I pretty much gagged." Slate - alternative media, right? Podcasting - alternative media, right? But Siegel's product is insufferable. It sounds like alternative journalism, but it's inane."

I repeated part of Franklin's original observations because it has occurred to me an important part of his commentary referring to the "podcast tour of the Met" might have been overlooked. I had read both Kirston's and JL's blog commentary on this, to be truthful I haven't listened to the "podcasts" for technical reasons. So I'm going on what I read not what I heard.

First off, thanks to the two other blogs for bring the issue to our attention.

Specifically, what are the issues being raised here? Are we talking about poor connoisseurship, poor criticism or just some bad humor at the expense of the Met? I assume Slate is widely read and their "art" section has always struck me as exasperating. Just because we have a new media delivery technology does not mean the content should not be held to the same standards as other modes of delivery.

Is anyone else here paying attention to this development?



July 29, 2005, 7:38 AM

Franklin: You posted an earlier column from "the bitch" in the Miami NewTimes that was pure gossip....remember the closing of Objex Artspace? It's beyond me how that was allowed to be printed. And Dustin, the target of such slander later wrote in discrediting the "story." So what's the real story?

In Miami, it seems the want-to-be art writers are as young as the artists that are all the buzz. "Poseurs" as you would call some with little art to describe.

One bright spot is the artwriter for the Biscayne Times...i'm drawing a blank on the name.....but recent ideas resonate. Trouble is the paper is small and can be missed.

When in Montreal visit the Belgo Building for art. And start saving your loonies for a rooftop dinner at Aix.



July 29, 2005, 8:20 AM

George, about all I could get was a Media Player set of excerpts from Siegel's commentary, which I found irritating. None of this seems to have much to do with art as such.



July 29, 2005, 8:24 AM

Just because we have a new media delivery technology does not mean the content should not be held to the same standards as other modes of delivery.

My point exactly, George. Content that would be tedious in written form is only going to become moreso as a recording, so there's no point in podcasting something for the sake of alternative-ness or cutting-edgery or whatnot.

Bob, for the record, Bitch's post about Objex was brought up by someone in the comment threads, and to be fair, just because Dustin wrote in to refute it, doesn't mean that it's not true. It's not like they fact-checked his letter of comment. But you're right in that Carey's story was one-sided gossip.

The BBT's art writer is K. Lee Sohn, and the last piece I saw from her was a vituperative mess. I noted somewhere already that she posses one key ingredient for a critic - bile - but I need to see more craft from her before I get excited about her work.

Thanks for the Montreal tip.



July 29, 2005, 9:48 AM

I'm just skimming comments, so forgive me if i'm off-topic... I also haven't heard the full podcast, but I did watch the excerpt video on Slate.

It seems to me that the intended audience for this audio tour is people who've been to the Met numerous times and want a fresh perspective. To that end, the recording is an irreverent look at the work. We have the Met's auido guide telling us why and how all the work is great, it seems like something that points out possible downsides is not a bad thing.

Not only do I not see the problem with this, but I think it's a good thing. Furthermore, I see absolutly no reason why such a recording should be held to the same standard of quality as the Met's own audio guide. While it makes serious points about the work, ultimately it is done tounge-in-cheek.

In fact, I see irreverent audio guides as a potentially huge thing, sort of like an auido postcards. People of much more modest means then Slate could make "tour" recordings or all sorts of things and post them as podcasts. A very interesting idea, which for me overshadows whatever quibbles we might have with the content.



July 29, 2005, 9:50 AM

Specifically, what are the issues being raised here? Are we talking about poor connoisseurship, poor criticism or just some bad humor at the expense of the Met?

Bad humor at the expense of the Met wouldn't bother me so much. However great it is, it's just another institution, and subject to the same vanities and faults that all others are, or we are ourselves.

For those who didn't follow Franklin's link to my post, or who couldn't access the little bit of audio file I posted from Siegel's podcast, it was just a snippet from his introduction. Before beginning speaking about any specific paintings, he gives a little talk about how people should feel comfortable using their own judgments in evaluating the art in the museum. No problem with that per se, but they he goes on a little tangent about how stuffy 19th century paintings are, and why the works he'll discuss are different. "The nineteenth century," he says, "sound like this," and a brief piano interlude plays, which we, it is clear from the context, are meant to find stiff and prissy. "Modernist sound like this," he goes on, his words followed by a thumping worldbeat percussion break.

That's all I included, though it seemed to me to typify a lot of what was really objectionable in Siegal's criticism. It was reductive to the point of caricature, and therefore insulting. To the extent that it touched on issues that might be of interest - the relationship between music and art, say, or the "primitivist" impulse in some 20th century art movements - it buried them under a simplistic antithesis that was the opposite of illuminating. It seemed to me to be a product of a know-nothing attitude smart enough to be judgmental, but too shallow to understand. That may seem a heavy load to place on one short segment, but as I said, Siegel's little musical joke encapsulated something I'd felt characteristic of his overall approach.

Kriston, discussing different parts of the podcast, put it somewhat better in comments to his post at Grammar.police: "The problem with Siegel's criticism is that he always goes for the gimmick: playing up Picasso's peccadilloes and Stein's ugly mug to the point of caricature. He gives Twombly the same treatment (for no discernable reason). It's hard for me to trust his instincts because I know he always reaches low."

All that said, I'm very suspicious of the whole museum podcast idea, even as I understand while some find it intriguing. If regular audio tours are bad (and they are), I find it hard to see why alternative ones filled with snark and condescension are better. I do see how someone who wanted to feel superior to the artwork on display might find them attractive, though.



July 29, 2005, 11:17 AM

I don't do audio guides. I never have. I find the very idea highly dubious; it's spoon-feeding or hand-holding for people who are too lazy or insecure to deal with the art directly and on their own. It's also unnatural and distracting. I simply don't believe in interacting with art by proxy. If someone isn't willing to do the work required himself, he's not serious about art. This is not a technology issue; it's much more basic than that.



July 29, 2005, 11:32 AM

Alesh, from what littlle I heard I have to go with JL. There is nothing wrong with another opinion, a contrary opinion, nothing at all, but it has to be done well.

I have from time to time heard what they say on those pods (though, like Jack, I have never rented one) and often much of what the museum says is dumbdown garbage and should be refuted. But what I heard on the Seigel recording was distasteful and pointless.



July 29, 2005, 2:11 PM

JL - I thought that as an art lover and blogger you might jump at the chance to produce audio tours for the MFA Boston, Gardner, Clark Institute, or Mass MoCA.

The solution to bad speech is more speech. Anyone who dislikes one audio tour has the right to create or support another. Soon people could have multiple tours loaded onto their players, trying out each one to see which works best for them, eventually sticking for good with the voice that corresponds more to their own.

You said in your review of the de Kooning bio that the authors were "consistent and subtle advocates for the paintings." What if they decided to produce audio descriptions of de Kooning's works, especially ones that gave more insight into the "inside game underlying the development of de Kooning’s paintings," to be downloaded whenever a museum-goer were in the vicinity of one of them? (I didn't find all their analyses very convincing myself, but some were better than others, especially for later works.)

At a museum I enjoy exchanging intelligence with other people, even imperfect or impure. Any painting that deserves to be in a museum should be able to withstand a few challenges, and besides, contrary or untoward opinions often have the opposite effect of what they intended. The human mind is not such a delicate organ that impurities will damage it permanently.

P.S. Of course, other people's idea of a good time is slighly different: Scores of naked or scantily clad people wandered the museum, lured by an offer of free entry to "The Naked Truth," a new exhibition of early 1900s erotic art, if they showed up wearing just a swimsuit -- or nothing at all.



July 29, 2005, 2:55 PM

Hiovig, I can't understand what you are suggesting, as a practical matter.



July 29, 2005, 3:25 PM

Hi Hovig,

I thought that as an art lover and blogger you might jump at the chance to produce audio tours for the MFA Boston, Gardner, Clark Institute, or Mass MoCA.

Perhaps I would. It's not inconcievable. I'm as prone to fall in love with my own voice as anyone else. And it might do me good, open up some new opportunities. But I'm not sure the resulting audio would be a good thing for the art or enhance visitors' engagement with it.

I don't quite understand your turn to the language of rights in the next paragraph ("Anyone who dislikes one audio tour has the right to create or support another", etc.) If museums were trying to prevent people from creating their own audio tours, or from listening to non-official ones in the galleries, that would be a bad thing. Though even then, I could accept a policy of no audio guides allowed at all, with the museum not offering one itself on grounds of principle.

If a museum wanted to get Stevens and Swan, or some other writers, to produce audio tracks regarding various paintings and make them available in the galleries, that's its business. Already one finds things like these being done. At the MFA recently, I went by a reinstalled Egyptian gallery that had, in addition to the works on display (which were not originals, but replicas of royal furniture made for the museum decades ago), a video playing documenting their recent conservation. And as technology gets more sophisticated, and more creative applications for it are found, more uses of it will make their way into the galleries. Personally, I doubt I'd avail myself of them, at least not in most cases, but that ultimately is a question of taste. But as long as they don't become too intrusive on the experience of those who don't want to use them (and here everyone draws the line differently), I've got no problem.

I would disagree with you that uses of technology represent an exchange of views. I also "enjoy exchanging intelligence with other people, even imperfect or impure" when viewing art (and let's face it, imperfect and impure communication is the best we can do.) But listening to an audio guide, even the best, most intelligent and profound possible, even one that offers a radically revisionist account in contrast to the "official" museum line, isn't a dialogue. You may disagree with it, but the audio track doesn't hear you. It is, in fact, the contrast between such silent, self-contained listening-to, as opposed to the sociable, engaged, conversing-with, that comes close to the heart of what I dislike about any sort of audio tour.



July 29, 2005, 3:50 PM

Oh, and just to clarify: while I liked the de Kooning book quite a bit, to say that the authors are "consistent and subtle advocates" for his work is not to say that their arguments always convince. It is, in fact, a polite way of hinting the opposite, as I think the rest of the relevant paragraph in that post goes on to show. Again, just to clarify.



July 29, 2005, 4:47 PM

JL - Your post seemed disparaging of third-party audio tours in general -- I didn't see any evidence that you supported the concept at all, putting Lee Siegel's examples aside -- so I wrote a more general response.

I was trying to make the case that, by supporting the very idea of third-party tours, bad tho some of them may be, we support the improvement of the genre in general. The mere fact of competition usually causes improvement.

When you say "the audio track doesn't hear you," it would like me saying your blog doesn't hear me. Assuming you accept emails and comments regarding the contents of your audio tours, you would at least be engaged in more of an active dialog than the distributor of the museum tour or exhibition catalog. You'd also be in a position to update your tours based on feedback. "New! Version 6.0! 20% more entertaining than before!"

I think you may have missed my point when you said a museum might get Stevens and Swan to record commentaries for them. My point was that Stevens and Swan could make recordings independently, say for AOL. Since de Kooning's works are spread around the world, the commentaries would not be an audio tour as such, but commentaries on specific works, to accompany the viewer as they went from museum to museum.

A museum tour could be comprised of many such commentaries. You might take it upon yourself to assemble the specific comments you enjoyed most, maybe Stevens and Swan's comment on this work, maybe Robert Hughes's comment on that work, perhaps Arthur Danto's on the other work, maybe even Lee Siegel's on yet another work, and put them into a compilation that covers a specific museum's holdings.

Maybe someone will make audio commentaries about gallery shows too. The Chelsea Crawl may never be the same.

Oldpro - I'm saying get yourself a microphone and let's hear some of your commentary in person.

Or, maybe I'm saying you should go to a museum in nothing but your artblog thong.

Who knows what I'm saying. It's Friday.

JL - I also found the authors' gentle touch a benefit throughout the book. They rarely commented on their subject (about whose personal life much "commentary" could have been generated indeed), but let the facts speak for themselves, and included what seemed like a broad enough array of facts to show the whole story. It was only when some of their comments on the paintings started to get a bit subjective and emotional that I started speed-reading. Thankfully it was only for a paragraph or two, here and there, and primarily for the earlier works.



July 29, 2005, 6:01 PM

I'm opposed to audio guides in principle, regardless of who may make them or how. Art should be experienced as directly as possible, and the interaction between the work and the viewer should be as personal as possible. Museums push these so-called guides primarily because they can charge for them--and profit-motive aside, the whole concept is very condescending. We're talking about a crutch, a deterrent to people taking responsibility for their own connection with art and for doing what must be done to experience art as it should be.

Museums should enforce quiet just as libraries do, and for the same reason. I do NOT want to hear other people talking about anything while I'm there, since the point of my visit is to see the work, not to hear anybody else's opinion of it. Frankly, I'd prefer it if there were no other people there at all, or only a few, to minimize distraction. That's why my ideal sort of place is something like the Frick in New York or the Dulwich near London. Don't even talk to me about "blockbuster" show scenarios, which are at best a very mixed bag.

Bottom line: There's no free lunch. If people aren't prepared to do what it takes to interact with art, they should pursue something that means more to them. Museum-sponsored pandering is only defensible as a business move. When someone has the requisite aptitude for art, s/he doesn't need nudging or coddling or baby-sitting; s/he just does it.



July 29, 2005, 7:29 PM


I think there are two topics that are get mixed together here. To the extent that I and others were criticizing Siegel, it was about him as a critic, his arguments and tendencies, regardless of the medium. That is, in his podcast I found the same sort of low, reductive, and facile criticism I've seen him do elsewhere and I attacked it. At the same time, it is true I'm skeptical about any sort of audio tour and said so, but his doing one in itself was not what bothered me. After all, even if I don't like them generally, I can imagine museum audios that I'd like a lot better than his.

I think you touch on the most interesting aspect of the podcasts, and what will surely be other things like it (as blogs already are) is the DIY culture. And sure, we could have all sorts of people far more interesting and intelligent doing them, and the opportunity to cut and paste them together, bring it to the museum and then come back and offer comments, criticisms, etc., that might lead to changes in it. Cool. But when Franklin posts here, or I do at MK, the debate (if it occurs) happens in that space along with our original statements. I think still, with the podcast, the actual use of it in the context of the museum involves a sort of passivity (along with being a potential distraction and isolating factor.) Afterwards you might chew the fat, but not at the time of the encounter with the work of art.

I can imagine exceptions, especially ones done with the encouragement or involvement of the institution. Siegel's use of music ticked me off, but when not have an exhibition that brought together musical and visual experiences in different ways through use of .mp3 players, podcasts, what-have-you? Could be interesting, at the least.

Part of what's involved in different people's attitudes toward things like audio tours is our underlying sense of what a museum space is for, and how it is properly used. I don't think there's a single answer to that question. Obviously we think of them most naturally as places to look at art, and often when in that mode I prefer the quiet, solitary looking that Jack describes, with no distractions, please. On the other hand, art seems to me something that brings forth our desire to communicate with others (it is, after all, in a sense a communication from others to us, after all.) We've all seethed when trying to concentrate on a painting while some pretentious jackass goes on loudly about his opinions; that's no fun. But viewing art with others, and talking about it in its presence, is a valid and often revealing way to experience it.

And of course, there are all the other reasons people come - to learn, to draw, some to be seen. Some of these the museum actively encourages, such as education, and that brings a lot of distractions in the form of labels, wall text, audio guides, and groups of screaming children. We may not like it, but that's part of what the museum's about as well. Other uses of the museum may not be such core functions, but are part of its life as a public space. While it's possible for a small institution like the Frick to enforce highly restrictive uses and standards, that's not the case with the larger public museums, nor should it be. I'm not saying anything goes, or should go, just that as long as everyone's behaving in a manner basically respectful of the institution and each other, no one really can complain too much (if they're not, then out the door, however.). It may not be ideal, it may be a compromise - but in a way, that's the point. It's for everyone, and we all gotta live together.

Wow, I sound like a big hippie at the end. Time to get off the computer.



July 30, 2005, 11:37 AM

i dont know , bnut somebody tell me. blog-weblog-right. Ok so you put stuff into rthis log on the virtual space.

looks more like a chat most of the time. What is the running count for dates on this thing

maybe the self importance tone -guardians, judges, whatever!-just takes away from it all

this is just a place where if you have something to say-it will stay
seems to me that most of these comments are not because you have something to say but from the compulsion that you have to say something.

whats so good about this-it would be that it is unedited-complete, but having witnessed a few moments where some people were silenced, it just turns into the same thing as "out there". someone thinking they are creating this all free space but will fall into the same absolute power role they were fighting against from the beginning.

perhaps a search engine applied to the site where refrencing can be done and analysis of the intellectual states of people at different moments and poiint out, beyond the shadow of a doubt how hypocritical most comments are-especially in situational contexts-simple things like criticizing peoples spelling or referencingwqhile worsening the mistake being picked

and, it is amazing how big jerk people can be even without presence, how severely they will subject posters to wrath and never really know haw to take it




July 30, 2005, 12:50 PM

If you have a criticism to make, Jeebs, be specific.



July 30, 2005, 12:53 PM

Jeebs, I occasionally have to clear up the misconception that this is an open forum. It's not - it's my blog. Comments continue at my pleasure. Ideas come here to do battle and the strongest writers tend to win. The irony - for you, anyway - is that the strongest writers are the least likely to feel pangs when someone tosses around vague charges of hypocrisy or whatnot. Good luck starting your own forum.



July 30, 2005, 2:51 PM

What is the running count for dates on this thing
Right atthe top of the page jeebs, 591 posts

From what I can tell Franklin started counting on 5 May 2003. This is a rate of 1 post every 1.382 days. For thos3 of you into growth patterns 1.382 is apart of the fibonacci number sequences.

1.382-1 = 0.382
1-0.382 = 0.618 which is the golden mean
0.618*0.618 = 0.382
1/0.382 = 2.618
2.618 = 1.618*1.618

and so and so forth



July 30, 2005, 5:46 PM

George, I thought he was talking about meeting people.

But that's just me.



July 30, 2005, 5:58 PM





ms quoted

July 30, 2005, 6:11 PM

George, that was the prettiest growth pattern I have ever seen.



August 1, 2005, 11:20 AM


in that case, as a host, you are downright rude. but that doesn't cross me. my point goes more in the direction of unclear stances on topics. Nearly all comments are as if borrowed from some one else and the actual contribution of personal opinion of critical value seems lost. There is this completely undefined goodness, that while attempts are made to define it, get lost in little squabbles.

please note that i am addressing this specifically to the subject at hand, and the only people who responded to this are the ones who felt most identified. I am not trying to get on anyones side, and would gladly take on anyone in a battle of wits-intelligent dialogue, not intellectually verbose, off topic ramblings. and that is not to be taken as i cannot establish connections between things, but rather enjoy obvious causal relationships, instead of getting on zen scale where interconnectedness is silly to discuss since it is an assumption.

The most compelling argument is that i dont see selfcriticism on the part of the most vehement criticizers. there are comments made so large a scale that it inherently implies inclusion, and nulls the argument to a "everybody does it" stance. in this sense do i see hypocrisy and it is not an accusation, just an observation. to pull out specific instances i would have to search back through too many comments and i am reluctant to do so at the lack of a site applied search engine. I vaguely remember in the recent comments concerning Duchamp$ But again, i seek not to convince you, just to point out something that simply seems to be overlooked...and the whole time, notice how i respond directly without leaving the topic of diablog. i do not need to reference mail art, or at the advent of cheap recording devices, the "logs" of simple conversations and videos that reveal some of the thoughts and life of thinkers. But alas i do. Would you like specific references to these, or is the mention enough to do a personal search for those interested? The parallel dynamics in the interactions are very compelling, and beg for investigation. In th end, whether or not you choose to take this in has little to do with my sophistication, but with your resolve, and yes i do recognize strong stances on issues-it's just that i believe these stances were taken a long time ago and are in need of actualization. i believe that this is an implied mission of this blog. but not for other people, for yourself. if anything, just realize that since in most part the culpability of the present state of affairs in art is almost always attributed to critics, art consultants, teachers, administrators, and the other formal profesionals in the art community, realize that you are one of these-and the current paradigm is by your own wide declarations, a result of previous failures of those in these positions, and that these "positions" are those of some people on this blog. In other words, the heroe stance taken on this blog seems delusional in the sense that these are veteran art writers, and in one way or another have contributed to the problem, and while cleaning up your own mess is rare in this day and age, it is hardly heroic.and to assume no responsibility in the creation of the problem implies a butting in its solving. i assume a responsibility. Perhaps i am including more of the actual person than the virtual identity of the bloggers, but this just seems like a mentally healthy practice.

anyways, please, real person, realize the reality of this situation and more than anything the relevancy of these comments to the chosen topic versus an assumption of mischevousness to monkey wrench the machine.



August 1, 2005, 11:30 AM

Once again, Jeebs,be specific. We talk about specifics here, back and forth. This is just a generalized complaint, sort of a nebulous whine, if you will. There's no possible response.



August 1, 2005, 12:09 PM

Jeebs, I'm lost along with OldPro here, I don't have a clue what you are referring to. Sometimes I'm not so bright, maybe you could condense it down to two or three sentences?




August 1, 2005, 1:00 PM

I think you are asking too much, George, but we'll see.



August 5, 2005, 5:01 PM

In response to your request, George and oldpro, I address specifics as suggested by the topic of the page. Since the topic is about blogging I comment about the dynamcis I have observed. In this blog in specific I noted a chat type of atmosphere where commentors respond not neccesarily to each other and not neccesarily of the topic at hand. To appreciate claims of hypocricy I choose to look at a general picture whereas comming from specifics. I just post thoughts and observations to dialogue better coffee.



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