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I think a change would do you good

Post #717 • January 26, 2006, 10:15 PM • 130 Comments

I have some big plans for, but I don't want to spring them on you all at once. I wanted to start with a bit of cleanup, a bit of getting back to my roots (the random color is back!), and a bit of design that will enable screen readability from further than eight inches away. (Sit up straight! Get your nose off of that computer screen! That's better.)

The comment form is still the same, but that whole thing needs rethinking, so it will stay the old way for a few days. Everything else should be behaving, more or less. If anything is blowing up, let me know. We got a new About page, refreshing (to me) simplification, color, and - will wonders never cease - capital letters in the headlines.

That thing next to the number of the post? That's a minus sign. Go click that. All the functionality is still there, and more, much more, is coming.




January 26, 2006, 11:03 PM

Well from a design perspective, i would prefer your old header image at the top (i enjoy those and they don't work as well framed and small), with your new type style and headline style below it. yes a much easier read this way with the bigger, kerned out type.

Gong Hae Fat Choy (Happy Chinese New Year) to all you beautiful people.



January 26, 2006, 11:13 PM

I think people will be less likely to carry on with an old thread if the recent archive is not readily available on the left column, as before.

I agree with MEK about the old header image; it had a casual, carefree, inviting look. The new one is cramped and like a logo rather than a picture.

the larger type face and the very slight tanning of the ground is good. I prefer sans serif type like Geneva, but this is a taste thing, I guess.

My machine will not open the "comments"



January 26, 2006, 11:32 PM

Gung Hei Fat Choy to you too, Mek. The old header image was burning major real estate at the top of the screen. That got on my nerves after a while.

Oldpro, the new image will start switching out soon and I think will take on a charm of its own - a little window into the world of people looking at art. I have generally preferred sans-serif fonts as well but was looking a bit too machined for my tastes lately. If you can't open the Comments page, that's bad. I can't duplicate that problem. Keep trying and keep me posted on that. (Anybody else?) You're also using Mac IE 5, which I can't deal with. The color of the ground is set to white, so regarding the slight tanning, I recommend Windex, or not, if you like it.



January 26, 2006, 11:43 PM


I like the larger type face. It probably could work 1 size smaller without loosing any readability at a distance. I prefer the serif font for its readability.

I agree with Oldpro. I prefer the olderarchive format listing the most recent posts. It saves two clicks.

As for the header image layout, well do what you want there as long as a page reload gets a new color or image. That was handy to see if the page had actually updated and not just reloaded the cache file

Looks like you reformatted the comments in the last five minutes so they have the outline separator - like that

If you have something new in mind for the left column, a three column layout would be ok since when the body text lines are too wide they are harder to read (I like newspaper layouts)



January 27, 2006, 12:15 AM

I'm torn between having the functionality of the recent posts down the left and that beautiful expanse of white space. Try to make the Comments page work for you - it's as easy as reloading the main post and more informative. When there are images on the main post, I think reloading is an expensive way to find out about new content.



January 27, 2006, 6:52 AM

Great Franklin, I love change - people need change, for the eyes, the mind and the body. Thus I'm going for a good breezy walk today.



January 27, 2006, 8:49 AM

Awesome. Looks great !



January 27, 2006, 9:01 AM

I like it - change does me very nice. I take a little issue with the fluid width aspect - my monitor is 1280 pixels wide (not uncommon, i think), so now i have to struggle to read, or manually make my browser window narrower, which is a drag. Thumbs up on the random color, the smaller picture, and the promises of more big changes on the horizon.



January 27, 2006, 9:35 AM

There was nothing broken, Franklin, and the changes are not an improvement, which is the only good reason for making changes. The recent threads with number of comments at the left-hand side definitely need to be put back; the new versions of that are annoying and clearly less efficient. The font for the comments looks prissy and brittle. The logo thing with the changing colors is a pointless gimmick, far less distinctive and distinguished than the changing drawings, and the colors are ugly. And the enlarged and bolder type for the main post is loud and overemphatic. Not a happy camper.



January 27, 2006, 10:03 AM

Hey Jack, I agree with you. But I also know that each iteration of artblog has been born looking quite awkward and even ugly. Yet they evolved into satisfying layouts as they matured. I'd bet this one does too.

Meantime all the old folks who have refused to get their bifocals updated should be delighted.


Margot Kidder

January 27, 2006, 10:11 AM

it's just a blog people. tweak, tweak. it's a blog. it's not the savior for miami art critique. the old archives were better, any designer with common sense would realize that.




January 27, 2006, 10:17 AM

Margot/Jessica: You are wrong. Artblog IS the savior for miami art critique, for now, for sure. And it saves it in a few other places too.



January 27, 2006, 11:12 AM

Ahhh... it feels so good to be sitting up straight again.
Thank you !



January 27, 2006, 11:57 AM

Catfish is right, Margot. I think this is the only place to turn for any kind of "loyal opposition" to the way things are done here and in the art world in general. It may not be the "savior", especially in the short run, but it sure as hell is performing a necessary service found nowhere else.

I agree with you about the archives. I would not only return them to the left column but post alerts about recent new comments, if this is possible to do automatically.

I wish I could open the "comments" but I guess that is hopeless.


Marc Country

January 27, 2006, 12:08 PM

I'm with Jack on the redesign, for now anyway... I feel a bit like I'm in the Large Print section at the bookstore... seems like you could shave some picas off of just about all the text... and I have been known to comment on past threads in the past, but I'm lcertainly ess likely to do so if I have to click through the unintuitive + and - one at a time to get where I'm going.


Margot Kidder

January 27, 2006, 12:14 PM

Not to rabble-rouse, but I just find that there's too much hype here for what it is. Intellectual discussion is fine and encouraged, especially in the art-critique drought that exists in Miami.

So many people say that this is the savior for art critique, but in the past few days I've been sent links to far better, more professions digressions on art. I've never been a fan of Miami New Times, it's mundane. But these seem particularly promising in a way that this blog doesn't. This is no ill will towards Franklin, I just feel as if it's a perpetual start-stop of hype, as with GoSeeArt, which seems to exist in a standstill.

Want information on the local art scene and how citizens and local writers feel about current happenings? I suggest these links I mentioned. I was pleasantly surprised by their thoroughness and encourage everyone to at least skim through them.

Critical Miami: Wonderful insight about Terence Riley, and they even scooped the Miami Sun Post.

ignore Magazine Miami: I was just sent a link to this by a friend who has started writing for them. Their arts coverage is different, more low-brow based, agreed, but reflective of this city, definitely. - Damien B. exhibit - Rocket Projects exhibit



January 27, 2006, 12:46 PM

You are a kidder all right, Margot.

The Riley post was informative but Franklin actually interviewed the guy, for crying oput loud! And the ensuing discussion was in way more depth and much more informative. Didn't you read Baileys comments? Go take another look, please.

I got a 404 on the other 2 links.

And what in the world is this "start/stop of hype" you refer to?

Are you related to these people or something? Or do you just have some bone to pick?



January 27, 2006, 12:51 PM

I opened ignore magazine with Google and the first sentence of the featured article is

"So this chick has her tongue up my ass. I can't believe it's happening, and in front of all these people!"

Yeah. Reflective of what's happening in Miami, for sure, if that's what you want. I'd say more nobrow than lowbrow.

Stick with it Kidder.



January 27, 2006, 12:53 PM

franklin, re: wasting real estate at the top - does this mean we will be seeing some advertising on our spacious clean blog? oh bah! i suppose you need to generate some revenue, but i rather enjoyed the charm of the anti-design aspect to your page. good luck with your plans. ps. old design is still on comment page but i assume you know that. death to advertising!


Margot Kidder

January 27, 2006, 12:58 PM

No bones. No, I'm not related to anyone from either site, nor do I contribute. Are you related to Franklin or do you just like the site? And the other links work fine for me. As an art student, I'm just a little dismayed that seems to aspire to be the centerpiece for art critique in Miami, yet it's little more than five people who deem the site exclusive while bickering that no one else in Miami seems to know a thing about art. it's certainly not the "only" source in the city. and for all the "improvements," all I have seen are slight graphic changes that any freshmen with basic HTML knowledge could implement. that's called "hype." the content has not improved. there are no thorough reviews or interviews, etc. all of this pessimistic talk about politics hurts the scene. why don't you go out and create, or throw an event or review a show or interview an artist? b/c that takes effort.

stay a blog, but why keep trying to represent the miami art world if you can't and don't have the resources to do so. it's totally self-serving.



that guy

January 27, 2006, 1:05 PM

Text is too big. The old comments column was better thought out. Change can be good but only if it is better than what was before.



January 27, 2006, 1:06 PM

Accusations need support, Margot. You are just hurling putdowns. "No interviews"? I just mentioned one in my last comment. Do you read?

I encourage everyone to go look at Ignore Mazine. Aside from the wonderful lead piece about the chick with the tongue up someone's ass, there are miniart reviews which are basically gossipy bits which drop lots of names and suck up to gallery owners. I suppose this is the "youth culture" all of us old farts are incapable of understanding.

It's all yours, babe.



January 27, 2006, 1:08 PM

And, by the way, we all do create, all the time, and we even "threw an event" in December.

Get it together, Jess.



January 27, 2006, 1:15 PM

And FURTHERMORE who ever claimed to "represent the Miami art world" Not me. Not Franklin. Not anyone who posts here as far as I know. What we do is CRITICISE the Miami art world. it needs it.

I know, I'm ranting. This blog is not perfect, for sure, but if you are going to get on our case go after our opinions, not your opinion of our opinions, or, better yet, just go read about tongues & assholes.


Margot Kidder

January 27, 2006, 3:02 PM

oldpro says: if you are going to get on our case go after our opinions, not your opinion of our opinions, or, better yet, just go read about tongues & assholes.

in response i point out...

catfish says (above): Margot/Jessica: You are wrong. Artblog IS the savior for miami art critique, for now, for sure. And it saves it in a few other places too.

and btw oldpro, i have no interest in private body parts, nor do i see an example of where a gallery owner's ass was kissed in the ignore review. i find that former comment especially close-minded and a perfect example of the lack of toleration this blog seems to have for anyone who wishes to discuss anything not ARTBLOG or closely resembling the opinions of the core groupies who reside on artblog. yet, it's THE SAVIOR for miami crtitique. because I like a local and relevant art review outside of the ARTBLOG realm, i am therefore related to the source of it. WTF are you talking about?

the end.



January 27, 2006, 3:58 PM

Artblog may be the savior, Margot. But is sure as hell does not represent the art scene of Miami, nor does it pretend to. That was your supposition, not ours.

My remark was hardly "close-minded", it was just an observation. I didn't get on my computer and to rag your blog. But you did just that . If you want to criticise this blog with comparison to a site like that be prepared to defend your opinion with more than unsubstantiated putdowns and false observations.



January 27, 2006, 4:23 PM

i liked the old one better


James W. Bailey

January 27, 2006, 6:05 PM

Dear Franklin,

From a reading perspective, I like the new site. However, I preferred the old site for one simple reason: it was easier to default print a post. I usually print several of your posts (with all comments) to take with me to read when flying (I'm pleased to report, by the way, that TSA has never denied me the right to carry these printed posts on board an airplane, although I did once have a federal air marshall eye me suspciously because I was carrying an especially thick post in which someone had made the mistake of calling Mr. Old Pro an old foolish man. As I recall, Mr. Old Pro, like Pai Mei from Kill Bill, effectively plucked their eye out at the end of that post! :) I tried default printing this post and I could hear the screams of sacrificial trees across the land - my computer paper expense is going to rise, especially on the more emotionally charged topics!




January 27, 2006, 7:26 PM

You don't need my advice on your new blog design and plans. But can I have the old one? I'd take good care of it, I promise.

I browse with Firefox, which touts a live feed feature. sports the special live feed icon in the address bar; I've tried to get it to work but always get a "live feed failed to load" message. I know you're not my personal internet tutor, but is there something wrong on my end or yours? If the live feed worked I wouldn't care about the post/comment record in the margin.

Oh, but I do have a comment: maybe you could incorporate more of a cigar parlour ambience. Smoky fade from top to bottom, wingback chairs, and...a snooker table.



January 27, 2006, 8:51 PM

oldpro, way to run off the youth with a cane.

james - pai mei was poisoned and died.



January 27, 2006, 9:32 PM

Franklin, it is good that you are trying to change and improve artblog. I personally liked the old font in “comments”. The new font looks crowded and tight.

I like the new logo on the top left… but it looks too lonely and isolated from the rest of the page. My suggestions are:

1. Create a left column (with the new logo and colors included)
2. Include in the column the “old” comments format , etc...
3. At the bottom of the page, create an anchor link that takes you to the top of the page (this is useful when threads are long)

Again, these are just suggestions and I understand that this is your website and you should do whatever you feel.


James W. Bailey

January 27, 2006, 9:46 PM

Dear Kindlon,

Ah so...but did Pei Mai in fact die?

The Death Of Pai Mei -

Later in Kill Bill's second volume, it is learned that while Elle Driver was undertaking training from Pai Mei sometime after The Bride did, she insulted Pai Mei, calling him a "miserable old fool". This instantly resulted in Pai Mei plucking Elle's eye out for her disrespect (explaining why she wears an eyepatch). And it is also learned that Elle Driver got her revenge on Pai Mei for his actions by poisoning his dinner of fish heads, apparently killing him. As he died, he began to issue a sort of threat, saying, "I give you my word..." but was interrupted by Elle, who told him that "the word of a miserable old fool is worth less than nothing," and performed a coup de grace. However, the entire sequence of events can hardly be considered a fact, as they are revealed through the narration of Elle Driver, who is in the words of Pai Mei a "treacherous dog," while she was squaring off against The Bride in Budd's trailer.

It is however worth noting that if Elle's story can be trusted, one could conclude that whatever promise Pai Mei was about to issue before death was in fact carried out. During The Bride's first encounter with Pai Mei, he locked her in an excruciatingly painful arm hold and declared that her arm belonged to him. It so follows that both of Elle's eyes were plucked out by Pai Mei's hand, leading to her probable (though not confirmed) death.


My bet is that Pai Mei will appear alive and well in Kill Bill Volume 3, just as Mr. Old Pro will be around for many future generations to come kicking the ass of the young art student/art critic grasshoppers who vainly and foolishly attempt to soar with the eagles!


P.S. For those who don't know, I'm a huge fan of Mr. Old Pro and mean all of this with the greatest respect for a revered master whose art critical skills require no Hattori Hanson sword to dispatch his opponents!



January 27, 2006, 9:52 PM

Well, maybe I should wait longer to, uh, get used to it, but, as of now, I still hate it.



January 27, 2006, 10:13 PM

OP: I want you to go to your IE preferences, clear the cache, and copy this address into your browser:
If the page still doesn't load, e-mail me. Mek, same with the comments appearing on the old page. Clear your cache and see if it still shows up there.

Alesh, I'm installing a max-width in the CSS.

Ahab, that Firefox RSS thing has never worked on this site and many others.

James, that's a good point. It's possible to make an alternate stylesheet for printing - I'll get to work on that.

Jack, you hated the last design when I rolled it out too. I think you referred to the purple as "funereal."

Jessica, I claim only to represent my own thoughts, not Miami. I don't see myself in competition with CM, Ignore, or any other project. Enjoy reading, or good luck finding your thing if you don't.

As for my being the savior of anything, it's my turn: WTF? One guy talking about his opinions has become such an unusual event in art writing that it looks revolutionary to anybody? Even if it's true, that's a damn shame.

Luisa, those are good ideas. Soon, in the "3 hours ago, Luisa commented on I have stuff on my mind," the Luisa will link to your comment. I also want to put an ajaxian page refresher so you don't even have to reload it.

I love Kill Bill.



January 27, 2006, 10:18 PM

Take your medicine, Jack. It's like cod liver oil, or Buckley's Cough Sryup. Your not liking it is proof of the good it is doing you.

By the way, don't tell Franklin, but I agree with comment #9, though it may also be hard medicine to swallow - catfish's spoonful of sugar (#10) helps it go down.



January 27, 2006, 10:30 PM

Re Comments

This works fine - new link from new page

My old bookmark, get's the old layout

keep it up



January 27, 2006, 10:57 PM

Hey Franklin, you are not the "savior", artblog is. Artblog has become bigger than you and your "opinions". Surely you understand this ...



January 28, 2006, 7:29 AM

Thanks, James. They can soar with the eagles if they want to, but they might think twice about trying to shoot them down.

Franklin, I can open the comments page with no problem. I just can't open the individual comments. I get an immediate "attempt failed" sign.



January 28, 2006, 8:25 AM

Well, that's a little better. I don't mean to pick nits, but if the ideal line-length is anything up to 12 words, I'm getting around 16 in the main post, sometimes 20 in the comments. Then again, I totally drink the cool-aid on all of this stuff, and Artblog would not be the only site I read where I have to fiddle with my browser window (just as anyone else is welcome to adjust their font size). Not to mention that I should take another stab at finding feed reader that'd work for me, and, uh . . . .

Whoa -- wait a second. I just tried some other browsers, and (Windows XP, keep in mind) each one apparently has a drastically different interpretation of "max-width: 700px" (hell yes i go poking around in peoples' sheets).

Firefox 1.5 says:
I have some big plans for, but I don't want to spring them on you all at
once. I wanted to start with a bit of cleanup, a bit of getting back to my roots (the
random color is back!), and a bit of design that will enable screen readability from
further than eight inches away. (Sit up straight! Get your nose off of that

IE 6 says:
I have some big plans for, but I don't want
to spring them on you all at once. I wanted to start
with a bit of cleanup, a bit of getting back to my roots
(the random color is back!), and a bit of design that

And Opera says:
I have some big plans for, but
I don't want to spring them on you all at
once. I wanted to start with a bit of
cleanup, a bit of getting back to my roots

All are set to the default font size, and in fact, the font size appears pretty much the same in each. Then again, opera is known to fiddle with pixel settings (shouldn't be, in 100% view, tho), and IE is buggy about max-width (how's that for a shock?). Also, the Firefox size seems to correspond to 700 pixels.

All of which is to say, I suppose, that it still falls short of copasetic for me. Then again, I'm with Jack if he preferred the design before the previous one. For my money, that was the good minimalism, with just a dash of disco-ball random color bar action (as I recall, geeks from all over the internet drooled over those semi-random graphics). But yes, these are small things, and human beings are endlessly adaptable, and it is your blog, and there are bigger things to worry about, although apparently not early on a Saturday morning.

Your not liking it is proof of the good it is doing you.

Wow - there's your Artblog t-shirt.

If someone's tallying yay/nay preferences on the quasi-archive in the left bar, I have no official preference, but i'd prefer it with tags indicating how long ago the most recent comment was, in addition or in place of the total number of comments, almost sort of kind of like marrying the archive page and the comments page and letting them have a really smart kid.

But you see where this leads, right? It leads to Franklin playing with the code all day, resulting in rapidly diminishing returns on the user end. I mean, you're going to be in the comment code sometime soon . . . well, why not fix the allowed tags? Surely your hostility to css shouldn't extend to stripping people's 'em' and 'strong' tags. Well, what about 'cite?' Then there's my old gripe about the comment preview having a different width then the actual comments. So no, there is no end to this crap. Best thing, in my opinion, is to get it to the point of acceptability and call it a day. If you don't want to go paint (and who would, really?), perhaps a nice bike ride would do you good. We have some perfect bike riding weather slated for today, I think.



January 28, 2006, 9:17 AM

Oldpro - what happens when you clink "Link" at the top of a post?

Alesh, that's good information to know. Of course, your demos argue against shortening max-width any more - Opera's going to look like the old design if I do. At this expanded point size I don't think the longer line length is unacceptable. Comments may go to Verdana - Georgia's looking just a hair sloppy at the smaller size. Semi-random graphics will return where the current graphic resides. Actually, I want to animate it one day. (Ha! Here come the Flash haters!) We are so getting t-shirts. The archive-comments marriage is an intriguing idea. As for more tags, I've always thought em and strong were ridiculous (What does "strong" mean? It means in this case it will appear as bold until I decide what else I might do to "strong," which will take place never) and people already have enough clever tools to blow the page up.

Here's the shopping list: first, rebuild the comments so that they don't open in a new window. That's so 2001. Two, get the site validating at xhtml 1.1, css, and 508 - hence the simplification, because I'll have plenty to deal with as is. Mostly in the form of old comments with characters imported from Word - I'll have to install something in the display script to change them over on the fly. Items three through six are priveleged information.



January 28, 2006, 9:26 AM

Nah, Verdana in the comments isn't calling to me. But I let out the line height some.


that guy

January 28, 2006, 9:51 AM

I don't mind changing the size of the text alesh, but the more a viewer is asked to do so during any online time, the more that view will be annoyed and not stay around to read the content. Which is far more important.

Jordans going for a breezy walk, Alesh is going biking. Looks like somebody is gearing up for the Artblog biathlon. First one to figure out what kind of art they like wins. Go!


that guy

January 28, 2006, 10:11 AM

and I think I saw oldpro swimming up the Miami river this morning. Maybe its a triathlon.



January 28, 2006, 10:11 AM

When I press "link" at the extreme upper right of the page the box at the left changes color.



January 28, 2006, 10:14 AM

I'm officially stumped, OP. If Link works then individual links from the Comments page ought to work too. They're exactly the same addresses.

Doesn't a biathalon involve shooting stuff? Maybe we can work that in somehow.


that guy

January 28, 2006, 10:22 AM

you are right Franklin, normally skiing and shooting. In Miami its code for a drive by. and instead of skies they use a ghetto sled usually an Escalade or a mid nineties Lincoln town car. Could be a good fundraiser.



January 28, 2006, 10:33 AM


I'm not sure where this new blog design is going but it seems to me that you are missing a major point your readers are telling you and that is they liked the functionality of the old layout. So what does this mean? You are missing something about how the readers of this blog actually navigate through the interface.

Fur example:
1. In the old layout, with the most recent previous posts listed on the left, you provided both the post number and general topic AND the number of comments.
-- This meant that in the course of reading the current post I could look and see if the number of comments on a post had changed prompting a look. Moreover, if I just dropped in on the most recent post, a quick glance would tell me if there were an comments or again how many there were. Since this information was first in the list at the top I could avoid having to scroll the page to the end to see if there was anything new.

2. One aspect of good software design involves making actions and buttons intuitive. Apple's whole business is partly based upon this single idea. In the world of blogs, we have a few generic interface designs provided by Blogger and TypePad. There are a lot of these blogs around and as a result, users have developed an idea how to navigate the layout.
The previous layout was better than the default Blogger options in that the page emphasized/included the comments section inline with the original post in an intuitive fashion (Blogger is clunky in this respect)

Every time I have to think about or click something is time wasted.

So, I am supposed to read the "user manual" to know I'm supposed to click an invisible - which then allows me to move backward in the list of posts. What if I want to read something three days ago, click, click, click, click, click, oops! click, click, click, click.

You are thinking about the design as someone who knows how the software works not as a user. Your users are telling you something different.



January 28, 2006, 10:45 AM

Saturday AM. Still hate it. The new font, for one thing, is like reading something typed on an old manual typrwriter as opposed to professional print.



January 28, 2006, 11:50 AM

George, re your point #1, you said it much better than I did.



January 28, 2006, 1:27 PM


The biatholon is far and away the most fascinating sport in all the olympics, because it gauges your self-knowledge as much as physical ability. Simple targets are set up at intervals along a cross-country ski track. As each skier comes to the target she must decide how long to wait before shooting. Now, cross country skiing is hard work, and gets the heart pumping, which, in turn, makes percise aiming difficult. Missing the target adds a minute to your final time, so waiting a few seconds before taking aim is advisable if it increases accuracy. How long the athlete waits to shoot involves knowing her body, being immune to self-deception, and having the nerves of steel to engage in a sort of prisoner's-dilema-type game against yourself.

I suppose shrugging off the fact that the blog displays wildly different in different browsers is a valid option, though it's rarely one that professional designers have the luxury of. Is max-width the only option? I dunno; probably not. Sheepish: yes, em and strong, respectively, translate to i and b 100% of the time as far as I can tell. Semantic, standards-complient web design holds that you should use them anyway, because . . . well, you know why. Anyway, I brought all that up mainly to illustrate the point that tryint to make EVERYTHING "RIGHT" leads to absurdity.

"At this expanded point size I don't think the longer line length is unacceptable."

Source: Apply the points-times-two line length rule: Take the type size of your body text and multiply it by two. The result is your ideal line length in picas. This gets fuzzy w/r/t screen pages, but if you have 14 point type (a guess), you'd want 28 picas, or 4 and 2/3 inches. Just by eyeball, you're close to twice that. Unacceptable? I guess not, especially considering that that's just the maximum. But it may be just the subliminal thing that's getting under Jack's skin.



January 28, 2006, 2:52 PM

How long has the web been really world wide? A decade or more, right? How is it that all this nuts and bolts stuff isn't largely figured out already? It is amazing how glitchy it all still is. I suppose it's the same with any technology-based industry, and of course everything is t-based to some degree or another.

Every time someone mentions 'development' in relation to computer technology the word 'obsolescence' should be automatically dubbed in by some wrong-word-replacing machine: a Misnomerator. The downside to such a technological breakthrough is it'd be immediately obsolete. Pretty big downside to developing anything.

But in art obsolescence doesn't exist. In my studio, at least, I can choose from any method or visual solution with no fear of anachronism. If an older way of working makes a sculpture better then fine. Retrograde, avant-grade (sic), it's all good.

This could be one reason the computer isn't a great medium for art just yet.



January 28, 2006, 4:14 PM

how come the font is so small and grey? i can't read it! is it my settings?



January 28, 2006, 5:44 PM

Nice post Ahab. "Misnomerater" is good. I'm not sure if your reason for no good computer art is accurate, but I don't have a better one.



January 28, 2006, 6:02 PM

i'm trying to resist the bait here, but . . . aren't movies edited on computers?


rene barge

January 28, 2006, 9:33 PM

franklin, i like this, it appears to be moving towards a more austere presentation, the comments have always been of the austere, and by no means do i make austerity to be of a banal quality. fonts have increasingly become more of a meditation in line for myself. and, so long as the previous post are of immediate accessibility, i am content.
best wishes,



January 28, 2006, 10:31 PM

ahab: my own theory of why computers are not right as a medium for serious art has to do with resistance. On the one hand, there is now a "button" for more "effects" than anyone would ever need. Thus there is insufficient resistance from the computer medium. That the medium resists the efforts of the artist is just as important as the medium's responsiveness. On the other hand, where the computer finally does resist, it resists with a vengence, making the most recalcitrant mule seem like the world's greatest team player. So you wind up getting stuck on what the buttons can do and very little else. Innovation within that medium is almost impossible until a programmer unlocks a new trick, then all the users do it all at once.

That's my theory and theories are always suspect. What I do know is that I haven't seen anything where the computer is primary that constitutes great art. A lot of it is interesting, though. And yes, alesh, movies are edited on computers. That's not the same as making them with computers, however. The computer is just a tool that plays a small part. But what the hell, maybe someday it will all change.



January 29, 2006, 12:10 AM

I think there is somethintg about the "look' of art made with computers, catfish. We had someone using computers to make prints and they simply had a "copmputer-made" quality about them that killed them. It was like watered-down booze. Had nothing to do with knowing they were made with computers at all - in fact, we asked to be sure. Something about that computer look just was not right. I have never seen any other process have that effect - some are hard to get used to but pretty soon you do and then they look innovative, like, say, how Pollock's drips looked 50 yesars ago. I cannot figure it out.



January 29, 2006, 12:28 AM

How long has the web been really world wide? . . . How is it that all this nuts and bolts stuff isn't largely figured out already?

I'm regretting my previous comment (#54). I also recently returned from a trip to the city of my birth, and I think the very map of that city holds some answers.

I like to talk to what I refer to as "legacy issues." The "New City" part of Prague was established by Charles the 4th in the 1400's (yes: that's the NEW city). What was the Old City then, is still, to this day, the center of Prague. With one or two notable exceptions, all of the buildings from that time are gone. Thing is, though, that . . . as each building was destroyed, for whatever reason, and another one rose in its place, what remained was the shape of the street before it. So we have the basic street map of Prague center - unchanged for hundreds of years - much longer then the age of any of the buildings there. This is what I mean by legacy issues.

Legacy issues work exactly the same way on computers -- any given piece of software, in order to be accepted, has to work with what came before it. Under this way of thinking, all the advantages that Macs have over Windows (originally called IBM) computers come from having the ability to learn from 6 years of legacy issues... apple got to start fresh, and gain the benefit of 8 years (1984-1990) of legacy issues without having to accept the legacy. The cost is that, to this day, they have a ~>10% market share - more legacy issues.

What the fuck am I talknig about is that if we had an internet Czar, this'd all be simple. But we don't - we have the W3C, cooperation whi whom is optional. That being the case, everyone cooperates with them whenever it suits them, which in Microsoft's case, apparently, is "rarely."Microsoft's products laugh in the face of what everyone else agrees on, because it serves their quarterly market share to do so in some instances.

There is another problem, and that is, i think, within the W3C itself; that is that between 1998 and 2002, it became very obvious that what we call the internet will be the standard operating protocol for everything it can absorb for the forseeable future. The knowledge of that fact required some tough decisions to be made. The W3C made those decisions, and the result are the CSS2 and XHTML standards. Both are fairly recent, and not very well accepted by, say, Microsoft, who's foreseight needs only to extend 3 months into the future.

The ideals behind these standards are noble (for example, that information should be independent of presentation, so as to be, hopefully, accessible in the fugure, regardless of what technologies may come along), but they are not compatible with the goals of the original web developers (1995-2001).

It's been 4 long years since 2002, so why are we having problems still? The answer (besides "it's Bill Gates' fault," not an indefensible position) is that in addition to all the above, the web is not created by just professionals, but by rank amateours, lifers, and everyone in between. So the standards need to be accessible, in addition to all their other goals.

The point is: if the internet is a mess, it's because the people in charge have taken the good-in-the-long-run view over some short-term difficulties. The good news is that it's super easy to help the good guys out - download and use Firefox, Openoffice, and all the other non-Microsoft stuff that's out there (mainly Firefox, though). Then Franklin will be able to do what he needs to do, and not have to worry about all these silly technical issues



January 29, 2006, 1:10 AM

Right off, I'm really wasted...

Computers and art suffer from self consciousness, wheee! digital dots, on, off, off, off, on, only…...

Right now, painters like David Salle, Jin Meyerson and others (the current crop of LSD hallucination painters) have been using computer modified imagery. In all these cases, I would suggest the work is subject to the limitations of photography where I define photography as a capture of an image, at some instant in time (ignoring quantum affects).

In essence, all this work could be loosely categorized as an extension of photorealism. It's main appeal lies in the notion that it is hard to duplicate reality as seen in a photographic sense. This is a false assumption as it only requires a sense of focus and a workaholic mentality.

Currently this visual 'look' also assumes the properties of possessing signifiers that it was a lot of work to make. As such, the current aesthetic (sic) climate attributes value to the effort. My position is that this is nothing more than an extension of photorealism, which was a populist art style marketed to collectors who didn't know better.

It's not how hard you work that matters, it's how smart you work.

Yee haw…………..

Jamming with the Rolling Stones.



January 29, 2006, 1:57 AM

Op, It may appear at times that I question your aesthetic or try to push you into a corner, a niche of aesthetic response. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What I recognize is resonance in a specific arena for making a painting which I do not follow. This does not imply that my method or your method is better or closer to some truth.

Where you and I may also differ is in how the work fits into the culture, it's fasionability, at a specific moment in time. While both of us may rile at the idea of fashionability, the truth is that this is a cultural tag which is current and used to judge the relevance of works presented.

Where my position may appear to be radical is that I assume fashion to be the cusp of the avant guard. The old historical constructs are no longer are in force, the artist has become commodified, a producer of a product in a specialized niche market. As such the artists work assumes a relationship to the current commodity culture, fulfilling a need or filling a niche. Great art defines a new market.

Of course this is all an opinion and one shouldn't assume I base my practice on what I have said. Art is mysterious.



January 29, 2006, 3:53 AM

George and I are on the same page here.



January 29, 2006, 6:59 AM

Art is inexplicable, George, but it is not mysterious. It is too directly available to experience to be mysterious. In a way it is much less mysterious than the world and life itself. Those things baffle me. Art is close and direct and personal.

The statement "fashion is the cusp of the avant garde" sounds interesting but is semantically unsound. The terms are too naturally contradictory. To make such a statement true entails bending their accepted meaning too much.

Also, art has always been a commodity, and great art has often had to sneak in the back door. And, also again, I don't see much sense inthe idea that "great art creates a new market". Moderate changes in character, like size, for example, don't really amount to "new", and they are not "created by great art" but by social and economic changes.

I don't always disagree with your observations. I just think you make too much of them. But it is fun to argue about it. Most people seem to deplore discussion rather than engage in it.



January 29, 2006, 8:18 AM

Concerned2 - the font looks small to you in the main post or the comments?



January 29, 2006, 12:34 PM

Sunday AM. Still hate it. The font is unquestionably inferior to the one still used (thankfully) on the comments form.

This is a classic example of something that was not only not broken, but working just fine, yet it was "fixed" anyway, and the result has been counterproductive. Nobody questions your right to do as you please with the blog, Franklin, but I do question the utility, effectiveness and benefit of what's been done.



January 29, 2006, 1:20 PM

the font looks small in the comments. very small. tiny.
is it my settings? i never had a problem with this before.
come to think of it, i have the same problem with the criticalmiami webpage.



January 29, 2006, 2:26 PM

Franklin, now when I try to open an individual comment it just shoots me back to the head of the main page.

I'm not sure why we need this feature in the first place, even if it works.



January 29, 2006, 3:16 PM

After seeing and navigating around the "new" site I prefer the previous as well, it seemed to work just fine!



January 30, 2006, 12:23 AM

My mother taught me an important lesson. As a department head in a hospital, it fell to her to select the new color for the walls of her floor, but it had to be a green, because they were color-coding. She came home and explained with exasperation that there's no such thing as a shade of green that no one will hate.

I daresay I think about this harder than anyone reading this, and while I appreciate all the criticism, I have learned from working on this site that people hate design changes on principle. There was nothing broken about the old design but I was getting tired of Arial, the Browse page and the stuff running down the left were redundant, you were sometimes faced with reloading a pageful of images to update the new comments, it needed a touch of color, minor stylistic and scanning differences in the drawings were bothering me, the prominence of the header image was relegating much of the content below the fold and using space inefficiently at the top, my adherence to one font was failing to create a sufficient hierarchy of importance of content on the page, added features (coming soon) had nowhere to go, the CSS was using inadvisable pixel-heights instead of advisable em-heights, and what the heck, it had been about a year since the last redesign and it was time. I have to keep myself interested too.

Jack, with all due respect, that old design you miss was made the object of your bitter derision when I first rolled it and I suspect that you'll acclimatize to the new one as well. OP, regarding the behavior you describe ("when I try to open an individual comment it just shoots me back to the head of the main page") - you'll notice that the name of the post is linked, not the comment, so you should be going there. The comments have no links. Soon they will, though, enabling you to pick up threads at the new comments should you choose. From the looks of your data in the comments, your operating system may be older than my website and there's only so much I can do.

Besides that, patience, my friends. A few things are creeping back in as we speak based on how much I miss them. New things are on the way.

Concerned2, it's your browser. Go check your default font size in the preferences.



January 30, 2006, 2:22 AM

The thing is Franklin that your bloggers here generally "hate design changes on principle" regarding learned taste. William Kentridge commented in his talk at U.M.
(which none of you bloggers had attended of course) that Greenberg actually stated to him while at dinner at his parents house in Johannesburg Africa that he prefered figurative art rather than abstraction and that it just so happened to be that abstract art was the best stuff being made (at that time) in America.
I wish that we could all share our friends and familly.



January 30, 2006, 7:19 AM

Jordan, Greenberg often said this, and demonstrated it whenever he went to a museum he had not been to before, but I am not sure to the pertinence

Franklin, I am quite aware of the phenomenon of resistence to change. My objection to eliminating the left column was one of pure practicality. Before, you could see at a glance what threads had been updated. Now you have to open another page. It may not be a big deal but it is certainly not an improvement.

Furthermore, my OS may be "old" but it is not exactly ancient. (Mac OS 9.2). Not only can I not access the comments I click but you now have new comments noted on "there's no minute like the last minute" which are simply not there when I go back to that page. I doubt that with the volume of hits you get that I am the only one having difficulties. I am just the only one telling you about it.



January 30, 2006, 7:38 AM

Those comments aren't there because some fool was spamming me during the night and I had to rip his posts down. Anybody else have the other problem that OP is describing?



January 30, 2006, 8:37 AM


Works here...
MAC OS 9.1, IE 5.1.7 & Mozilla 1.2.1

Click on "About" --> index.php?mode=about
Click on "Comments" --> index.php?mode=comments
Click on "Archive" --> index.php?mode=archive

still nolikey



January 30, 2006, 9:23 AM

Franklin: If I were to boil it down to the single most troublesome aspect of the new design, it would be the enormous size of the serifed typeface you are using. It looks childishly brutal and requires the reader to engage in excessive scrolling. I don't think the opposition to this element can be subsumed under "resistance to change". Rather, it is "resistance to bad design". If you persist with it, I suspect you will loose readers and perhaps, even, participants.



January 30, 2006, 9:56 AM

Some more about the typeface: serifs function to facilitate the eye going through lines of type. They help group the words and guide the mind in perceiving this organization quickly and intuitively. But on the computer screen, serifs are difficult to render at samller point sizes because the screen's resolution is too coarse to handle the cruves well. So, they tend to hinder, not facilitate reading normal lengths of text.

When the type is as large as it now on artblog, the serifs render fine but are unnecessary because there are so few words on a line. The result is "horse type".

Conventionally printed material often uses sans serif type for headlines because it is attention getting and the brief headline copy poses few if any grouping issues. Serifed type is used for body text to faciltate reading and the printing process is precise enough to realize this effect.

On the web, things seem to often work better in reverse. Because sans serif fonts align themselves more closely with the right angle grid of the computer screen, they are less halting to look at and hence are useful for body text. Serifed fonts find use in headlines because their horsey look draws attention, while the tight curves in their serifs render OK at larger sizes.



January 30, 2006, 10:06 AM

I've been trying to put my finger on what bugging me about the new design.


This layout looks like a newsletter from a hospital, or a small 200 employee company. All that's missing are some grainy black and white pics of the barbecue and we'd be set. Sorry but that's my take.

For the art students reading this blog, here's a new hot blog from a young NYC painter which shows a painting a day. Straight stuff without text but with comments from the peanut gallery.

It's a slice of what's happening, of course filtered by the taste of the author.



January 30, 2006, 11:02 AM

Monday AM. Still hate it, for the same reasons.

I suspect that you'll acclimatize to the new one as well

Human beings, in order to survive, have to be able to acclimatize to all sorts of undesirable things, which does not constitute a justification for such things. Either the changes are an improvement or they're not. If they're not, they are not justified, as far as I'm concerned.



January 30, 2006, 11:11 AM

George, thanks for the NY Painters links. It is a nice idea and some of the painting isn't bad at all. Maybe there is hope.

Franklin, I am sure that your Leo ego seeths at all the dissing you are getting, but I think ithe basic cause is that all these people really identify with the blog and therefore feel very proprietory about it. This is a good thing.



January 30, 2006, 11:14 AM

Re #77: True, that - I take it as love. Thanks to eveyone for the feedback pro and con. I'll be tweaking over the coming weeks to get it right.


Mr. Note Alteres Tanto

January 30, 2006, 11:16 AM

Jack, relax. You might not believe it now, but this time next month, you'll be able to look back on all of this and laugh.

I don't mind the font change. I'm partial to Georgia myself. I don't mind the redesign. It looks fine in Firefox. I like being able to scroll through the posts using the plus and minus links at the top.



January 30, 2006, 11:32 AM

Oldpro, re #77 Maybe there is hope

Sure there's hope, there has always been good and bad painting around. No idea or philosophy is inherently responsible for good or bad painting, it's always at the hands of the artist. What is interesting to me is the general diversity of work going on, good and bad, and the stylistic zeitgist of the moment.



January 30, 2006, 12:06 PM

Yes, George, it is interesting, and it is a little discouraging sometimes. It used to be that there was a dominant style or two and that the good and bad ranged within the style.

Now we are almost religiously committed to "pluralism". There is every kind of art making, and good and bad tends more to cluster in certain methods. At least that is my observation. I also do not think that this kind of diversity is a good thing for art in general, but that is a long drawn-out discussion, for sure.



January 30, 2006, 1:17 PM

OldPro, re #81 Now we are almost religiously committed to "pluralism"....

I said earlier in comment #60 that the old historical constructs are no longer are in force, the artist has become commodified, a producer of a product in a specialized niche market. A second thing has occurred which originally I did not remark upon. The art marketplace has made a quantum leap forward in size, the amount of money, number of galleries and artists worldwide has increased by a significant magnitude in the last 30 years. I am inclined to think this is a permanent state, true it will fluctuate somewhat with the economy but that the general increase will remain.

I believe the reason for this is a fundamental, an economic condition linked to the increasing population. In the modern world, we have applied efficiencies of scale to the production of the basic necessities. While we may complain about how these structural changes are specifically implemented there can be no doubt that one result has been a reduction in the manpower required (jobs) in many sectors of the economy. This displacement of workers created a situation where new jobs were required in order to maintain full (sic) employment and maintain social order. In order to do this we created the consumer society. Much has been said about the rampant consumerism of the US culture but the fact is without consumption of non essential goods the economy would collapse.

When a society is able to provide the basics to the majority of the population, food, housing, clothing etc and still needs to create more jobs to keep the expanding population employed (under control) the obvious path is to create a demand for non essential items. This is now occurring on more of a worldwide basis (China, India, Russia) I am aware of the downsides and inequities of this condition but it is what I see occurring at the present moment in history.

As a result, ART has become commodified. That is ART has become a necessary part of the economic fabric of sufficiently developed economies because it provides employment and creates a commodity which is capable of redistributing wealth. Barring a UFO this condition should persist into the future.

The result of a large number of diverse and creative people attempting to produce a marketable but essentially non essential object (or proxy) will begin to behave like any other industry. The participants will attempt to gain market share by differentiating their product from all the others. This act is inimical to a single style and suggests that a poly-stylist environment will persist into the future with one style-node or another, being the most fashionable (and successful) at any given moment. It makes "style" in the old historic sense obsolete. Replacing it we now have cluster branding of different artistic modes and genres.



January 30, 2006, 2:29 PM

I agree that it is likely that a pluralist environment will persist, George; in fact it really should eventually settle in so that there is no more competition between types of art than types of any kind of collectible. To each its own.

My take on the genesis of pluralism is much more internal and less deterministic than yours. Pluralism came about because it was seen to be necessary to innovate to make good art,and this led to variety. This was further abetted by the friendly climate for anything anti-hierarchical fostered by social changed in the post-war period, particularly the 60s.

The money part is more baffling. Scarcity, prestige, the increase in numbers of billionaires and the kind of people they are, the perception of investment value and the "expensive equals good" syndrome - all these things contribute. Art has undoubtedly become the the primary money -absorbing choice when one has everything else.



January 30, 2006, 3:39 PM

OldPro, re#83 My take on the genesis of pluralism is much more internal and less deterministic than yours. Pluralism came about because it was seen to be necessary to innovate to make good art, and this led to variety.

Yes, I think this is correct as far as it goes, the genesis of pluralism was in the 70's and for the reasons you mention. However, I think something else has occurred since then.

What might have been just a period with a 'messy' style definition has become persistent. I would pose that 'styles' want to be tightly defined and grouped together in a way which allows the 'public' a method or point of entry to grasp the work. Further, I would suggest that the majority of artists act in a way which shows they prefer this as well. In fact, 'breakthroughs' or 'revolutionary styles' are such, just because they break away from the current prevailing stylistic condition. Advanced art causes distress because it is unfamiliar

So, assuming a normalization after a 'pluralistic' stylistic period, the tendency would be to revert back towards a more tightly defined style or group of styles. In the art market of the past, I suspect this is what would have happened. During the nineties new wealth was created at an unprecedented rate and part of this money started to find its way into the Art Marketplace. If there is more capital available to purchase the goods, the market grows larger to fill the demand. So at the turn of the century, the art world had a growth spurt and rather than focus down on a single style, the Art Marketplace diversified to fill the demand on both economic and taste levels. The one artist who anticipated and made an issue of this change was Jeff Koons.

While I am not sure how this will play out in the future, I have a few speculations.

I would expect the marketplace to become more tiered in terms of pricing. Further I suspect, pricing will reflect perceived quality and that some of the recently inflated prices for artworks will be reconsidered in the future (priced down) I believe that we had an initial condition where capital had no where else to go and this may have resulted in a price inflation for some artworks which was probably spurious at best. However, going forward, new artists and galleries are stepping in to fill the void which will divert part of the capital away from the feeding trough.

Additionally, current criticism and 'art theory' leaves much to be desired, much of it is double talk designed to create an intellectual aura of validation for the artworks in question. Since there is still a large market, someone will find a way to fill it by finding a marketing approach which the consumer (viewer) can understand. This is already occurring is several ways.

At the moment there is a taste for artworks which looks like they were a lot of work to make. The labor theory of value is something the viewer (consumer) can understand without an esoteric Ph.D.

Second, we are seeing a revival of what is essentially photorealism. Stylistically the work looks like it is skilled; tightly rendered artwork always attracts the viewing public (consumer) because they think it is hard to do and if the artist can do it, he/she must be 'good'

Third, I would expect a continuation of Art as Theater. Acting under the guise of 'anti-art', 'avant guard art' etc and producing no immediate product this ultimately leads to a product for consumption at a later date.

None of this is new, it has all occurred before in one guise or another, the difference in the 21st century is that styles are grouped into bigger packages which can exist simultaneously.
The consumer (viewer) will choose his own stylistic level based upon personal taste, status, financial ability, in short it will be like buying a car or new outfit.

The new model for the Art Marketplace is the Fashion world.



January 30, 2006, 5:10 PM

Pretty good observations George. I said something similar, at least in the respect that pluralism will divide "styles", diminish competition and allow all to prosper, in an article in Artforum 30 years ago, but it really is only beginning to happen now.

I have a couple of personal experiences in this respect. One was having a show in a college Gallery here in Florida where the last thing expected was sales, but, of all things, I sold quite a large number of paintings. Those who bought them were not up-on-the-latest artworld collectors but just sophisticated, educated folks in a rich community who liked the paintings. They may have been impressed with my CV but they were not at all concerned with artworld politics and whats in and whats out.

The second was selling some paintings recently to a dealer in modernist art, objects and furniture. I started talking to him about the culture wars and he looked puzzled and said he couldn't care less abut all that, he was merely a dealer in modernism and these were very nice modernist paintings which he could sell to his customers.

So, onwards and upwards with pluralism!



January 30, 2006, 8:35 PM

I tend to agree with Franklin in #68, and would add, "it's just a freaking blog design," "y'all will get used to it," and "set your browser to a user style if it's such a goddamned problem for you."

On the other hand, the strong opinions indicate a sense of ownership on the part of readers ("participants," as catfish says), and should do a blogger proud (even as he does whatever he wants.

I am absolutly guilty to being opposed to change as a matter of principle, and i'm also guilty of chronically complaining for the fun of it, and offering it where it is unwelcome.

Now, personally, I always hated the huge images above the fold on the old design (for awhile I was using adblock to defeat them), and reading the blog in b/w for the year or so failed to convince me that there's anything to gain from eschewing color.

I agree with Catfish w/r/t the Serif/san-serif online/inprint anaylsis. On the other hand, my eyes have gotten used to the somewhat ackward appearance of serif fonts at small sizes (hello, Kathleen!), and there's a fondness in my heart for big fonts (why not?). I still have a problem with the line lenght, but there, too, "whatever."

I wonder, though, why the spirit of artblog, commenter-centric as the rest of the design is, doesn't call for the comment font size to be the same as the original font size? Why send the eye signals, subliminal or not, that one is more important then the other?

George, that blog (#75) is the shit. PS I think you're missing the point with all the "hospital newsletter" comments - Franklin's design aesthetic has always been a sort of anti-design, love it or hate it (i sort of enjoy it).

Jack, are you with me in lobbying for the next-to-last design, with the funky color bar on top? Can't we start some sort of PAC on this? Thanks for the daily updates, btw.

BTW, over on Critical Miami, I may have some objectionable use of pink and a less-then-eye-pleasing three-column design, but i'm doing the readability and legibility stuff right.

George's comments in #82 are quite fascinating; in #84, somewhat less so. While quite reasonable, the latter seems to predict an end to art history as such. I find such a prediction hard to swallow, however reasonable-sounding it may be.



January 30, 2006, 8:58 PM

Hi, Alesh!

Yeah, I have small fonts, but serif?? I hate serifs. Are you getting serifs when you read my site?



January 30, 2006, 9:14 PM

Regarding the commneter-centric suggestion from Alesh, I racheted down the font and headline size and ratched up the comment size one notch each.

I used to hate serif fonts too. But lately they look too regular, impersonal, and machined to me. Go figure.



January 30, 2006, 9:24 PM

#86. alesh; seems to predict an end to art history as such

Not at all, to the contrary art history will become more complex as it will have to deal with the new categories as well as an overview of the whole period. Individual styles will not die, rather they will continue to exist as stylistic categories with their own history, a past history and the history of the period. It is a branching which is ultimately much richer than the old single style paradigm.

I would also argue that this has always been the case, that all styles exist simultaneously. In the past, it was less apparent since only one or two were brought to the forefront by the marketplace. Regardless of how much we might disdain the relationship between art and money, it is money which keeps the wheels turning.

Also, like any capitalist venture the Art Market will be subject to pressures from the overall economy. In hard times, the market will shrink and the dominant styles will be those from the strongest artists. This is just as it is now but it's more like a six lane highway and a two lane bottleneck in bad times.

For the sake of discussion I use terms like marketplace, capitalist etc. In another time it would have been the pope, the king etc Call it what you want the funding comes from somewhere.



January 31, 2006, 9:32 AM

I think your analysis is good George. I would suggest a couple of small variations.

First, I think that good art will be more identified with certain styles than you imply, and, second, that hard times will not necessarily bring the "strongest artists" to the fore. I say this because I have observed that certain ways of making art seem to intrinsically deny quality in the outcome and because the 1930s depression in this country seemed to have much the same effect in a different way.

It is interesting that no one (to my knowledge) has written much on this subject.



January 31, 2006, 9:58 AM

Tuesday AM. Sorry, no cigar. This is not just a taste issue, but an ease-of-use and functionality issue. I want to know, at a mere glance to the left without having to click on anything or go to a different screen and then come back, if there's been any further comment on a prior thread. The new method is unquestionably clumsier and more annoying. The new font still sucks--like it was meant for genteel Victorian lady novelists. The much vaunted addition of color, such as it is, is still a gimmick, and the colors are still drab and dull. The postage-stamp-size drawing that remains looks so forlorn it might be best to put it out of its misery. And the stuff at the top of the page above the post title is like something out of a geeky technical manual: I hate those minus and plus signs and the confusing way those lines read.

Can I get used to it all? Well, people can get used to living in a slum in Calcutta, so yes, I'll certainly manage. Why this was needed, however, is another question.



January 31, 2006, 10:13 AM

Franklin - the type size is much better. I'm learning the
new navigation & liking it better w/ more use.
But the links from 'comments' don't seem to work.

OP - in #90 you said "certain ways of making art seem to
intrinsically deny quality in the outcome and...
the 1930s depression in this country seemed to have
much the same effect in a different way."

Is that because anyone can make a bad painting
& try to sell it - something that probably happened
quite often during the depression?



January 31, 2006, 10:21 AM

Or was it because of government
arts/jobs programs?



January 31, 2006, 10:28 AM

Jack, thanks for the update. As it happens, the number of clicks you did to reload the page and go to an updated post on the old system, two, is the same it takes to go to the Comments or Posts page and go to an updated post from there. Unless you reloaded the page from the keyboard. Do you know how to reoad the page from the keyboard? Because then you have a legitimate complaint, and one I'm contemplating a solution for. But if you don't, you're just haranguing me.

FRC, thanks for mentioning the problem with the links from Comments not working - OP is having the same issue, and both of you are using MacIE5. Now, aside from the fact that this is not a sane browser, can you figure out why it's choking on the address? I can't reproduce the problem over here.



January 31, 2006, 11:08 AM

Here's a hint, Jack: control-R. is still far and away the easiest to navigate, and the easiest on the eyes of any I've encountered. And that's just icing for a site with good content and commentors. The bird's-nest of ads and clickable features so common, even taken for granted, on other sites makes me never want to check back with them, even when something of interest has been posted there. Whereas here, even when the current topic isn't of interest to me I refresh regularly.

Since you're not giving me the old artblog, Franklin, can I trade you a sculpture for it?



January 31, 2006, 11:46 AM

Re:90. oldpro ;

…that hard times will not necessarily bring the "strongest artists" to the fore.

In the 30's, Picasso. I want to avoid discussing 'quality' initially because it always seems to trip us up. What I mean by 'strongest artists' is more a reflection on the particular artists will, his/her force of being in the world of art. This would not necessarily imply the artist with the 'best' work. I'll leave it at that for now.

Regarding the 30's. Years ago I made a generalized observation that new "movements' occurred in recessionary periods. Now with a poly-stylistic paradigm I'm not sure what a 'new movement' might be.

My original observation was based on the idea that in recessionary periods art was more difficult to sell. Typically, the most established artists tended to command a lions share of the market. There are economic reasons for this.

First, the most wealthy collectors seem to collect more established artists (i.e. also more expensive), artists which have been validated within the system (as it is in place at the time, changes)

Second, the most wealthy tend to be less affected by economic downturns, although the 1930's depression was an exception to the general observation. In periods of economic downturns, even 'blue chip' (hate that term) art can see a reduction in its market value, BUT the if the works are offered for sale, the potential collectors for them are again the most wealthy (the ones not feeling the pinch). This has a very important affect, it insures some semblance of liquidity, the ability to find a market for the works. It amounts to a reduction in the risk when purchasing the artwork. Risk reduction is a tenant for the preservation of capital and the wealthy didn't get that way by ignoring this rule.

In a normal economic downturn, as opposed to a depression (1930, 1975) galleries find it more difficult to sell art. This is just basic economics, there is less money willing to purchase new goods. I won't generalize how galleries deal with this problem, it seems to vary but as noted above certain artworks, validated in previous cycles, will maintain a market although the prices will probably be reduced either directly or by proxy (for example, by offering multiples or smaller artworks) In difficult periods, galleries which can remain in business, will continue to have exhibitions. Not to ignore the great gallerists with a true passion for the art they support and exhibit, from a purely business standpoint the continuing exhibitions bring in new potential collectors and revenue, albeit on a reduced level.

Since it is so difficult to sell artworks in a recessionary period a gallerist may choose to exhibit more radical advanced art with the notion that if he/she cannot sell much anyway, Why not show what they think is exciting? Hence, more exposure is given to advanced art, fostering a change focus when the economy picks up again.

The flip side of the coin occurs when the economy is strong and there is more capital chasing fewer goods, a situation we find ourselves in at the moment. (Note: the phrase "more capital chasing fewer goods" is one definition of inflation) In previous expansionary economic periods there has tended to be a predilection to exhibit more secondary artworks, based upon "currently validated" styles.This is a conservative move where gallerists exhibit work which "looks kind of like so-n-so but sells for less", the followers of the crowd and certainly not a model for revolution. I'm less clear about a description for the current situation, partly because the inflationary period seemed to create so much liquidity that all stylistic modes benefited. I'll have to think about it some more.



January 31, 2006, 11:49 AM

I am a frequent reader and think the redesign is a step in the wrong direction. The list of recent posts should still be available on the left. Just now,to click to find the post about this redesign is annoying and I wonder if new comments will be ever be read once a post outdated by the next day's topic. One of the pleasures of the previous functionality was viewing the past posts and seeing if more comments were made immediately.

I also think the text should be constrained (to like 800 or so) and not stretch the width of the browser. I am on a laptop, which isn't very wide and the horizontal length is too long unless I make the browser smaller. Think book or newspaper design - columns are very readable. I also think the font is too big on the main topic part of the post and the serif font is not as clear and clean. There's my 2 cents - first time for everything!



January 31, 2006, 12:14 PM

Jenny, your first pragraph summarizes my only real objection to the changes. I would like to see the left column replaced for quick checking and I would like the new "comments" link retained also for more specific checking on new comments. They are both handy.

I have less probelm with the type face or the size. What the hell - I can read it, and Franklin's design is always very clean. And if the size was smaller then the width problem would be exaggerated.

George, I don't go along with your logic on some of these points. Picasso really fell off in quality in the 30s. He was a huge force in terms of influence on the AE painters, but I don't see how that ties into these "larger" forces we are talking about. Also, I am somewhat confused by what we are measuring. Are we talking about the resurgence of good art or the selling of it? And what does the gallery system have to do with art being better or worse? I think the only interesting comparison is that which clearly contrasts economic conditions and the creation of good art. Otherwise we are just bouncing around a lot of apples and oranges.



January 31, 2006, 12:38 PM

Franklin, you need not agree with me, but if I say something bothers me or I don't like it, it's because I mean it, not because I'm trying to irritate you. I stand by what I said. I don't want to do anything but take a quick, clickless glance when I log on to see if new comments have been added to prior threads. I do not want to have to change screens. It's obviously doable, but just as obviously less efficient and more annoying. Why do you think the new way is better? It certainly isn't to me, and I'm not the only one saying that. The new "look" may be a matter of taste, but it's certainly not superior to the old one, though it is different. I don't find any of the changes to be a significant improvement, if any. To me it's largely a cosmetic or novelty thing, and I don't respond well to that concept.



January 31, 2006, 1:21 PM

What was broken lies in OP's remark that the Comments page is a new feature. It is not. It was on the old design. It just seems that way because it's not hidden among that surfeit of tiny text that used to litter the left hand side of the page.

I'm considering a reduced version of the links to recent posts along the left. Five posts, maybe. Supergirl is trying to talk me into it.



January 31, 2006, 1:50 PM

You don't have to reduce it to a certain number. Just take them off the bottom when no more comments show up. It is usually clear when a thread has died off.



January 31, 2006, 2:57 PM

By the way, Jenny, thanks for your thoughts. The content is already fixed to 700px max and fixing it down further is going to result in strange appearances in some browswers, as Alesh found above.



January 31, 2006, 7:52 PM

Well... taste is one thing, Franklin, and any blogger ultimately has to do as he sees fit for his own blog. But if something displays funky in one browser (in this case Opera), the intelectually honest thing to do is to at least TRY to figure out what's going on. I'm just fine with the current line lenght - just sayin'.

On CM, the "recent comments" list is right on the home page; seems to work well enough. Then again, the whole design is comparatively busy. But if you want to keep conversations going (Jack?), then the absolute number of comments is only releavant if you've memorized the number from your previous visit. A more useful listing would be the names of the last few posts, along with how long ago the most recent comment was posted. If you want to lobby for something, lobby for that.

Incidentally, the trend in blogs is to do a one-column design, with stuff like this at the bottom . . . something to consider? It keeps the functionality, maintains the clean look, and has a few other non-obvious anvantages...



January 31, 2006, 8:11 PM

another: when i load the Philly page in Opera (i'm trying to get used to the O, cause the fox has weird problems on my home setup), the content width expands to the size of the picture. This leads me to believe that Opera was for some reason (the specific reason still seems worth investigating) ignoring the spec, not dividing it by some arbitrary number. Just saying that if you want to lower the max-width, i don't think it'll cause any problems in Opera anymore.

Good grief, Franklin - i am totally over obsessing about your new layout. It's just fine, and it's obviously a framework for building new and better things (which has already started, I see - Posts/Comments/Publications in the navbar). I'm happy - the Cezanne quote is in our past, Ruby on Rails tricks are in our future, and America is waking up to GWB's wrongheadedness.



January 31, 2006, 9:15 PM

Alesh: What really worries me is FRC and OP's problem. That's a major issue. Any guesses? You have a copy of MacIE5 lying around?

Actually, me and RoR just couldn't get along. I'm throwing in my lot with PHP.



January 31, 2006, 10:00 PM

How about having the banner with the logo and links float in the upper left margin of the screen as the viewer scrolls down the page, so that it is always immediately at hand? Not that I know anything about how hard that might be.



January 31, 2006, 10:05 PM

Ahab, in theory, it's easy.

div#sidebar { position: fixed; }

In practice, it blows up in all versions of IE and requires a Javascript hack to make it work.



January 31, 2006, 10:25 PM

I actually rather like ahab;s idea - sans IE hacks - it works for the W3C: fixed for the standards compliant, unfixed (but not unusable) for the voluntarily enslaved - i can get behind that kind of philosophy.

What's going on with Mac IE5? You won't know until you get in front of one... I suspect a part of the URL is getting scrambled - the question mark? it's like shooting quail in the dark, but

here's an experiment for oldpro to try

the above causes the 404 error? try:

is there some sort of .htaccess magic going on? no? maybe there should be? the truth is, though, you might save yourself some time by hopping in the xB, visiting everyone running IE on a mac, and switching them to Safari (or Firefox. or opera. or mosaic, for christ'sake).



January 31, 2006, 10:26 PM

Yeah, lousy idea. But I'm glad you're doing it and not me.



January 31, 2006, 10:32 PM

After following your 'W3C' link, alesh, and seeing all the cabalistic terminology I'm really really glad that it's not me that has to solve these problems. Blogger heaven must be sculptor hell.



January 31, 2006, 10:34 PM

I'm running IE 5.1.7 on a MAC with OS 9.1 noproblemo



January 31, 2006, 10:40 PM

the W3C link should point to a page with a navbar on the right which stays stuck to your viewport when your scroll. If not, no problem, just your browser isn't standards compliant (the content of that page is quicksand, regardless, i agree.

The two other links do the same thing to me; what about the poor suckers who are running IE5 under OS 9.x?



January 31, 2006, 11:16 PM

Alesh, I got the page with both those links you provided, and it all works on my office computer now. Maybe it just has to fester a little.



January 31, 2006, 11:17 PM

I've seen postion:fixed fail. It's not pretty. Sometimes it floats under the bottom div, wherever that may be.

This isn't blogger heaven by a longshot.



January 31, 2006, 11:18 PM

Maybe it just has to fester a little.

OP, tell me truly: did you clear your cache when I asked you to?



February 1, 2006, 10:42 AM

You didn't, did you? I'm going to beat you on the head.



February 1, 2006, 12:20 PM

Yes, I hate the cache and cookies and all the crap the computer loads on and I clear it every day.

Everything now works fine on my office computer. I have little glitches all the time and I am sure the problem originates here so better to just not worry about it. Thanks.



February 1, 2006, 12:26 PM

I agree with Jack and George ...too much clicking and scrolling...I click on a comment by somebody and it takes me to the introduction of the subject. What's the use ot that? This is beginning to look like a bad plastic surgery...think of Joan Rivers or Michael Jackson...Sorry



February 1, 2006, 12:39 PM

Luisa, comment links always went to the top of posts, even on the dearly departed left sidebar. The use is that you can go to the posts where the new comments appear. The left sidebar was also not capable of doing your taxes or mending socks. From my end, this is starting to look like bad brain surgery.



February 1, 2006, 4:26 PM

Oh snap - after ALL THAT, the sidebar's back, links and all. I still think it would be cool if it said, like "5 days ago: I have stuff on my mind / Last comment: 2 hours ago."

But don't get mad at me - i'm making fun suggestions, not rabid demands.

I'm a little concerned about the capitalized titles, though. At some point, you're going to want to be consistent one way or another, and at that point you'll be back into the SQL command line. Even now, it's

"i have stuff on my mind" and

"I think a change would do you good"

and it makes me a little queezie. By the way, how do you pronounce “ghoti”?



February 1, 2006, 4:35 PM

"Gh" as in enough, "o" as in summon, "ti" as in motion.

There's now room for "last comment: 2 hours ago" on the Posts page, as well as, say, the first 20 words of each post. As for caps, I should have just lc'd them in PHP from the get go. Now, ah well.



February 1, 2006, 4:39 PM

Franklin or anone else with an opinion,

Instead of 5 hours ago, 5days ago how about just the date? like...
Jan 31, 2005

I can remember the last comment numbers fine, don't need the other stuff on the front page.

Also, what if you made the page a fixed width? Or three columns with the right hand
one a dummy (just for me) which wiggles wider on big screens. Then the body text will always be a nice width they you determin?



February 1, 2006, 5:00 PM

Maybe. Or maybe I'll just redesign the whole thing based on this.



February 1, 2006, 5:12 PM

Itz OK, thanks for putting back the leftlist



February 1, 2006, 6:06 PM

we have this rather silly ALA article, which links to the AIGALA homepage, which I rather enjoy.

Franklin, since you seem to have now broken down, and are implementing suggestions as they come in, without evaluation, how about putting the artblog in a white div on a light grey background, and let's get a little of that fake shadow 3D effect stuff going on? You know you want to - you could do it b3tter then those international CSS spazzes.



February 1, 2006, 6:39 PM

Earlier today the left sidebar had a border around it which was very nice. It also seemed to be a hair smaller. I liked it hugely.

I think it might be time to do to redesign critque comments what you did to Duchamp/the urinal, some kind of automatic garbeldygook, as if it were typed by the infamous thousand monkeys.



February 1, 2006, 6:41 PM

Er, how'd those words get through your urinal-zapping filter?



February 1, 2006, 9:18 PM

YES!... Now I am happy.

It is good to see the comments back on the left side. Now I (we) don't have to click twice.
Thank you, Franklin


Marc Country

February 1, 2006, 11:21 PM

Ah, the prodigal sidebar has returned! Even Jack should be pleased...



February 2, 2006, 11:02 AM

Jack is pleased. He still thinks the post text is too overpowering compared to the comments font, or the comments font is too weak and light. He sees no particular benefit to the changing color business (picking one good color and sticking with it would be preferable), and he continues to feel sorry for the painfully reduced circumstances of the drawing (what's left of it). Still, the return of the left-hand column was probably the major sticking point.



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