Please Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself
Post #1473 • December 14, 2011, 7:52 AM • 14 Comments
A blog? In late 2011? That's so... mid-2008.
A regular Artblog.net reader warned me, when I told him that I was working on restarting the blog, that I should consider whether anyone would care. It was a fair point. Here we are, thick in the Age of Facebook and Twitter. We are long past the Golden Age of Blogging, which began with the first posts of The Minor Fall, The Major Lift, and ended when Ftrain became a quarterly publication. (I'm dating myself, I know. We're talking about ancient history, four to eight years ago.)
On the other hand, after a 20-month pause, circumstances feel right to pick it up again. I return to you as a regular contributor to Art in America and not infrequent writer for the New Criterion, among other fine publications like Artcritical and The Arts Fuse. Twice a week I feature exhibitions at the New York Sun. The plucky lad with a day job who snapped up a good domain name and charged the art establishment comes back to you with an art career, legitimate press credentials, and a certain seasoning that sets in when realism replaces idealism. The adventure continues, and I'd rather record it here than on Facebook.
I knew that getting Artblog.net fixed up was going to be a major project, so my first move was to enlist the help of Chris Rywalt, who is a fine programmer. Chris coaxed nigh 1500 posts and associated comments into well-formed, valid XML (the previous format was FPML - Franklin's Pathetic Markup Language), created a new directory tree, moved images into a sensible directory structure, and in myriad other ways saved me three months of work. Chris also provided useful sanity checks regarding the new storage system, which is based on the Atom Publishing Protocol. I hacked the content management system, which is written in XSLT and served over a CherryPy instance.
Along the way we gained familiarity with things normal humans don't have to deal with, like the niceties of RFC 3339, recursive identity templates, and UTF-8 encoding. As a result, the old content management system, which was built from balsa wood and thumbtacks, has been replaced by new one forged from surgical steel. For instance, the new XML feed (for all you aggregator users out there) cannot die. So Artblog.net is back and ready for the long haul.
That said, to quote Heraclitus, you can't step in the same river twice.
Commenting from here on out is going to be entirely different, both in logistics and policy. I owe a debt of gratitude for the loyal participation of Artblog.net regulars over the years. But in a new professional situation marked by constantly looming writing deadlines, a studio practice, and several side projects, it's not reasonable to also try to maintain an unrestricted public forum. I'll miss the freewheeling exchanges, but the energies I put into community maintenance and the never-ending battle against comment spam are due elsewhere.
For one, a model is coming to the studio this afternoon.