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Ezine '99
by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech
  As 1998 droned on to a close, ArtNet took a quick survey of a subject dear to everyone's heart -- the state of art writing online. As you might expect, there's no shortage of people with something to say about art. Here, a list of the top arty ezine sites in English -- though why you would want to read about art anywhere else but here is beyond me.

The chipper East Village spirit of performance-art outpost P.S. 122 shines through in its ezine, artwURL. Edited by Calvin Reid, the site is chock full of chatty and insightful reviews, and has a regularly updated sound gallery for those who feel limited by the solely visual. My one complaint is the tiny illustrations, which load fast but make me feel like I'm looking at the art from across the street.

The Journal of Contemporary Art
Don't let the name fool you. Critic and curator Klaus Ottmann's Journal of Contemporary Art is sexier than its restrained title suggests. Presently it features a conversation between Mariko Mori and Kunié Sugiura (a witty juxtaposition of two generations of Japanese women artists in New York), a sprightly discussion with Brit-Pop sensation Gillian Wearing and an in-depth interview with the wonderful British sculptor Julian Opie. The online projects are a little clunky (as often is the case), and the book section is still in the works, but the site's extensive archive should keep you busy until the kinks are out.

Postmedia is a dream come true: a hip art ezine with smart content and a beautiful interface (and not just because its editor is ArtNet Milan correspondent Gianni Romano). It includes features on contemporary artists both old and new (from Piero Manzoni to Chris Offili), interviews, a decent number of images and the occasional art project. It has some connection with the London art magazine Untitled, though it's hard to determine exactly what.

The Journal of the Society for the Prevention of Art Monstrosities (SPAM)
The SPAM journal is a hilarious art magazine parody from Australia. The nicely designed current issue includes a call for proposals for art projects on Mars, the Monty-Pythonesque "Journals of Piles Gouty," and a flawless swipe at Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Chair: "Where's the truth to materials in that?…If it is made of leather it should look like a cow!"

Critical Review
Simple, straightforward and sober, Critical Review features well-written reviews of shows around New York. Edited by Jay Grimm and Alissa Schoenfeld, the zine also hosts a discussion area and posts content from Art Criticism, the journal edited by SUNY Stony Brook prof Donald Kuspit. Definitely worth a look for its refreshing intelligence without pretense.

The German ezine Athena is notable mostly for its exhaustive online index on Joseph Beuys. Athena also carries system-theory-based scientific texts about contemporary art and gender studies. With titles like "The Artwork as a System and its Esthetic Experience" and "The Social Construction of Gender Identity" (the latter in German), these essays are sure to satisfy the most stalwart theorist in your home.

Tokyo Survival Guide Journal
Not really an art ezine, the Tokyo Survival Guide Journal is worth mentioning all the same for its Floating Pu Diary, "a carefree diary of a mysterious American-Japanese artist and essaist, Pu." Is Pu a funny name in Japanese? In any case, Pu really gets around, attending an Elizabeth Peyton opening, interviewing Mike Kelley and going to shows of the bands Mouse on Mars and Stereolab. The site includes articles about Otaku culture (Japanese comic-book fandom) and other cool Japanese topics.

Art Minimal and Conceptual Only
This ezine with the uncompromising name encompasses a lot of great material on a growing list of artists ranging from Antonin Artaud to Larry Bell and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The site includes a good number of images, some statements by artists and reprints of articles by major art critics, and links to an I-Ching site in tribute to John Cage.

GIOVANNI GARCIA-FENECH is a painter who lives in Brooklyn.