One of the nice things about art criticism is that you can read it, go to a show, and forget about it. It’s sports writing for the eggheads with the little grey cells.
Unfortunately, the proliferation of art blogs has taken all the day-tripper fun out of criticism by circle-jerking, recycling and regurgitating the effluvia of critique beyond the wildest fantasies of Rosalind Krauss. An example is Sharon Butler of the "Two Coats of Paint" blog in Connecticut, who is so exhaustive in her summaries of current art writing that someone could start a (short) blog on how Sharon Butler spends her nonexistent spare time.
What’s "fun" about the art blogs is how conformist, reactionary, redundant and self-referential they are, the Sam Brownbacks of the art world. Tyler Green sucks up to every curator on the planet, and I wish him well on his world tour of speaking engagements at obscure museums, cashing his money orders at the bus station.
Have you ever been to blogger Ed Winkleman’s gallery on 27th Street? I hear there is a valuable prize awaiting the first recorded visitor: you get to meet Dinky Winky in the flesh or at least register for a random drawing to win email privileges. Militant Art Bitch is the Elizabeth Dole of the fogosphere, a kind of bastard outta Carolina, and ArtFagCity trolls YouTube a little slower than your random teen at the mall. Art critic Regina Hackett has a cute self-portrait on her site, "Sleepless in Seattle." They all refer and link to each other, since their primary audience is themselves.
I suppose these sloggers do have a legitimate complaint that New York-London-China are ignoring the art shows and concerns of out-of-the-way places like Washington and Philadelphia, but dull blogs make the tourist brochures of such burgs read like radical manifestos.
Of course, the whole celebrity market-driven spectacle of Art could come crashing down at any moment, leaving the troggers as the only game in town (pick a town, any town). But they would still have no readers.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).