Recently by Regina Hackett

All I am is a writer. I can't tap dance, take pictures or cause the sky to open up and rain datable men. I appreciate new models who employ people with a variety of skills, just as newspapers once did. The model of each person being expected to do it all is the quickest route to shallow. That's where the online-only PI has gone, after the demise of its staff. Getting people who are good at their jobs takes money. I still don't (quite) see where it's coming from. 
October 2, 2009 12:06 PM | | Comments (0)
Flavorpill: Top of the line model of quick-hit arts journalism, but focused on what it likes. Nary is heard a discouraging word. I believe in the discouraging word, but I also check the New York site regularly. And they're making money. A People magazine for the arts in the digital age.
October 2, 2009 11:52 AM | | Comments (0)
4. San Francisco Classical Voice. Again, like Glasstire, writers are paid. This site is more traditional than Glasstire, but in a good way. It supports rigorous criticism and arts news. It lacks the flash and flair of Flyp but is more substantial. 
October 2, 2009 11:45 AM | | Comments (0)
What if arts organizations are better at communicating than arts journalists, asked Doug McLennan. Communicating what? Advertisers are better at creating a hook than either arts groups or critics. Neither art museums nor the critics who write about them are in the business of pushing a project. Art attracts and repels. Criticism doesn't soft soap to sell soap. Critics frequently succeed with questions, not answers. They leave bafflement in their wakes, and that's its goal. 
October 2, 2009 11:40 AM | | Comments (0)
I struggle for detachment on this project. Its version of digital storytelling reduces the critic to bystander. The site of gorgeous, but when written content appears, it's bland, unchallenging, simple. Conveying the complexity of the art experience is the root reason for art criticism.  The unexamined life is not worth living. 
October 2, 2009 11:28 AM | | Comments (0)
2. Glasstire. Not only does this site, named in honor of Robert Rauschenberg, cover Texas, it pays 30 to 55 writers annually to do it. The vast majority are freelance, but they're paid. There are reviews and all sorts of features, stressing the Texas character of the art, both artists who live there and artists-from-everywhere who show there.  This is a real model for the future. Its writers are smart and informed. And paid. Did I say paid? Paid. Not well paid, but hey, every little bit helps, unless critic/writers consider Rainey Knudson's last comment, that she's moving away from reviews to multi-media. I'm sticking to my notepad.  
October 2, 2009 11:14 AM | | Comments (0)
1. Departures. Excellence community story telling, curated by Juan Devis at KCET.  Departures offers an onlne walk through neighborhoods in L.A., idealized in that everybody stops to talk, as if they were characters in Paul Auster's "The Brooklyn Follies." No question that traditional journalism underserved the wide range of ethnic life in the country. I love this project.
October 2, 2009 10:58 AM | | Comments (0)
As one of the last standing, Laura says the two others on the panel, are you optimistic? Jeff, who is really his own brand, says yes. Seth at the Times admits it's scary. Terrifying job loss, he said. He sees hope in the independents who are good at covering their fields. If they're good, the audience will notice and, he said, "hopefully, they're get paid." That is a hope, Seth.
October 2, 2009 10:49 AM | | Comments (0)
Not just text. Now we're cooking. If critics are paid by arts organizations, how objective can they be? Good question.  In the changing landscape, fundamental relationships are in question. It's great to see arts journalists contribute to a summit in their name.

Seth Schiesel is the first video game critic at the New York Times, but the Times also employs the only full time, on staff dance critic in the country too. Do we need these "gatekeepers," asks Seth. Yes, if they aren't gatekeepers but gate openers. Laura Sydell is worried about online overload, and that's an issue too.

What's being lost in the failure of newspapers is the element of surprise. I don't care about businesses or sports, but on my way to stories I do care about I frequently stopped at those stories almost by accident, hooked by a lead maybe, and learned something. When I worked at a newspaper, I loved the idea of the undifferentiated audience, that I could possibly attract someone who wasn't looking for an arts story and hook that person. Now I have a blog. Only the committed art audience seeks it out.
October 2, 2009 10:23 AM | | Comments (0)
Ok, anti-Max Tweeters. Art museums don't have art critics on their staff, although museums have employed poets to good effect (Frank O'Hara, where are you?). If Max Anderson's museum uses a lot of strategies to engage the audience, that doesn't mean criticism is unnecessary. It's easier for critics to do their jobs, but still vital for them to have an independent place to publish. Where is that place? That place is vanishing as I type.

I met a Seattle actor once, famous in regional theater circles, who said she almost gave up in the early '90s because she wasn't being paid enough to live and couldn't pay her bills with  praise. Afterward, she met and married her husband, who works at Microsoft. I was thinking lately, when we meet journalists in the future, will they say they can afford to cover politics and critics to cover art because they married someone with a salary?
October 2, 2009 10:10 AM | | Comments (1)


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