Sabrina Ratte – Futures 1050

Art Writing: Corinna Kirsch

No.: Futures 004
TopicArt Writing

Prompt: Describe a possible future for art writing. Specifically, submit an idea that addresses either the economics of art writing or new models/new media for art publishing that could change the field. This could be a new idea or a recent project that deserves attention.

Attempt: I would like to see more art writers out there. There’s too many exhibitions in too many places for a dozen or so critics to cover—and most importantly, I’d like to see more points of view in publication. There’s absolutely no reason why a writer at the New York Times has a better outlook on art’s future than the artists or curators who’re making art happen now.

That said, online criticism is in a poor state right now. I’m a senior editor at Art F City, a multi-author blog that’s part of an ad network. We made the transition to a non-profit in 2012 because our staff of three (Editorial Director Paddy Johnson is full-time, Senior Editors Whitney Kimball and I are both part-time) can’t sustain the blog on advertising revenue alone, not when we see art criticism as a means of social, political, and educational engagement. Quite frankly, the topics we want to cover aren’t often link-bait; we’d be fine with the pay-per-click model if we covered the latest Lady Gaga fiasco. But we don’t.

I don’t know how to make criticism economically viable. At Art F City, though, we’re trying. Mostly, we’re experimenting with traditional non-profit funding methods—benefits, editions, individual giving campaigns, grants, and the like. It’s difficult just starting out, and there aren’t too many grants focused on art blogs.

One small idea I’d like to see in action at Art F City is the creation of an educational publication series, similar to what Whitechapel produces. An Art Criticism Since 2000, for example, because there’s no better textbook for what’s happened in contemporary art than one made up of reviews and reportage, as so many books on contemporary art history neglect the breadth of art practice for art theory. Anyway, there’s gotta be some grants for that.

Author: Corinna Kirsch, Senior Editor of Art F City

Futures is a new series that presents speculations about emerging models, responses to ongoing crises and a catalogue of possible futures. Responding to the etymology of “essay” as an “attempt,” this micro essay format invites diverse voices to address pressing issues in the arts.

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