May 31, 2005

BLOG | Response to demise of NAJP

By Jan Herman
Source: Straight Up, Arts Journal

Responses from former fellows of the NAJP program to news of the demise of the program.

Read the report online at:

ARTICLE | Everyone's a critic!

by Joe Nickell
Source: Missoulian

The critic is dead; long live the critic. The online community of professional arts critics has been buzzing - or, more accurately, weeping - over the past week, in the wake of an announcement that the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University will be shutting down this summer. The 11-year-old program, which offered three-month fellowships to mid-career journalists aimed at developing their knowledge and skills in arts writing, was the only institution of its kind in the United States.

Read the entire article online at:

ARTICLE | Imagine a room where everybody knows best

by Christopher Reynolds
Source: Los Angeles Times

About 400 reviewers of art, dance, music and theater have descended upon Los Angeles for the National Critics Conference. This is the first time anybody in this country has tried to unite so many reviewers from so many disciplines, and nobody's exactly sure what will happen ... The idea, as with most conventions, is to raise everyone's professional game through speeches by luminaries, provocative panels (is it wrong for critics to moonlight as curators?) and seminars on brass-tacks issues from writing mechanics to job-seeking strategies. The added wrinkle is an emphasis on interdisciplinary exploration — ideas the critics will kick around in meeting rooms at the Omni Hotel and elsewhere through Sunday, with side trips day and night to museums, galleries and theaters and concert halls.

Read the entire article online at:

ARTICLE | It's getting crowded in the ivory tower

by Chris Jones
Source: Chicago Tribune

Chris Jones reports on a particularly lousy week for critics, especially those of the insecure variety. Says Jones: "On May 22, the Los Angeles Times published a lengthy and painfully resonant article declaring that critics have lost all their clout -- reduced to the compost of irrelevance by an unstoppable combination of declining newspapers, diminishing literacy, peripatetic blogs, gonzo marketing, ubiquitous user reviews and the critics' own hapless elitism.

"This billet-doux was penned in honor of this weekend's historic joint Los Angeles conference of critics from several arts disciplines. If critics weren't already depressed in their rare unity, they sure were by the time they arrived to the news of their own imminent demise.For arts critics, there was more doom and gloom to come.

"On Monday, the board of the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University -- a rare group that probed, advocated and generally cared about the field of cultural reporting and criticism -- announced that it was closing its doors, due to the expiration of a pivotal grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts."

Read the entire article online at:

May 30, 2005

JOB | Doing more for less?

Writer Wanted
Ausdance NT is looking for a writer. 1000 words for $75, once every two months.

Note: The standard rates for arts writers should be a minimum $300 per thousand words. The MEAA recommends that freelance journalists should be paid around $660 per thousand words.


ARTICLE | Ipod Sound-seeing Tours

With Irreverence and an iPod, Recreating the Museum Tour
28 May2005
Source: New York Times

In the museum world, where the popularity of audio tours has grown tremendously over the last decade, the use of commercial MP3 players seems to be catching on. Officials at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis have discussed putting their new audio guide material on the Web for downloading to portable players. Last year, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo lent viewers iPods to use as audio guides for one exhibition, and Apple Computer has helped the Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley of France do the same thing, using the sonorous voice of the actor Michael Lonsdale.

But the rise of podcasting is now enabling museumgoers not simply to enjoy audio guides on a sleeker-looking device but also to concoct their own guides and tours. A New York art website,, recently made a sound-seeing tour of the Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, which the Web site's creators made in hushed tones while wandering through the show, sometimes quoting from the museum's official audio guide, which they listened to as they chatted.

Read the full article online at:

May 27, 2005

TECH | Vision 2020: Future Scenarios for the Communications Industry

Source: Catalyst, ABC

A recent report from the Australian Communications Authority Vision 20/20: Future Scenarios for the Communications Industry, included a few possible scenarios about how we will use technology in the year 2020.

:: All-in-one devices
:: Content is king
:: Communication software
:: Information security

Read the full news story online at:

Download the report appendices from:

PROFILE | Libby Douglas, ABC Producer

Source: The Program

Nice to see some acknowledgement for arts media ... Libby Douglas has worked at Radio National for the past nine years as a producer and director in the Performance and Features unit. Lisa Greenaway manages to pin Libby down for a chat about radio, poetry and the all consuming power of sound.

Read the profile online at:

May 25, 2005

OPINION | Sorensen on Bennett catalogue

by Linda Carroli

At it again. In the weekend edition of The Courier-Mail (21 May 2005), Rosemary Sorensen decided to proclaim 'time to clean up artspeak'. It surprises me that she doesn't actually just use the expression 'artwank' and be done with it. Clearly, Sorensen doesn't understand a great deal about the contemporary gallery environment and the sorts of territories and needs that catalogue essays have to address. Simarily, she doesn't seem to understand that visual arts is an environment in which many different kinds of writing form the undercurrents of art criticism. It's a fraught business and catalogues really aren't intended to placate the whims of newspapers arts editors and journalists. I also refer you to Gail Hasting's post in artArt - she makes some wonderful points about the culture of negative criticism in the media.

It's also a shame that she uses the review of Gordon Bennett and Peter Robinson's exhibition at the Institute of Modern Art to lash out in this manner. These are important artists. A bit like arts journalism in newspapers, catalogue essays aren't going to please all the people but for Sorensen to simply tilt at the writings associated with this exhibition, is a little like fighting a crusade against a chimera.

Further, she expresses a desire to see 'how does the writer respond to the work of art?'. Pity that Sorensen can't see the wood for the trees but instead makes a range of allegations about the writings in this catalogue being misleading and dishonest. These texts, like all art writing, are a writer's response to the work by two high profile arts professionals, a curator and an academic. So what's Sorensen's complaint? The crux seems to be that she just doesn't like, or perhaps doesn't quite understand, the writing style or the argument.

It's always worth noting when mainstream media professionals seek to silence commentary in various, independent arenas, like the arts, by discrediting the value and the quality of these commentaries.

Read the full report online at:

WINNERS | NZ Arts Journalism Awards

Date: 20 May 2005
Source: The Scoop

Broadcast journalists were acknowledged in Auckland recently for their contribution to New Zealand arts journalism at the 2005 Qantas Media Awards. Creative New Zealand has been sponsoring the arts journalism categories of the Qantas Media Awards since 1996 as part of its arts advocacy work.

The following is a list of winners in the broadcast arts journalism categories.
:: The arts journalism award for Radio News Reporter - Tarek Bazley of Radio New Zealand for his story, Gore’s great art coup.
:: The arts journalism award for Radio Current Affairs Reporter - Lynne Freeman of Radio New Zealand for her Insight story, Can culture save us?
:: The arts journalism award for Television News Reporter - Mike Jaspers, One News, for his story, Oscars triumph.
:: The arts journalism award for the Television Current Affairs Reporter - reporter Mark Crysell and producer Jane Skinner, for their Television New Zealand Sunday story, Sharp Focus, an insight into photographer Jane Ussher.

Read the full report online at:

May 20, 2005

TEXT | 5 Entries

by Lee Weng Choy
Source: Mesh 17

Choy suggests "the practice of art criticism hasn’t necessarily changed that much, even if a large number of writers have become cyborgs. Much of my writing concerns an ill-defined category, “contemporary” art. What this field comprises, which is usually contrasted with “traditional” or “modern” art, is subject to unending debate. But like many art writers, I don’t find it necessary to engage directly in those debates. Most of the time, I write about the practices and contexts of living artists, and contest a variety of issues, from the function of public art to the politics of representation and multiculturalism. And when I write about art and science, I often resort to themes in natural history rather than address technology. This text is something of an exception. It is, for me, an early entry into the area of “new technologies” and art."

Read the entire essay online at:

BLOGS | Art Criticism

A Google search of the words 'art criticism blogs' reveals, as you would expect, that there is much online discussion about blogging and art criticism/writing. Some very interesting, challenging and valuable ideas are floating around about the impact of blogs on arts writing and publishing (also related to questions of marketing and profiling). Worth noting some of them here ...

Caryn Coleman, The art weblog
"Ultimately, what art blogs will do is provide more information to readers and give more credibility to artists, galleries, and museums. Art blogs will become known for exposing new talents to the world with a critical eye who otherwise may go unnoticed. They will question and explore happenings that major publications may never go near; and they’ll address them first."

JT Kirkland, 'State of the Art (Blogging)', in DCist
points out that art criticism is undergoing a 'major revolution' - "What this all boils down to is that while traditional criticism may be losing its power to affect change, its power to bring attention to the arts and introduce artists and experiences to a broad audience still exists. The rise of so many blogs suggests that something is missing in our cultural landscape and that individuals are rising to solve the problems."

Tyler Green, Modern Art Notes, In NYFA he writes,
"Blogs haven't (yet) changed anything about how art criticism is written. Jerry Saltz, for example, still covers art in New York City for the Village Voice just as he did a year ago. And bloggers are more art observers than critics; they mostly write about their favorite shows in and around their towns or they talk about gallery openings they've attended. (And, of course, they tell us how much they drank at those openings.) This isn’t meant to imply that blogs aren't players in art criticism. Here's where blogs have an impact: The local art critic is no longer just local. Blogs have proven to be outstanding at making sure good art writing, even if it's hidden in a Denver alt-weekly, is read nationwide. Every art critic has become a national art critic. Before blogs, who in New York read Washington Post critic Blake Gopnik? Who in Boston paid attention to what Kenneth Baker was writing in the San Francisco Chronicle?"

A blogged report on the 'artLA panel on art criticism'.
Said Christopher Miles, "onetime I wrote a piece on and within minutes had a slew of comments about the words I was using. The comments online allow things to go their own direction and you don't have as much control. It's more free form. There used to be, as a writer, that you'd know the audience, and now you don't know who might see it."

May 19, 2005

PRIZE | Pascal Foundation

The annual Pascall Prize, worth $15,000 in cash, is Australia’s only major award for arts criticism. The Pascall Prize commemorates the flamboyant, groundbreaking Sydney writer and critic Geraldine Pascall, who died suddenly following a stroke in February 1983 at the age of 38. Geraldine Pascall worked full-time as a journalist and feature writer for The Australian from 1969 until her death, at various times reviewing theatre, film and books and writing critically about food, wine, travel, lifestyle, fashion and the arts generally. She died intestate, but her friends and colleagues were able to establish the Geraldine Pascall Foundation after her father agreed to give up his rights to her estate.

The Pascall Prize is judged each year by a panel consisting predominantly of previous winners. The Prize was first awarded (in its present form) in 1990 and aims each year to identify and reward a critic whose work is itself creative, has ‘the capacity to excite new interest’ in a particular subject and which ‘helps Australians experience aspects of their culture with greater knowledge and perception’. The guidelines make it clear that potential Pascall Prize winners will be writing regularly for non-specialist national or metropolitan audiences.

Vivian Zeltzer/Judy Dawes/Shula Dennard (Co-ordinators)
(02) 9231 4293

TALK | Sydney Writers Festival

A session at the Sydney Writers Festival addresses Critical Arts Journalism
Thursday 26 May 2005, 18:00 - 19:30
Featuring Martin Levin, Michael Winter, Nicola Walker, Susan Wyndham (Chair)
Martin Levin is the literary editor of Canada’s Globe and Mail, Nicola Walker is a critic with the Times Literary Supplement, and Andrew Riemer the Sydney Morning Herald. Between them they know a thing or two about criticism. While author Michael Winter, experiences their appraisal from the other side. From their different international and personal perspectives they’ll discuss the state of the art, and just what an author wants from a critic. The Pascall Foundation and Sydney Morning Herald’s Susan Wyndham will guide the discussion. Presented by the Pascall Foundation and State of the Arts magazine.

Also ... Harold Bloom - The School of Resentment
Saturday 28 May 2005, 09:30 - 10:30
Sydney Theatre
Feautring Harold Bloom with John Kinsella
Professor Harold Bloom is arguably the most influential critic of the last quarter of a century. He’s written more than 25 books and is a member of the American Academy of Letters. Today he joins us live via satellite from New York City for a discussion with Australian poet, John Kinsella about literary criticism, F.R. Leavis, aesthetic standards and reciting poetry at the gates of death.
Cost: $20/$15
Bookings: 9250 1988
Proudly made possible by Telstra.

May 18, 2005

REVIEW | She who twaddles last ...

Rosemary Sorensen, The Courier-Mail arts editor, seems to argue that a catalogue essay she dislikes and disagrees with means an artwork is lost to her. It would have been "almost beautiful", "sort of sweet, in a self-absorbed way" she says, if not for the "twaddle" of a catalogue essay or review ... She really puts us in our place with commentary like this: "The nonsense written about this work, however, is just impossibly unhelpful, and may I make a small plea that we stop tolerating any old junk that throws the words "paradigm", "dialectic" and "deconstruction" together into a gobbledegook that claims to be art criticism."

Read her review - is it of the catalogue essay or the exhibition? - online at:

May 12, 2005

INFO | E-Bulletin Directory

The Canadian Cultural Observatory is pleased to present this comprehensive and regularly updated directory of E-Bulletins from Canada and around the world. Please click through the pages below to find links to over one hundred E-Bulletins. You can suggest other ebulletins for inclusion.


May 11, 2005

BOOK | Avalon: art & life of an apartment building


View your invitation at:

Avalon is an apartment building located at the crossroads of sleaze and affluence in Brisbane. From first class residence to lowbrow dwelling, the 75-year-old New Farm building has experienced many changes both in its surrounding environment and its tenants within. For more than 13 years Avalon has provided visual artists a place to live and work. This publication features the work of 16 of these artists and documents some of their Avalon experiences. In addition, it contains a collection of oral and written history from over 50 past and present tenants and others with intimate links with the building. Recent interiors are recorded, the architectural history is revealed, design and social relations are explored and art exhibitions are documented. The book has a local focus with far-reaching appeal. Art, architecture and social history are its primary themes, but it also includes various notions of belief, sex and music.

Avalon: Art & life of an apartment building
ISBN 1 876091 53 3.
Retail price: $30 including GST
Hardcover, 148 x 210 mm, 288 pages, over 260 illustrations, 193 in colour.
Available from MoB Store and selected art & design book stores. Ask your favourite bookshop to order it in for you if it's not in stock.
Edited by Ricardo Felipe and includes texts by Leonard Brown, Ross Gibson, Timothy Hill, Courtney Pedersen, Skye Raabe, Robert Riddel and Luke Roberts. Featured artists: Lincoln Austin, Troy-Anthony Baylis, Leonard Brown, Jun Chen, Li Juan Chen, Donna Confetti, Miles Hall, Melinda Jane, Greg Nelson, Jane O'Neill, Sean Phillips, Skye Raabe, Luke Roberts, Sandra Selig, Elmar Verwer and Heather Winter. Co-published by the Museum of Brisbane and Vanity Publishing. The Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government, through Arts Queensland, funded the publication.

RSVP by 17 May:

MAGAZINE | un magazine

un Magazine aims to create a critical review forum outside of the mainstream press for contemporary visual artworks and emerging visual artists and arts writers. Submission details are online.

Current issue's online supplement features:
Charlotte Hallows reviews Nadine Christensen & Kate Rohde at Canberra Contemporary Art Space
Paul Andrew interviews Simone Le Amon
The full version of Contemporary Art & Cultural Critique by Christine Morrow... it’s bloody long.

Editor: Lily Hibberd
Design: Brendan Leeun
Committee: Zara Stanhope, Din Heagney,Anthony Gardner, Brendan Lee & Jeff Khan

un Magazine
PO Box 2016
0412 714 767

OPPORTUNITY | Emerging Writers' Program

Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces and Express Media are pleased to announce the launch of an annual mentorship program for young and emerging visual arts writers. As a part of Express Media's commitment to providing professional development opportunities for writers under the age of 30, and Gertrude's commitment to supporting emerging practitioners and fostering critical dialogue, the Emerging Writers' Program will partner four young arts writers with four experienced mentors, working together for 20 contact hours over a period of four months between July and December 2005.

The mentorship program will assist in the growth of an insightful critical culture, providing participants with professional development opportunities as well as enhancing literacy through a focus on arts writing. As part of the project outcome each participant will be expected to produce an exhibition review for publication in un Magazine, Melbourne's quarterly art review journal, and a catalogue essay for Gertrude's Studio 12 exhibition program. The four mentors who will be participating in this program are:

:: Tessa Dwyer: independent writer, curator and former Director of the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne. Tessa has curated numerous photomedia projects and has written for publications in Australia and internationally.
:: Anthony Gardner: writer and academic based in Melbourne and Sydney. Anthony teaches at the University of Melbourne and at Monash University, and is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics at the University of New South Wales.
:: Natalie King: writer, curator and broadcaster. Natalie curated the recent survey exhibition Destiny Deacon: Walk and Don't Look Blak at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as Supernatural Artificial, an exhibition of Australian photomedia artists currently touring the South-East Asian region.
:: Linda Michael: independent curator, writer and editor. Linda was the curator of Australia¹s 2003 Venice Biennale pavilion, featuring the work of Patricia Piccinini, and is currently curating the 2006 Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Interested applicants to the mentorship program are asked to submit a relevant writing sample of no more than 500 words, together with a CV and a cover letter outlining what they hope to gain from participating in the program, to:

Emerging Writers' Program
C/- Express Media
The Meat Market Arts House
42 Courtney Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051

The application deadline is MONDAY 30 MAY 2005, 5pm. Late applications will not be accepted.

Samantha Comte or Jeff Khan at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces on 03 9419 3406 or at
Richard Watts at Express Media on 03 9326 8367 or at

May 09, 2005

MAGAZINE | Cabinet Magazine

Cabinet magazine's issue 17, with a special section on "Laughter," available now. For a full table of contents, see

Cabinet magazine's issue 17, with a special section on "Laughter," available now.

Starring: Bemused primates, cannibal maladies, tickled children, early dentistry, happy Swedes, canned laughter, and a royal pear ...

Featuring: Simon Critchley’s philosophical history of humor- Jim Holt on joke theory- Jennifer Liese on the sad story of the smiley face- Slavoj Zizek on Christ, Hegel and other comic greats

With: Sean Dockray, Steve Rowell & Fiona Whitton on the art and science of traffic management- Daniel Heller-Roazen on the disappearance of “H”- Geoffrey O’Brien on the aimless oppression of gray- Margaret Wertheim on the marvels of computational origami- Tom Vanderbilt on dearly departed diamondsPlus:The prehistory of fast food; Dr. Atl’s volcano paintings; the world’s most valuable piece of real estate; and the decline of ribbonsAnd:Artist projects by Robert Bowen, Steven Brower, Paul Chan, Matt Freedman, Edward Jessen, H. Lan Thao & Lana Lin, Marco Maggi, Michael Rakowitz, and Lawrence Weiner.

Available in USA, Canada, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Singapore, New Zealand, and Japan.

Cabinet magazine is published by Immaterial Incorporated, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Cabinet is in part supported by grants from The Flora Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, The New York State Council on the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Peter Norton Foundation, The American Center Foundation, The Frankel Foundation, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Fifth Floor Foundation, and the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation.


MAGAZINE | a mínima

new media magazine
Periodicity: bimestral


BLOG | takingthebrim

A group blog that invites writers and readers, to post their work, their appreciation, or their commentaries. Appreciation is positive and interested - call it the positive critical. Poems, comments, theory of poems, discourse of the same, lines of thought, a space to - one desire-machine crossing the plane, crissing the other, plugging in, the transversality of verse, the metanoia of commentary. Work is defined as text that is either complete or in 'progress' - digression - Expression.


May 06, 2005

LIST | Icelandic Art News LIST

Icelandic Art News LIST is the monthly online art magazine which distributes Icelandic art related topics. Its first edition will be published on 14 May. To subscribe to the Newsletter please send a mail to:

AWARD | John Iremonger Award for Writing on Public Issues

In memory of the late John Iremonger, longtime publisher with the company, Allen & Unwin is proud to offer the second annual JOHN IREMONGER AWARD FOR WRITING ON PUBLIC ISSUES. John Iremonger believed passionately that books could make a difference to public debate and many of the books he published over the years helped define what Australians talked about.

The award is for non-fiction works of contemporary political, social and cultural commentary. On offer is a prize of $10,000, guaranteed publication, royalties on sales and editorial support to develop the proposal to finished manuscript.

The judgesIn 2005 the Award will be judged by Dr Carmen Lawrence and Matthew Ricketson, two of Australia's outstanding public commentators and writers, along with a publisher from Allen & Unwin.

Dr Carmen Lawrence's parliamentary career began in WA state politics in 1986, and in 1990 she became Australia's first female state Premier. She entered federal politics in 1994 and held a number of important front bench positions, and has also been President of the Australian Labor Party. Dr Lawrence speaks and writes regularly about refugee policy and democratic reform and her articles are regularly published on the Sydney Morning Herald Web-Diary.

Matthew Ricketson is an experienced journalist and has worked on staff at the Age, the Australian and Time Australia. Now head of Journalism at RMIT University, he continues to write for major newspapers on a regular basis. He has won several awards, including the George Munster prize for best freelance journalism. He has also published several books, including Writing Feature Stories (2004), The Best Australian Profiles (2004), and a biography of the children's author Paul Jennings.


GRANTS | Researchers in Residence

Deadline: 31 August

As it does every year, the Daniel Langlois Foundation is currently offering research grants. The proposals selected will see researchers conduct work at the Foundation's Centre for Research and Documentation. And while the program does not impose research themes per se, the Foundation would like to direct one of the two grants to research on the "Documentation and Conservation of the Media Arts Heritage," the focus of a major research effort led by the Foundation.


May 05, 2005

JOB | The Program/Triple J Arts Reporters

Applications close 30 May 2005.

THE PROGRAM and triple j are looking for arts reporters, 25 and under across the country to become part of the J Arts Crew! As a J Arts Crew Reporter for THE PROGRAM and triple j, you’ll be scouring your State to bring a delectable smorgasbord of arts and culture – in all its forms, to young people across Australia, on air and online!

We’re looking for an arts reporter, 25 and under in each State and Territory to work with THE PROGRAM and triple j over the next twelve months to taste-test the arts and creative happenings in your neck of the woods – from grass roots to the glossy end of town. As long as you can get yourself there, we’ll have you at more gigs, performances and exhibitions than you can poke a stick at.

Once you’ve sampled the local delights, you’ll work with your nearest ABC studio to bring a snapshot of your experience to the airwaves each month – in addition to seeing your hard work published on THE PROGRAM website.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Fancy yourself as the ultimate culture vulture? Check your cred against the selection criteria and be sure to complete the application form before you post or email your application across.

To be in the running to hear your views, reviews and creative news on radio and online, complete the checklist below:
:: Provide your full contact details including name, postal address, contact number and email address.
:: Complete the application form
:: Enclose all necessary attachments including audio interviews and a passport sized photo
:: Address the selection criteria for the position

Application forms and information are available at