25 November 2013 § 2 Comments
When is a blog not a blog? Perhaps when it is an ‘online magazine‘ or ‘digital review’? So where do you start with any sort of ‘Blog’ review list? Who do you exclude? Should ‘true’ blogs just be individual or non-profit making? Perhaps not linked to larger organisations like the TATE gallery for example, where they act as promotional tools. It’s all a bigger issue than I was willing to address here, so my sole limitation was that the blog/mag/review should feature contemporary art at least regularly.
I try to take a look around and see what my ‘competitors’ are up to in the blogosphere but find it hard to track down many good art blogs. Google ‘Top Art Blogs’, limited to the UK and the last 12 months, and you will find no collective listings. Zero.
Take off the restrictions and you will get a few from 2009/10. At least half are no longer operating or haven’t posted for at least six months. When I checked one of these ‘Top Ten’ lists it included blogs like Amelia’s Magazine. God bless Amelia – and her blog is probably very good at what it does – but I decided that if that’s a top ‘Art (and Design) Blog’ then it was time for a new top ten. So here goes…
The contemporary art blog of all blogs. Neatly designed, an ever changing up to date compilation of the best from 100 other blogs!
Not so much a blog, more an online version of the newspaper. But high quality content as you would expect!
International (although US based) including plenty of UK shows. An impressive selection of reviews of contemporary art exhibitions updated daily. I like the ‘random exhibition’ button – this time I got IAIN BAXTER&, Adam Chodzko at Raven Row.
Another blog with significant backing, being tied to the important art & design publication of the same name.
The only place for street art info. Great design, layout and well written. Categories include for example Street Art, Graffitt & Banksy!
As you would expect of the leading UK art magazine publisher and top art fair organiser their blog is clear an interesting. Wouldn’t you think they could manage more than a couple of posts a week though with all their resources?
Not much use unless you’re in Liverpool perhaps, but well designed, informative, wide ranging and well written.
Written by Mark Sheerin, this is the one of the only two blogs in the list written by an individual (the other is CELLOPHANELAND). I tried hard to find more but few have any longevity and/or quality. Varied content but includes many of his own interviews with top, mostly UK, artists like Jeremy Deller, Gavin Turk and Martin Creed.
Is it a blog or is it a magazine? This is really an ‘online’ magazine. It also runs masterclasses with notable photographers, has developed a wide and international following. Includes essays, reviews and interviews.
Julie Eagleton’s wide ranging arts, lifestyle and culture blog always has something interesting – even if art is not one of the main topics. Expect anything from interviews (section currently being updated) from the likes of Francis Ford Coppola to the latest exhibition at the V&A.
10= THE FLANEUR
Tenth equal with C-LAND just because they both are broad-ranging sites covering art, culture and more. What’s more the Art section here doesn’t always feature contemporary art. Nice blog though!
Agree/disagree? Know any more worthy of inclusion at the top of the pile? Then please let me know.
31 August 2010 § Leave a comment
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Liverpool has never been very high on my radar as a spot to consider for a flying visit. Naturally, as all Southerners know, any northern town is obviously grimy, dirty and highly dangerous – if the muggers do not get you then, in time, the pies, chips and fried Mars bars will reap their toll! Next is the weather. It is of course icy cold and rains all the time – not just in nice quick falls but in a steady, penetrating wind-blown sort of way that lasts for days, especially around Liverpool. As if that was not enough it also is such a bloody long way – I do not know how far of course, but I do know for certain that it is way, way too far to consider travelling anywhere north of the Watford Gap except in the case of an extreme emergency. And as for a day trip – fuhgeddaboutit!
That is until yesterday. Tempted by the Picasso: Peace and Freedom at the Liverpool Tate I had a couple of weeks ago looked at the possibility of a brief trip. Initially I had considered an overnight stay but after checking out the trains I discovered, to my amazement, that it only takes just a fraction over two hours from Euston to reach Liverpool Lime Street – a station that is not on the edge of the city but bang in the heart of town, next to the fabulous Walker Gallery. Then the price – plan ahead and it is a bargain £22 return. Sold! Walking shoes on foot, plastic mac and thermos in backpack and city map in hand I ventured northwards.
The 1854 neo-classical St Georges Hall is the first stop – you virtually trip over it as you step out of the station. Fortunately open (not always so), it is the one of the finest buildings of its type in Britain. The main hall is stunning, although sadly the amazing Minton floor is usually covered with a protective wooden parquet. From here it is just a few yards to the Walker Gallery, the ‘National Gallery’ of the north, with its exceptional collection of pre-Raphaelite art. There are fine works by all the major artists of the period: Lord Leighton, Gabriel Rosetti, Holman Hunt, Albert Moore and many more – all very Victorian and very British. Suddenly, right out of the blue, appears an 1891 Giovanni Segantini – my Italian co-traveller nearly fell over backwards. A smaller version of a much larger Italian one (I forget where) it is a beautiful symbolist work. Here is what the Walker say about it:
The souls of the women are depicted floating against a snowy background based on the Swiss Alps where Segantini spent much of his life. The grandeur and spirituality of the Alps was a constant inspiration to Segantini whose last words before he died were: “I want to see my mountains”. In the painting the spirits of the women are punished for having committed the sin of abortion consciously or by neglect.
We were a couple of weeks too early to see the entries for the next John Moores Painting Prize so we settled for an exhibition of previous winners. It was an impressive selection that included the likes of David Hockney, Peter Doig, John Hoyland and Peter Davies. One could have done much worse than buy up a work buy each winner as they were announced – you would certainly have made a few bob! I liked the work by the Glaswegian School artist Adrian Wizniewski (pictured at top of post) whilst the 1993 winning work from Peter Doig was a lovely work called ‘Blotter’ for which you would need some £2m at auction today. This is what the artist says about it:
‘Blotter’ was painted from a photograph I took of my brother standing on a frozen pond. The reflection was enhanced by pumping water onto the ice. It is a variation of earlier paintings that have been more reliant on the imagination. The title refers to (amongst other things) the notion of one’s being absorbed into a place or landscape, and to the process through which the painting developed: soaking paint onto the canvas. The figure is deliberately shown looking down into the reflection; this is to suggest inward thought, rather than some sort of contemplation of the scene.”
Next stop was the fine Bluecoats Gallery for Arabcity: Such a Near East where six Middle Eastern artists who ‘explored cultural heritage from unique perspectives’. Most interesting were Chant Avedissian, with witty Elizabeth Peyton-like portraits of stars and commoners alike, and Ayman Balbaaki’s cityscapes. Two worth watching.
Via a gawk at the Cavern Club, its beer-sticky street and the tourist throng we took a stroll down to the Tate. I will not review the Picasso exhibition – because firstly, it ended yesterday and secondly, it has already been reviewed to death, but I will just make a couple of observations. Although it was interesting and neatly brought together elements of Picasso’s political and post-war work one has to say there was a certain amount of , let us call it ‘Picasso Blindness’. An exhibition of Picasso’s wine-stains or phlegm-traces I feel are nowadays uncritically hailed as further examples of his genius. I do not buy it. This was a moderately interesting, comprehensive and competent exhibition of a period of Picasso’s work. There were a handful of great works, a few moderate ones and a bunch of ‘fillers’. It was reasonable.
The DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture also only just makes the grade. Supposedly ‘curated’ by Michael Craig-Martin it is nothing more than a seemingly random selection of every, broad, aspect of sculptural practice – ‘one of each’ is the mantra here. And as for the headphones with random dance tracks – what were they thinking? There were however some excellent works that could be selected from the ‘mess’ and made a trawl around the three rooms well worthwhile. A tremendous Lipchitz was my pick.
Finally, we took a look at the two contrasting and despite ther ugliness, strangely appealing, Cathedrals – the dour red block of the Anglican Cathedral and the modernist crown of the Catholic. The climax of the day was a pint in the wonderful Philharmonic pub to admire the ornate Victorian decor and capped off a wonderful day. Oh – and Ialmost forgot to mention that it was hot and sunny all day and although the muggers did not get us the greasy chip shop did! I must go again soon.
- Visit Liverpool England – From The Slave Trade To The Beatles (historictravel.suite101.com)