The best art blog devoted to the contemporary problems of art

 

In selecting the short list of blogs for this category, I really had to push myself outside my comfort zone -- that is to say, I specifically chose not to focus on the blogs I read and enjoy every day (though some of them did make it in, anyhow). I surveyed my art blogger, artist, and curator friends to find out what they were reading, took the analytical approach and compared "top blogs" by traffic and page views, reviewed the content and took a look at the blogs' greater social media presence, at their commenters, etc. In short, I did my homework. What I ended up with was a list of some 15 or so blogs from every corner of the world, representing several different approaches to "art blogging."

I excluded from this list blogs affiliated with any print publications, foundations or museums and chose to focus exclusively on those efforts that were designed to be nothing more than what they were: professional art blogs. One thing many of the people I surveyed and I agreed on was that a truly great art blog should facilitate conversation about contemporary art. Discourse--not only with fellow bloggers and critics, but with the general audience--therefore became a key measure of "greatness". Also, this being the internet, I took a look at how the blogs engaged with media: were they experimenting with podcasts? making good use of video and hyperlinks? did they have active commenters participating in smart discussions? and did these bloggers then extend these conversations to other online portals such as Facebook, Twitter, and various other social networks?

The final list of nominations reflects a group of art blogs that excel in all these areas and more. They are not only providing smart and witty commentary, reporting and criticism about contemporary art, they are comfortable enough with the medium they are working in (namely, the internet) as to be setting the standard for what an art blog is and how it might function. But, perhaps most importantly, they inspiring great conversations about art both on and offline.

 

Julia Kaganskiy, the ART BLOG nomanation jury head



Hyperallergic (USA)

Hyperallergic bills itself as "a forum for serious, playful and radical thinking about art in the world today" and it delivers on that promise through a variety of smart, witty and inventive new media efforts that include the "blogazine" hyperallergic.com, an experimental Tumblr blog called Hyperallergic LABS that featured more bite-sized versions of their excellent content, a video and audio podcast series called Hyperallergic TV and active Twitter and Facebook presences. Hyperallergic has the feel of a truly cross-platform project that is fully comfortable with all manner of media and manages to be thought-provoking and fun to read--a real triumph in art blogging.


Art Fag City (USA)

ArtFagCity is one of the most authoritative and popular blogs on the web focusing on contemporary art criticism and news. Headed up by the outspoken and incisive NYC-based art critic Paddy Johnson, as well as her team of talented young writers and artists, AFC continues to be the hub for some of the most intelligent and impassioned debates concerning contemporary art happening on the web today. In addition to the site, Johnson and her team all have active Twitter and Facebook presences, lead curatorial efforts, and write for major print publications as well.


Red Box Review (China)

RedBox Review brings the contemporary art world to China and Chinese contemporary art to the rest of the world. The bi-lingual site features excellent exhibition and book reviews, interviews, and news articles. Censorship issues can often prevent Chinese bloggers from being able to make the most of the media landscape on the web, but the RedBox Reviews editors make an admirable effort to stay active on social media platforms and provide the rest of the world a window into the art happenings out East.


Rebel:Art (Germany)

German art critic Alain Bieber is what some people might call a "digital native" and as such something about the look, feel and tone of his blog feels very much representative of the "language" of the internet. Both in subject matter and in style, he seems to be grasping for a wide internet audience, putting out content with a share-ability potential. This is the stuff memes are made of. Despite being accessible, the content is smartly curated as Bieber is an accomplished critic and curator who writes for several other German publications and works as a project manager for the French/German web-based video channel ARTE Creative.


Openspace.ru (Russia)

From the design to the content, OpenSpace demonstrates a deep understanding of how to capture and communicate with an audience on the web--and it shows by the number of comments and pageviews they proudly display next to their posts. Their site is incredibly media-savvy, incorporating video, images, social media and even music into a sophisticated platform that feels rich and engaging without feeling overwhelming. The production value here is very high and it certainly goes to show what you can do with the support of a robust team and a healthy budget.

 


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