In fact, a new kind of “literacy” has been identified in digital natives who grew up immersed in visually-dependent, multimedia environments. Young people today respond more to imagery than any other generation before them, perhaps because new technologies have allowed more dynamic graphics on our screens, and these Photoshop amateurs have cultivated a more refined popular taste in design. And when has photography been more accessible than it is now, when anyone can come up with the best-looking compositions from their Canon digital SLRs? It’s only on rare occasions that we still call hired professionals to snap our precious moments.
Despite this budding golden age in visual communications, the visual arts remain outside the mainstream. A select few spend their Sundays going to contemporary art exhibits, galleries and museums, yet thousands from my country visit DeviantArt daily.
But because this is “the visual generation,” I also think we have more potential to appreciate art, traditional or otherwise, even in its most academic forms, if only we try to explore it. For beginners in the intellectual-creative world of visual arts, here’s a list of some well-written, insightful, bookmark-worthy art blogs for your regular fix.
The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones on Art. Unlike many critics who scorn most art pieces they feature, Mr. Jones, a veteran of the UK daily, persists as the optimistic, laudatory type. He writes about the old masters as frequently as he does up-and-coming artists, and his reflections are accessible and unpretentious — such as when he candidly explains why Pollack is a “rock and roll master” and why Van Gogh couldn’t have won The X Factor. He’s also my personal favorite.
Modern Art Notes by Tyler Green. Green is the kind of of cultural reporter any journalism major-slash-aesthete would want to become. His blog was hailed by The Wall Street Journal as the “most influential of all visual arts blogs,” and his prose has made its way into the pages of America’s favorite newspapers. Green blogs more about current events in his immediate art sphere than works and artists. MAN isn’t the easiest read for art blog newbies, but Green’s thoughts are always worth more than two cents.
Venetian Red by Liz Hager and Christine Cariati. Hager and Cariati started Venetian Red mainly as a “vehicle” to help them reflect on the depths of art, which, in turn, can aid their creative process as artists. Their blog gives the reader a glimpse into the life of working artists who deliver enlightened commentaries on Renaissance and modern works that alternately inspire the bloggers’ own creations and document their travel itineraries.
Lines and Colors by Charles A. Parker. Charley Parker seems to be your everyday cartoonist who works on one project after another. What’s likable about his blog is that a post on scholarly impressionist paintings encountered in a recent museum visit is followed by one on the latest comic book breakthrough. After all, Parker regards himself an anti-critic and writes only on works that impress him. And because of its friendliness, Lines and Colors is a blog in which specialists and non-specialists alike can find delight.
Snippets from the Manila Art Scene. The mysterious blogger behind Snippets runs a default WordPress theme on a default WordPress platform. There’s nothing generic about her posts though, since she seems to have been at every top exhibit in the capital city and writes about art with an insider’s view on artists, art history and the Philippine contemporary art scene. There’s definitely every bit of mystique (characteristic of artist types) and expert analysis in this amateur-looking site.
Selected Artworks. The title, the artist, the date. Period. No fuss, no long, winding descriptions, no pretentious critique. Selected Artworks is the blog for art enthusiasts who are purists enough to want to appreciate art for itself, not because of the words that often go with it.
Art History Today. I don’t really know what’s with art bloggers and anonymity. Art History Today, written by an unidentified “professional art historian” who has a “PhD in Pouissin,” reads like something from a class lecture. It’s chock full of art trivia that will thrill any closet art geek and is also a rich resource of links on world-class museums, artists and art bloggers.
Photos by cobalt123 and blogs