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April 09, 2007



Interesting subject. You know I love art history and ancient art in particular. You don't find many artists writing about art historical influences though. Is it bad to be in love with the past?


this one is sort of an art history blog -


and this site isn't a blog, but it's pretty good -



I guess by art history blog I mean a site done by an art historian and actively engaging with the academic field; by that standard, I'm not sure the dalihouse page qualifies. There are some, of course; the Art History Newsletter itself, plus the Art History Today site to which they link. But it's nothing like in other academic fields such as economics, political science (most of the social sciences, really), history, philosophy, etc., where you have a critical mass of active bloggers and commentators from within the discipline, some of the quite eminent. Art historians have yet to make much of a contribution in that way.


There are more art historical public intellectuals than that. Like (whatever one thinks of them) TJ Clark, James Elkins, Leo Steinberg, Adam Gopnik. And others in England, as well as the continent. Which just makes the lack of blogs that much more striking. Gary Vikan, director of the Walters Art Museum, has started a blog in the museum website which is more idiosyncratic than one mught expect.

The technophobia of art historians does indeed seem to me to be generational. I think (unsatisfying as it is) the reason there are so few art history blogs is that there are so few art history blogs as models. Kinda like the explanations for why certain ethnic groups happen to be in certain cities. Because they knew other people there and went. Which may also be to say that there are many art history blogs waiting to appear.


Thanks for your comment. Interesting counter-examples, I must say. James Elkins is a great person to point--he should totally have a blog (he did, once, very briefly for a conference, but then let it die. I think he talked a bit about that with Matt Nash over at BRS.

The other ones I'm not so sure about. Adam Gopnik isn't really what I'm thinking of in terms of an art historian, though obviously he has a relationship to the field. T.J. Clark definitely counts, but for all his long time in this country, his public orientation derives from a tradition that's still pretty remote for most U.S. art historians (and I am really only talking about this country--obviously the situation in, say, Germany is much different. Steinberg counts as well, and is much closer to the point, but most of his public engagements have been as an art critic (to the best of my knowledge), a jump that some art historians manage and some don't. But I'm sure there are others.

Which may also be to say that there are many art history blogs waiting to appear.

I certainly hope that is true.

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