Art bloggers get no love


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Grants to art writers from New York’s Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation were recently announced. Twenty-six mostly N.Y. scribblers were the happy recipients of anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000, designed to help them ply their typically underpaid trade.

The grant program, according to its website, “aims to support the broad spectrum of writing on contemporary visual art, from general-audience criticism to academic scholarship.” The list of 2009 recipients reflects that goal.


Still, one aspect of the announcement took me by surprise. As writers on art, bloggers just don’t seem to measure up.

Although the Internet has gobbled up the globe, just one blogger made the cut: Greg Cook, whose estimable New England Journal of Aesthetic Research is produced in the greater Boston suburb of Malden, Mass. The remaining 25 grantees mostly proposed projects for print, including books, magazines, newspapers and other dead-tree media.

In fact, in the four years that Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grants have been awarded, only three have gone to writers who produce blogs. (You can find the others here and here.) Given a total of 87 grants since 2006, bloggers have racked up less than 4%.That’s not a very good ratio.

In fact, it’s dismal. While it isn’t possible to know which blogs and bloggers applied for grants (or how many of those got tossed out as ineligible because they didn’t fit entry criteria), a Creative Capital spokesman tells me that, for 2009, the blog category had 153 applicants. Yikes. Maybe art blogs are generally a waste or only really bad bloggers submit applications or the jury doesn’t like the form.

The bad news doesn’t stop there. Two successful applicants this year got grants to start blogs. That’s a nice vote of confidence in those established writers’ abilities, but it also suggests the jury’s rather sizable degree of dismay with existing bloggers who applied for assistance.

Is art blogging really that bad?

--Christopher Knight

Logo: Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program