Why are there no art history blogs?

November 24th, 2008

After a Sunday morning internet survey, I have discovered I am pretty much on my own; there are virtually no art history blogs. The most applicable post, appropriately dated more than year ago, takes a look at the dilemma. It is summed up here:

  1. Art history as a field is more status-conscious, tradition-bound, and more cautious in its attitude toward the public realm than other fields.
  2. Art historians follow art news but are reticent to publicly commenting. In respects to other disciplines, art history has little tradition in engaging in public speech.
  3. Art historians suffer from technophobia, the disdain for computers runs much stronger than in other fields their.
  4. Art historical work simply doesn’t lend itself to blogging.

Dissent or agree as you will, art historians included.

3 Responses to “Why are there no art history blogs?”

  1. ARech

    We have to consider that blogging is a quite ‘young’ form of communication, which became popular only in the late 1990s.

    On the other hand, art history, as with most fields of the humanities, is a rather conservative science, a late-comer in using and implementing the various technical devices and sources for the daily scientific work. Working at a university for nearly thirty years I’ve made the same experience like mentioned above, that scholars, even those from the senior generation, had severe reservations up to a real phobia in all technical devices, whether a computer or a copy machine. Only in the recent decade, with the general introduction of online-research and email-communication at the universities, some of them slowly began to realize the advantage of typing a manuscript with a computer instead of using a typewriter. These scholars, although still quite active today, will probably no more develop an understanding for blog-communication. For them expressing ones thoughts is the matter of a private talk or a hand-written letter, not that of an online-post.

    It is only the generation of today’s junior professors who are the first in getting accustomed with the various techniqual equipment as well as the new forms of research, publication and – to a certain degree – communication. They are certainly more open to such new forms like a blog, but still have to get more familiar with it. A nice example I recently found on the special website for the large ‘Dutch Cityscapes’ exhibition, launched by the Mauritshuis.

    Among other new media they offer a blog, mainly, of course, for the visitors to express their thoughts and opinion to the exhibition. But at first, as a kind of introduction, some members of the artistic and technical staff responsible for the exhibition wrote about their own experiences while preparing the exhibit. For some of them it was certainly their first active contact with a blog. But perhaps, they will think it now a quite useful additional form of communication, worth to be implemented into the daily work. At least a sign that the blog as a new, suggestive means to get into contact with its visitors has found its way into a major museum. It is certainly not a true art historical blog, but a start at least.

    So why not doing some pioneering work? The ‘Flying Fox’ has full potential to become a major blog in art history.


  2. Beth Gersh-Nesic

    I found your blog through Google Alerts: Art History.
    I write for About.com: Art History and we have so much to offer beside blogs. We have a newsletter, archives, reviews, etc.
    There are plenty of art history and critical blogs around.
    May I suggest that you subscribe to the Google Alerts: Art History and you will find most of them in no time.

    Good luck with your blog
    Beth Gersh-Nesic
    Art Critic
    About.com: Art History

  3. dutchbaby

    This is a very interesting query. I have a friend who is an art historian, I’m going to have to bring this to her attention!

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