While art criticism languishes in the doldrums, I get my information on who to watch, what to read, must see shows, and related matters from Twitter and Facebook. These two networking services, which I consult throughout the day on my iPad and my iPhone5, have become indispensable sources of information for a variety of reasons.
For starters, these days, most everybody seems to be tweeting and posting. I follow and have friended museum directors and their curators, magazine editors and their writers, and dealers and their collectors, not to mention a sprinkling of artists of stature. OMG, even the Pope now tweets—in six languages. As for President Obama, he signs his entries bo.
There’s also much to be said about only reading 140 characters as well as looking at photographs that are worth a thousand words taken by friends you trust. You’re spared suffering the opinions of people with uninformed, at times, outrageous opinions. I no longer have to waste my time glancing at blogs by J-School graduates who should have taken a few more art history courses or at the very least, gone to the library to read back issues of Artforum. And, I no longer need to muddle my way through dense, obtuse, heavily footnoted articles and essays by college professors and their graduate students who don’t know how to write clear, crisp sentences.
I’m probably reading more than ever as I check out links that send me to coverage of art exhibitions in Los Angeles, London, and Lushan; or allow me to hook up with interesting profiles and overlooked obituaries; or at times, access informative reports, dare I say it, of the art market in a number of world capitals.
I also love the simple, unadorned writing style on Twitter and Facebook. Everyone gets straight to the point. You gotta. Okay, I just opened that can of worms. Yes, it’s such a relief to use sooo or kinda or OMG. Sure, I miss using the phrase “with whom.” But instead of being bogged down by correct English usage, we’ve gained a wonderful immediacy with the latest slang. While it might not be modern poetry, it better reflects how we speak to one another on our ubiquitous cell phones.
Twitter and Facebook are called social media. Yikes. They’re really 24/7 guides to everything you need to know about the contemporary art world.
PHYLLIS TUCHMAN began publishing in Artforum and Art in America during the early 1970s. More recently, she published about 100 articles on the now-defunct websites artnet and Obit Magazine. Currently, for the Montclair Art Museum, she is co-curating Robert Smithson: The New Jersey Earthworks.