Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Blogging Can be an Art
Erik Wenzel (director, head bloggist and obsessive internal monologist for Art or Idiocy?) has written a comparative review of the Keith Sonnier and Dan Flavin exhibitions. It is the inaugural installment of his new column, The Harsh Crit, at fnewsmagazine.com. The School of the Art Institute Alumnus began the Art or Idiocy? franchise as a monthly column in Fnews’ printed incarnation in February of 2002. This September marks the one year anniversary of Art or Idiocy? as a blog.
“At first we tried to sidestep the blog label, calling it a ‘blog site,’ or ‘my website, which is a blog...about art...it’s not like a typical blog that’s really boring and just about my personal life and how trifling Wicker Park is,’” chuckled Wenzel. As we discussed his accomplishments and plans for the future at his spacious and elegant Bucktown headquarters. No, “urban and sophisticated Bucktown villa.”
Taking a break from his hectic schedule, I sat down with Wenzel in his aptly named “Erik Wenzel Workshop” to hear his thoughts on Art or Idiocy? The grand experiment in art writing is coming up on its first birthday.
Taking a drag from a clove cigarette and sipping a chocolate martini (prepared by studio assistant Woody, one of the cat’s integral tasks) Erik leaned back in his Frank Gehry-designed cardboard box. “I really take this whole thing very seriously. It is a lot of fun, and it is also, at times, a joke. Right now for instance, this, what you are reading is a joke. It is supposed to be funny and fun. But it is also very serious. This blog is indeed one year old, and hopefully will continue on for many more years. And I also have begun writing a column for Fnews magazine that I want to promote.”
"Aren’t you going crazy, though? At least a little bit? Referring to yourself in the third person? Writing about yourself as though you were a character?" I asked.
“Well, yes, and no. I always have a firm grasp on reality, and the reality I want to create. Writing about art, art that can be mainly a facade. You have to appear one way or another to be taken seriously. It is also fun to play games with this notion. It is also sad because it is much more fulfilling to be an audience for the illusion, than to know the inner workings. It is like this with anything. TV, movies, music. Even religion. Science. The world seems so mystical, but once you start learning it’s inner workings it becomes less fantastic. So playing with identity, playing art critic, pretending to be a huge art publication, is a way to be on both sides of the art world illusion.”
“It is also very hard, because I don’t want to be just some one-guy writing about art. I don’t want Art or Idiocy? to just be another blog of one blowhard’s opinions. That is why I do the TOP TEN. I want some fresh perspective. I want more of that. That’s something to work on for the future year. More involvement of others. Blogs are so individualized and websites are so impersonal. I want a middle ground. One person, some guest contributors and maybe an ad for Bruno Bischofberger or Larry Gagosian on the back cover.”
So Art or Idiocy? is a lot of things. It is a blog full of writing on art, reviews, news, essays, discussions and occassional guest contributions. It is an art project. It is a farce, a satire, not a joke, but filled with jokes. And it is a zine, a magazine, and an online publication bent on artworld domination.
Wenzel currently struggles with navigating the divide between making art and writing about art, where to draw the line on referring to oneself in the third person, and who to next invite for the TOP TEN.
-Submitted by staff reporter E. Wenzel