How can I learn more about contemporary art?
February 11, 2007 10:03 PM   Subscribe

How can I quickly learn a lot about the contemporary art scene?

I'm interviewing a rather well-known gallery owner for a magazine, and my knowledge regarding contemporary art is rather limited. Can anyone suggest any good magazines/blogs/books that I can look through quickly? Also, any suggestions for questions I should ask or topics of interest would be helpful as well.
posted by Cochise to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
How much time do you have? I recommend finding out where your nearest contemporary art exhibition/gallery/museum is and going to it. Then, find a review of the show that you just saw. That way you see some art, get an idea of it for yourself, then you read what a practiced insider sees. You could conceivably do this tomorrow.

Do you live anywhere near an art school? Do you know anyone there?

Hell, what city are you in, anyway?

Good luck!
posted by redteam at 10:30 PM on February 11, 2007

I'm going to piggy back onto this question, as I was waiting 2 days, 14 minutes, and 35 seconds to ask an almost identical question. I was going to ask:

I want to stay up to date in today's art world, especially photography (but by no means exclusively), with RSS feeds. Magazines, newspaper columnists, blogs, particular critics, anything.


I spent a good portion of today trying to find feeds myself, and I came up with the following:

(NYTimes Art section:)


(Culture section of International Herald Tribune:)



(Magnum Blog:)


(Slate's Art Section:)

(The Art Quarterly:)


Anyone have any other syndicated sites worth checking out?
posted by ztdavis at 11:07 PM on February 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well, the first thing you should do is learn which artists this person's gallery represents and do at least a little bit of research into those artists. Who are they? What unites them? What school do they represent?

I dont know that you can learn a lot about the contemporary art scene quickly. I'm an avid follower and even I get lost sometimes. Here's a few quick tips though:

- Be familiar with the major shows going on around the country. Artforum is a good source for this.

- Take some time and flip around the Art Basel site. This will at least give you an idea of what seems to be hot or interesting right now. (That can be very daunting though)

- I could give you more city-specific tips if I knew what city you were talking about. Here in San Francisco for example, Artbusiness is a good way of virtually "visiting" a lot of galleries quickly and getting a sense of the landscape.

If you dont know much about a topic the best way to handle the interview is to let the interviewee talk:

- Tell us a bit about your gallery and the type of work you represent?

Then maybe grab a sentence or idea from what they said and ask them to expand on it. And keep going. Think of it as if you met them at a party and would like to find a bit more about what they do.
posted by vacapinta at 11:10 PM on February 11, 2007

(Oh, and I just downloaded BlogBridge to keep track of all of these feeds).
posted by ztdavis at 11:11 PM on February 11, 2007

Artkrush is a bimonthly email magazine covering the key figures, exhibitions, and trends in international art and design.
posted by lannanh at 11:43 PM on February 11, 2007

Were I running a gallery I'd be far more interested in what really moves you than in your knowledge of a given "scene". Visit a few galleries and local museums and see what strikes you - at the interview, talk about what you found compelling and what came up short.

I suspect that'd go over a lot better than sharing something about Damien Hirst that you read online.
posted by aladfar at 11:51 PM on February 11, 2007

If you're interviewing a rather well-known gallery owner, go to the gallery owner's gallery and learn something about what that person knows and believes about art. And be familiar with the big local openings, whether at that gallery or at others.
posted by pracowity at 4:01 AM on February 12, 2007

posted by cda at 7:20 AM on February 12, 2007

art in america
posted by fair_game at 8:26 AM on February 12, 2007

I'd like to put in a plug for the Smithsonian American Art Museum's blog Eye Level. Our feed is:
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 8:29 AM on February 12, 2007

Reviews in Art Net are good to follow.

For the person above who wants to follow photography, I'd recommend the aforementioned Ed Winkleman, plus Conscientious, Mrs. Deane, Alec Soth, and, if you're interested in digital trends, the Online Photographer.
posted by xo at 9:47 AM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

What everyone else has said, and also, ArtNews.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:59 AM on February 12, 2007

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