Reclaiming the Snob

When I began blogging as the Cincinnati Art Snob in 2008, my motivation was to participate in Cincinnati’s local art conversation. I had taught art history for nearly 10 years, but teaching art’s history can be very different from engaging art today. It probably shouldn’t be. Contemporary art’s relevance to its time, I believe, rests on it’s relevance to history. Similarly, teaching art history works best if you can pull from contemporary cultural trends into which students can tap. Still, I struggled to manage focusing on both simultaneously. This may be more of a testament to my own weakness as an art historian or a teacher and/or proves my belief artists make better teachers.

I’m no artist.

For those who have followed this blog you know, as the Cincinnati Art Snob, I have been a pretty vocal participant in the local arts. I’ve reviewed shows, interviewed a few of my favorite local artists, and gotten into a number of debates about how the local arts is managed and money granted. Once I gained a local audience, my goal has continued to include a more national or even international perspective on the arts. Frustrated, I always felt Cincinnati’s art community was happily insular,playing in a vacuum. Other than a few artists who show outside of the city, much of the community seems content keeping to themselves. But most discouraging, too many arts organization professionals here in Cincinnati are pr professionals interested in the arts, whose tasks is promoting the city. As a result, art is a mere commodity.

Sadly, my writing and thinking about art has been consumed with fighting this local (national?) trend. Consumed by frustration and anger, I’ve found little inspiration in the local galleries and museums. This may not be reflective of the kind of art work happening here. But it does reflect the local art conversation. Nearly everything I see in the galleries is poisoned by the surrounding discourse of marketing and branding. This has effectively kept me from many galleries and from writing about the local arts.

So what does this mean the blog? I am currently working to reclaim it and my writing. Cincinnati Art Snob will still be a place for conversations about art. Though my focus will no longer be Cincinnati. While I maintain my love of the arts and support for local artists, I am no longer interested in advocating for the local arts organizations.

By leading with more interviews and less reviews, my hope is that the blog will continue to be a portal for artists and their conversations.

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2 Responses to “Reclaiming the Snob”

  1. visualingual says:

    Okay. I think I understand your frustrations and empathize with your wish to broaden your focus. However, this statement seems like a sweeping generalization,”Nearly everything I see in the galleries is poisoned by the surrounding discourse of marketing and branding.” Nearly everything? Maybe you haven’t been exploring broadly or deeply enough. There seem to be many area arts venues that lack this sort of discourse; some could maybe even use a dose of it!

  2. kathy says:

    I think “nearly everything” is not so sweeping a generalization. There is space in that statement for local exhibitions, artworks, and venues that do not seem to be kowtowing to the branding elite of the city.

    I do agree I need to explore more broadly and deeply, which is my reason for reclaiming my voice, my love for the arts, and redefine the parameters of this blog.

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