The Arts Writers Grant Program Announces 2016 Grantees

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Photo from “Transplant Exploits: Detroit’s Savior Complex” on ARTS.BLACK by Taylor Aldridge

The Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2016 grants. Designed to support writing about contemporary art, as well as to create a broader audience for arts writing, the program aims to strengthen the field as a whole and to ensure that critical writing remains a valued mode of engaging the visual arts.

In its 2016 cycle, the Arts Writers Grant Program has awarded a total of $695,000 to twenty writers. Ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 in four categories—articles, blogs, books and short-form writing—these grants support projects addressing both general and specialized art audiences, from scholarly studies to self-published blogs.

It’s an exciting bunch of writers and scholars! Check it out below, as well as a closer look at one project from each category.

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The Future of Arts Blogs – Arts Blogging, Part 3

Nik Hanselmann's "Bodyfuck," as written about by Daniel Temkin in "BodyFuck: gestural code"

Nik Hanselmann’s “Bodyfuck,” as written about by Daniel Temkin in “BodyFuck: gestural code”

When blogs first started to become popular, they offered a unique opportunity to share personalized, more inclusive forms of expression. There was a sense of freedom with the platform: you didn’t have to be a known writer to publish, and you didn’t have to conform to editors wishes, or a publication’s standards. In the art world, blogging still maintains this prestige. As artists offer new ways of seeing the world, blogs allow writers to express and describe the different ways this reframing actually manifests itself.

As the open application of the Arts Writers Grant Program, draws to a close on May 18, we asked past awardees in the blog category to offer their perspectives running their own blogs. I have been talking to Daniel TemkinKate AlbersSharon Butler and Gelare Khoshgozaran & Eunsong Kim about what they think of the future of arts blogging.

Daniel Temkin: I think this is a great time to be writing about art online, especially working on a specialized blog like mine. Esoteric.Codes has an esoteric subject—there’s a sense of early-Web-utopianism when those ideas resonate in other parts of the world. At the same time, posts can inspire articles in mainstream press such as Wired (like my post on BodyFuck) as others

Sharon Butler: At first, we were all independent bloggers. Then a couple of structural changes occurred. Some bloggers, like Hrag Vartanian and Paddy Johnson, hired staffs and writers and grew their blogs into online magazines. Furthermore, mainstream media outfits like NY Observer, ArtNews, and NY Magazine, discovered the blog format and began providing online content outside their print editions. Both of these developments have expanded and entrenched art blogging as a media format and made it more sustainable. Of course, many independent bloggers left to pursue other opportunities – for instance, Carolina Miranda is now at the LA Times, and Andrew Russeth is a co-editor at ArtNews – while other bloggers just lost interest when the blogosphere became more corporatized. I’ve kept Two Coats of Paint going because it’s a key element of my art practice, but also because I think there’s a need for more arts writing rather than less. And it goes almost without saying that I enjoy it.

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Getting Your Arts Blog Off the Ground – Arts Blogging Part 2

Daniel Temkin - Glitchometry Triangles #1, on display at NADA Art Fair with Transfer Gallery

Daniel Temkin – Glitchometry Triangles #1, on display at NADA Art Fair with Transfer Gallery

So, let’s say you have established your blog name, and you’ve honed in on what type of art you’re going to write about. What comes next? Maintaining an art blog has its rewards, but if it’s your own blog, it’s easy to feel like you’re on your own. Who is your audience? Is there a community of other arts bloggers that will share their processes and lessons learned? What’s the pay off?

As the Arts Writers application is open through May 18, I decided to focus on the world of arts blogging. As you saw in Part 1 of this series, I spoke to arts bloggers Daniel Temkin, Kate Albers, Sharon Butler and Gelare Khoshgozaran & Eunsong Kim about their individual sites. In Part 2, I asked them what they have learned in their experience of running their own blog, and if they had any valuable insight to writers just starting out.

Sharon Butler: Ten years ago, the art world and mainstream media were dismissive of blogs and bloggers. But I quickly realized that blogging tools could give unrepresented artists and unpublished writers a voice in the critical conversation. I also learned that posting frequently and writing compelling content were the best way to develop an audience.This past year, I decided that in order to keep publishing, I would have to make more focused and forward-looking financial choices. Rather than, say, seeking a Guggenheim, this time around I decided to apply for fiscal sponsorship through Fractured Atlas and start a fundraising campaign.

Once my sponsorship application was approved, I designed some Two Coats of Paint tote bags and launched the campaign. Over 200 readers stepped up, premier contributors got their tote bags, and I met my goal. Now I’m getting some IT professionals to overhaul the code, archive over 1,300 posts, and migrate away from the free Blogger platform that I have used since the beginning.

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Your Blog Won a Grant: Now What? – Arts Blogging, Part 1

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Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman, “Geolocation.” From Kate Albers’ interview with the artists on her blog Circulation/Exchange

Blogs are by no means new, but the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant category for blogging is still a unique award in its field. In some cases, it can be the only way arts writers can earn money for their personal blogs. In addition to issuing awards for articles, books, and short-form writing, the Arts Writers Grant Program supports bloggers writing on a range of art issues.

Since the Arts Writers Grant Program is now accepting applications through May 18, I wanted to get a sense of how bloggers specifically have used their award, so I reached out to a few past awardees. Their answers were so informative and important, that I will divide the interviews into a three part series.

The bloggers who contributed to this series are: Kate Albers who maintains Circulation/Exchange, featuring short critical essays exploring the intersection of social media and photography. Daniel Temkin’s esoteric.codes documents the history of obscure programming language and bridges the hacker and arts community. Founded in 2007, Sharon Butler’s Two Coats of Paint publishes commentary about painting, artist interviews and studio visits. And Gelare Khoshgozaran and Eungsong Kim’s contemptorary—which recently went live—is devoted to alternative and emerging artistic practices by women of color, queer and immigrant artists in the U.S.

Part I: So Your Blog Got a Grant—What Happens Now?

Writers who win grants for their blog don’t always just use the money to pay the rent and keep writing. Sometimes the money also helps them rethink their whole angle or go deeper into their subject.

Kate Albers: The grant allowed me to take two semesters of sabbatical (instead of one) from my faculty position at the University of Arizona. It really went entirely to this, straight income replacement. So while the money was spent on pretty mundane things—like rent, groceries, and child care—what it really funded was those extra months of time without teaching or university service responsibilities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The value of this is incalculable, and goes well beyond the parameters of what appears on Circulation/Exchange.

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Arts Writers Announces 2015 Awardees

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Villa Iolas in Ruin, the subject of a new book by William E. Jones

The work that arts writers do is just as important as the work done by artists themselves. Every year, the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program, gives money to several writers working on visual arts, often focusing on artists and movements outside the mainstream. Today marks the tenth annual round of funding for writers. From a book about an abandoned art villa in Greece to a new blog on alternative women artists, here are some of the new projects Arts Writers will be funding!

William E. JonesThe Ruins of Villa Iolas
Despite having represented artists like Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol, what remains today of the estate of a once active New York art dealer, Alexander Iolas, is a vandalized villa in Athens. William E. Jones had visited villa Iolas in 1982 and he recently came across fifty photographs he took during that visit. Since then, the art at the villa disappeared and the property was ransacked and ravaged. William will use the photographs and oral interviews as the basis of a new book, called The Ruins of Villa Iolas.

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