01 March 2005

Writing on art (or other art historians)

I've been reading a lot of art writing of late, in one form or another. Most of it sort of skirts around the issue of a national identity, offering tenuous links between the past and the present. Some of it succeeds in making this connection, and some really doesn't.

I have noticed a frequent reliance on beginning with a quote - a tendency to kick off with someone else's views, statements, opinion - and then building an argument about that, and linking it back to the work on occasion.

Yes I concede this is the academic way of writing, and yes I concede that there is a market for this, but in an industry where we are constantly striving to increase access, increase participation, and most importantly increase understanding, isn't this lunacy?

In writing press releases we're constantly pushed to include the key information in the first line - to get the salient points in before the attention expiry point. Why the hell would you want to hand this opportunity over to someone else?