I think it’s safe to say that, over the last few months, Artthrob has taken a distinctive turn toward the critically engaged; and the site is better for it. Between relative newbies Michael Smith and Linda Stupart, their influence and writing, and the influence of the upcoming international plugs for Cape Town on the older staples ("not a Biennale" and the BBC special, for example), The Throb has started to change shape from a mostly Cape Town scene Advertisement, to a mostly Cape Town scene Arts Magazine – certainly a step in the right direction. And it is not without irony that I recognize my own blog is, as Linda puts it, "usually glowing" about Johannesburg artsters. Admittedly, I’m a little jealous of The Throb’s recently energized chutzpah, and may take a leaf.
That being said, Linda’s thinly veiled "art blogs review" in this month’s issue is little more than a defense and appraisal of Art Heat, the most recent addition to online arts engagement in SA, and at the heart of the UCT scene (of which she is a part; she did not mention her own relationship with the site, which seems to be relatively tight….). Her "disproportionate" (see article to know why I use this term), dismissal of other sites as high-brow (Africa South Art Initiative – not sure I agree about this), nepotistic (SAarts – partially true, but this assumes we have power we do not, and ignores our open call policy), or in the case of this site having far too many pictures of my daughter (Linda: 4 out of 1133 posts have pix of Sid – you utterly misrepresent me) culminates in a kind of whiney "just misunderstood" and "please wade through the crap" for the aforementioned. I agree that Art Heat adds value to the SA art scene on several levels (stricken – this not true "
disproportionate" amounts of boring, local gossip and too many posts about Ed Young notwithstanding); but I think most of this comes not from their irreverence, self-promotion, in jokes, or even the occasionally smart arts review that Linda is quick to point out. It’s, rather, from their not taking themselves too seriously. Perhaps we could all (this means you and me, too, Linda) take a leaf from this. (And I may take them up on their offer of guest blogging now and again for practice in the near future….)
Admittedly, some of Linda’s other comments about this site particularly – biting or not – ring too true for me to ignore, as alluded to by my looking for chutzpah, above. Read her words here.