Turning to the Web for Better Arts Coverage

James Kalm, a pseudonym of a fellow Brooklyn Rail arts writer, has created a great new YouTube arts channel that brings the bodacious NY arts world to the World Wide Web.

With a fun renegade style dependent on his small digital camera, Kalm’s segments run the gamut from studio visits (with William Powhida for instance, who reveals he finds naked models via Craigslist) to gallery openings (like this Friday May 25th whirlwind through some Billyburg galleries).

Each video is quirky and he doesn’t shy away from infusing his personality into the shows, including shots of his trusty old bicycle and ending his videos with “Thanks Kate.”

His piece on Francesco Clemente’s “Social Portraits” at Mary Boone is a good example of his style and gifts. It’s great when he whispers dimensions, prices and other incidental commentary during the video tour…an exhibit which, coincidentally, I think only proves that Clemente is a good society painter and not much else at this point….is it just me, or do all the people in the paintings look a lot like manicured poodles and topiaries.

There has long been a problem with the literary genre of art criticism in that there is an inevitable disconnect between the visual and textual worlds. Most reviewers, even the best, can only attempt (and often fail) to recreate the physical world for their readers.

Last century, images (at first black and white and then color) became staples of the genre, complimenting reviews and showing what was hard to recreate in prose. It is natural that the next step would include a more three-dimensional examination of work, giving sculpture and architecture (not to mention video) a better opportunity to flaunt its best attributes.

After watching over an hour of his videos (and there is still tons more to view), I would recommend his:

  • Tuttle segment which has the great line about one work, “If you saw that on the sidewalk, you probably wouldn’t stop and pick it up.” (ouch!)
  • Frank Stella at the Met–which includes some moments with the artist himself who says postmodernism doesn’t exist and modernism, in order to be supplanted, must be replaced by something more useful.
  • Brooklyn Abstract” at Supreme Trading, which gave me the chance to see a friend’s show that I missed (sorry Jesse)–and while it’s not the same as being there, the video gave me a chance to see the interplay between the installed works–I’ve posted it below.

Now with the YouTube/Apple TV partnership set to launch in a few weeks, you can be sure Kalm’s channel will be loaded onto my Apple TV.

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One response to “Turning to the Web for Better Arts Coverage

  1. Hrang,
    Thanks for giving some coverage to the “Kalm Report”. It’s my intention to give the “insiders view” of the New York art scene greater exposure. Though I’ve taken a brief break due to summertime things, I’ll be editing new vids soon, and you may find yourself in some of the crowd scenes, check it out. In the meantime stay tuned for the best in unplanned, unscripted, and the real life takes of the NY art world, thanks James Kalm

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